Why glamorous motoring journalist, Susan Hayden, would give it all up for the C63.
If you’re one of those people who think a car is a car and don’t get particularly excited about one pair of wheels over another, let me tell you this – you have not parked your bum on the plush leather driver’s seat of the Mercedes C63 and put your foot down flat. Because – for better or for worse – driving this baby will change the way you view cars altogether. Holey guacamole. I’m not a speed freak, by any means. In truth, I’m quite a wuss generally; but one week of driving the C63 and all of that changed. This car purrs and roars and hums all at the same time. She is sleek, stylish and luxurious, and has insane amounts of power under that pretty, unassuming bonnet. Like, blow-your-hair-back stuff. You’d have to be pretty hardcore not to fall in love.
As I am not a real motoring journalist I’m always a little sheepish about presenting my blonde, Cosmo-girl-y self to car dealerships who, despite being invariably professional and polite, must be thinking, ‘Really? We’re handing the keys of this gazillion-rand work of art to her?’ So, imagine my horror when I sit down in the sexiest, fastest and most expensive Merc in the universe (more or less) and can’t, for the life of me, figure out how to adjust the seat so that my (not very long, obviously) legs can reach the pedals. Cringe. I have no choice but to go back inside and sheepishly ask one of the sales assistants how this car works.
Which actually turned out to be rather a good thing because it gave Dean Keyser, Sales Exec at Mercedes Benz in Century City the opportunity to show me some of the incredible things this vehicle is capable of. Like (not in order of incredible-ness), when you put the indicator on and somebody is in your blind spot, a red light embedded in the side mirror comes on and the car beeps you a warning that it’s not safe to change lanes. Which is a very handy little safety feature, and something I grew rather dependent on. Another feature I loved is when you beep the key pad to lock it, the rear-view mirrors fold in so that any buffoon passing too close to you won’t knock them off. Such a small detail, yet so immensely pleasing.
Then, there’s this little coffee cup icon on the dashboard. ‘Can this car make you a cappuccino?’ I enquired of Dean, fully expecting his answer to be yes. In fact, no – but what it does do (which is even better) is acquaint itself with your driving style so that, when you’re pushing to make it to Joburg in one stretch and neglect to make that obligatory Wimpy stop, the car registers that you’re tired through the change in the way you’re driving, and flashes you a warning that you need to take a rest. Just like your mom would do. Or a devoted, attentive lover. How can you not adore this baby?
Oh, did I mention that the C63 flies? It has a mother of an engine squeezed into the engine bay of a C-class car – 6208cc of V8 with 457bhp and so much torque you don’t know what to do with it. If you don’t know what any of this means, suffice to say it goes very, very fast in a very, very short amount of time. As in, 0 – 120kms per hour takes 5.2 seconds, and it hits its maximum speed shortly after. You could safely say that nobody on the road (except the geriatric show-off in the Maserati) has a hope in hell of passing you if you don’t want them to. The seats are big and racy, and might be difficult to get into if you’re exceptionally tall or have a gammy hip. But once you’re in, they’re snug and comfy and anyway, why would you want to get out?
The engine is a little loud, admittedly, but it’s big fun that everyone stares at you when you drive past, and it’s pretty cool, too, having sexy boys approach you in parking lots to tell you what a nice car you have – all the while wondering how the devil you managed to afford it. If only… This car is solidly built using only the best quality materials, and feels like it will outlive you and your children. It has millimetric (tight) steering, and handles beautifully on a smooth road, but given a bumpier surface one is jostled around somewhat. Who cares? She’s too classy to go on dirt roads, anyway.
Being a C-class motor vehicle, you get a spacious 475-litre boot and the associated C-class practicality, so it’s perfect for family holidays and the kind of day-to-day stuff that requires space for things like boogie boards, golf clubs, shopping bags and prams. Though, while it’s wonderfully safe for children, I’m not sure you want to fit a baby-seat in the back. It would just be wrong. The C63 is a fishnet stockings kind of car. It needs a hot man and you, in an LBD, at the wheel. Throw in a stretch of open road, some Barry White and you’re styling. This car is just too sexy for anything less.