2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe First Drive Page 3

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On the street, the AMG-treated interior comes to the forefront, ably limiting road and powertrain noise to comfortable levels, though the big V-8 makes itself known when the throttle is opened up. Ride quality is good, particularly in the "C" mode, which softens up the dampers and relaxes the transmission's automatic shifts. Here, the C63 AMG Coupe even has an edge on the M3, which can ride a bit stiffly even when tuned down, and tends to bang its shifts home in a more abrupt manner.

Materials, fit, and finish are all good, but not necessarily great--certainly not the best of the AMG world, but its pricing reflects that. It's certainly on par with the M3, and shares most of its minor foibles with that car as well: a dash made of material, and in a shape, that could bear some more attention, but does its job well enough; a few minor trim pieces in the doors and console that aren't as high-quality as we'd ideally like, and, of course, not a whole lot of space in the rear seats, though they're certainly usable for short trips.

At the end of the day, the C63 AMG Coupe is every bit a capable competitor to the M3, but at the same time, it's very different. While the M3 appeals more the racer in us, the C63 awakens many of the same feelings, if not as keenly, while providing a more relaxed and comfortable environment where it'll see the vast majority of its use: on the street.

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