ONE mentor had some sage career advice. "Always follow an idiot".
Talking about undertaking new jobs, that was his sure-fire way to quickly earn respect by displaying proficiency and competency.
But what happens when you follow a legend? That was the task ahead of the new Mercedes-AMG C63 S.
The previous iteration became an icon for its hairy-chested V8 with a phallic sound and a hard-edged driving experience.
Topping that sounds like a fair mountain to climb. So the three-pointed star found the nation's most highly regarded automotive highland to prove this is indeed a worthy successor.
Still powered by a bent eight but now with two turbochargers, the fine folk at Mercedes proved their point on the hallowed ground of Bathurst racetrack.
Brilliant in so many ways, this performance sedan will take little more than the four-second 0-100kmh sprint time to leverage the dedicated out of their prized old C63s and in to the newcomer.
Our first introduction to the C-Class was love at first sight. It's a wonderfully opulent cabin, from the base derivative right through to this top-shelf AMG.
Of course, this performance-focussed model gets the sporting niceties standard whereas other models have to pay extra.
One of the key differences is the black ash wood and aluminium trim through the centre stack.
Perhaps not as flashy as the piano black used on run-of-the mill offerings, the flat-bottom sports steering wheel and Recaro seats add some athletic acumen.
The mid-size sedan remains a useful transporter with four adults finding capacity generous.
Using the central dial to flick through the various stereo, sat nav and other functions takes some initial education, but all premium offerings have similar systems nowadays and the Mercedes is one of the easiest to get your head around.
On the road
Mean and green. This new 4.0-litre V8 may be down in capacity from the old 6.2-litre unit, although it actually performers better, sucks less petrol in the process and could even sound meaner - depending on how you like your bent-eight served aurally.
And praise the AMG lords, this thing is a weapon. With 50 more Newton metres of torque than its new GT S coupe sibling (that is double the price) for a grand total of 700, there is hefty doses of twist always on tap to deliver a wild ride.
Yet it's not an unbridled beast. The old C63 could be a handful, whereas this new derivative feels more composed and agile under power.
Ripping across the mountain, it sliced and diced the likes of Skyline, the Esses, Forest Elbow and then round the day's electronic speed limit of 240kmh within a blink of an eye down Conrod Straight.
Equipped with the usual "agility" toggle where you can select between the likes of comfort, sport and sport+, the C63 S also has a special exhaust button for some extra noise.
The latter and sport+ would be our default position simply for the growl…in comfort it's just too well behaved.
What do you get?
The givens list include five-spoke 19-inch alloys, Nappa leather trim, panoramic sunroof, performance seats, sports steering wheel, black ash wood and aluminium trim, 21.3cm colour display with high definition sat nav, 590-watt Burmester sound system with 13 speakers, digital TV tuner, panoramic sunroof and metallic paint.
All the Benz safety gizmos are also thrown in, that incorporates a 360 degree camera, high performance brakes, nine airbags, radar cruise control, blind spot assist and acceleration skid control.
With three child seat anchorage points along with abundant leg and knee room, the back seat is apt for young and old.
In fact, the exhaust soundtrack is possibly better from the rear pew.. What better education for the kids than to turn off the radio and iPods, then listen to the delights of eight force-fed cylinders?
With 480 litres of boot space the performance doesn't come with any functional compromise, and the rear seats have a 40/20/40 split-fold function at the pull of a lever.
elting around Mount Panorama we hardly had fuel conservation at top of mind, but those who drove the C63 S on the highway achieved about nine litres for every 100km.
That's close to the official figure of 8.6, and light-years ahead of what the previous V8 could muster.
Parts and servicing are at the higher end of the scale, although servicing intervals are long and the cost often depends on how hard you are on the car.
Depending on your design eye, this could be the only shortfall of the C63 S.
While athletic, its appearance doesn't scream performance.The back end is particularly petite and while it works in the base C-Classes we'd like to see it beefed up more in these performance AMG weapons.
Mercedes-Benz is being challenged as the premium leader in Australia. BMW and moreover Audi keep asking questions, and the three-pointed star keeps coming up with the answers.
The C63 S is a benchmark setter in this genre. Breathtakingly fast and an ability to corner with confidence, wrapped in a luxurious package, it can still manage the mundane and the insane.
What matters most
What we liked: Supremely quick, composed and confident in the corners, performance with four-adult accommodation.
What we'd like to see: Groovier dash material, more edge to the styling - particularly at the back.
Warranty and servicing: Three-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is at 25,000km or annually.
Driving experience 19/20
Features and equipment 18/20
Functionality and comfort 18/20
Value for money18/20
Style and design 18/20
Model: Mercedes-AMG C63 S.
Details: Four-door rear-wheel drive luxury performance sedan or wagon.
Engine: 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 generating maximum power of 375kW and peak torque of 700Nm.
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic.
Consumption: 8.6-litres/100km (combined average), wagon 8.7-litres/100km.
CO2: 200g/km, wagon 202g/km.
Performance: 0-100kmh in 4.0-seconds.
Bottom line plus on-roads: $154,510, wagon $157,010.
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