The Truth About Cars » C63 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 05 Dec 2014 17:06:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » C63 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Capsule Review: 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/capsule-review-2012-cadillac-cts-v-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/capsule-review-2012-cadillac-cts-v-coupe/#comments Thu, 25 Oct 2012 10:01:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=464860 Upon graduation from Belfast Teacher’s Training College in the late ’60s, my father found himself summoned into the headmaster’s office. A heavy oaken drawer was opened and an object placed upon the green baize of the blotting pad: “Ye’ll be needin’ this.” “This” was the strap, thick leather symbol of martial law in the classroom. […]

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Upon graduation from Belfast Teacher’s Training College in the late ’60s, my father found himself summoned into the headmaster’s office. A heavy oaken drawer was opened and an object placed upon the green baize of the blotting pad: “Ye’ll be needin’ this.”

“This” was the strap, thick leather symbol of martial law in the classroom. Dad left it lying where it was, left behind the tobacco-scented claustrophobia of that small office, left behind the small-minded bigotry of that blood-soaked island, and built himself a new home in the wilds of British Columbia.

From my birth, this has been my template for the masculine ideal: resolve, courage, intelligence, compassion. In the latter stages of his career, my father – long an administrator – could walk in and quell any classroom by his mere physical presence. And so, I’ve endeavoured to emulate him. To refrain from roarin’ an’ shoutin’. To be calm, yet firm of purpose. To be a man.

Of course, five minutes behind the wheel of this thing and it’s, COME AT ME BRO!


Don’t get me wrong, I’m awfully fond of the CTS-V, particularly in wagon form. It’s just not particularly subtle.

While I won’t go into an involved discussion of the design (read Sajeev Mehta’s thorough critique here instead), it’s sort of a visual caps-lock. You get the sense that they’d have built the entire thing out of grille if they’d have been able to get away with it.

When I remarked that going from a black/black FR-S to the ‘V felt like Robin-to-Batman, Jack B dubbed it the “Batbro,” and I can’t do better than that. If your utility belt is filled with hair-gel capsules and cocaine, then this is the sled for you.

Moving into the interior with some difficulty, due to the fiddly ‘Vette-style door latches, one finds a surprisingly high seating arrangement and a colour-combination clearly put together by a Boston Bruins fan. The details are fairly nice though.

Not as nice as the interior of a high-trim ATS however – the upcoming CTS update should fix things up a little, but this design has been around a while. Also, and I’m kicking myself for not snapping a quick shot of it, there’s a three-inch piece of fake carbon-fibre trim to the right of the steering wheel, and it’s stuck on at about fifteen degrees off the correct angle. Shoddy.


This centre-stack will doubtless soon be supplanted by the CUE system and all its haptic-touch trickery. I sort of prefer the buttons, myself, but the retractable navigation screen wobbles quite a bit when you go over bumps.

Two really great things to note: first, the Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel is excellent, and great at wicking away moisture from sweaty palms. Second, they’ve put the traction-control toggle right on the steering wheel.

Which brings us around to the question of performance.


Yes, the CTS-V is a bit of an automotive tribal tattoo – Conan the Vulgarian. On the other hand, great googly-moogly does it back up those looks with volcanic power levels.


The supercharged 6.2L LSA is nearly imbecilic in its ferocity, howling and bellowing out those twin centre-mounted exhausts. Flick off the overworked traction control so that it can go off and have a therapy session, and the blown V8 scorches the tires and rams repeatedly into the rev-limiter with a noise like a T-Rex choking on Jeff Goldblum.

I know, I know. Mr. Hyperbole’s come to tea again.

I assure you, this car both looks like Brock Lesnar and punches things in the face like Brock Lesnar. It’s not an alternative to an M3, it’s an alternative to PCP.

While a six-speed manual is also on offer, the higher take rate will surely be this, the paddle-shifted six-speed automatic. It works quite well, although there’s so much power, you could probably hook the LSA up to a two-speed Powerglide and it’d still be fine.

Cadillac/GM’s magnetic-ride suspension is here too, and the widened track and lowered height of the coupe certainly makes this ‘V much nimbler than the last one I drove (a wagon). I don’t think you’d call it a sportscar though.

Leave the traction-control sensibly on, and the CTS-V is quite a nice street car, apart from the mail-slot visibility. The Brembos scrub speed just fine for street-applications, and the zero-delay power-delivery is endlessly entertaining. And expensive.

Here’s the thing though. This car might be perfectly capable of smacking around some of the normally-aspirated German stuff, but like Mr. Lesnar, it’s gotten a bit old for the ring. It’s not in MMA competitions any more, it’s more like a member of the WWE.

Herein lieth some redemption: even with the clock-cleaning Shelby out there and ridiculous twin-turbo Teutons on the rise, the ‘V is still a character-filled car. It’s entertaining and burly and something of a self-parody.

But look out – that guy’s got a folding metal chair!

Cadillac supplied the car and insurance. I supplied the fuel, more fool me.

Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer Picture Courtesy Brendan McAleer Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Review: 2010 Mercedes C63 AMG http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/review-2010-mercedes-c633-amg/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/review-2010-mercedes-c633-amg/#comments Wed, 21 Jul 2010 17:41:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=361276 From the surface, the C63 looks like it has the goods to compete with the big boys in the Euro performance club. Boy racer styling? Check. Monstrous V8? Check. Ginormous tyres? Check. Manual transmission? Not so much. Also not along for the party is a coupe or convertible version of the C63. Mercedes’ decision to […]

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From the surface, the C63 looks like it has the goods to compete with the big boys in the Euro performance club. Boy racer styling? Check. Monstrous V8? Check. Ginormous tyres? Check. Manual transmission? Not so much. Also not along for the party is a coupe or convertible version of the C63. Mercedes’ decision to make the C63 auto-only is perplexing enough, but the fact that they also decided to ignore the rest of the M3 portfolio is truly baffling. Consider the competition: the M3 coupe and convertible [combined] outsell the M3 sedan almost five to one. This halfhearted approach to a hotly contested and prestige-generating segment truly defines the experience with the C63: you constantly feel like this could have been a great car.

When reviewing a car I often find it useful to read other reviews on the same car, usually to see what likes and dislikes other reviewers had, and then see if those same issues bother me at all. When the C63 AMG was dropped off on my doorstep, I have to admit I was giddy, not just because it looks like a mini-me version of the E63 that I routinely park next to, but because every review I have read waxes poetic about it being the answer to the M3.

Starting off inside, for a $66,500 (as equipped) car, the cheap plastics and lack of features are startling. The same options – or lack thereof – that greet you in a base C300 rear their heads in the C63. If you don’t opt for the $3,300 multimedia package, then you are stuck with a pointless microscopic screen tucked under a manually opening storage cubby. The screen shows a digital tuning dial for the radio and provides a display for the built-in Bluetooth, but it’s so small that you might as well dial on your phone. When you opt for the $375 iPod integration kit, the screen becomes an oddly placed paperweight since the iPod can only be controlled via the steering wheel.

This is good if you don’t like your passenger’s to decide what tunes to listen to, but bad if you would like to use the screen in the center of the speedo for something else like the AMG mode where you see oil and coolant temps and an alternate gear indicator. This feature is so counterintuitive that when reading reviews like Autoblog’s review of the C63, they never even worked out how to use the iPod interface and instead disconnected the iPod and manually changed songs and playlists! Our press car didn’t come with the uplevel sound system or keyless drive, a feature found on Kias these days. Electronic shocks aren’t even an option.

I drove the C63 for two days, then re-read a number of reviews on the car. I figured there must be something wrong: they must have been driving a different car. The front seats in the C63 are epically uncomfortable yet no other review mentions this; they were apparently designed for someone less than 5’10” tall and less than 8” from shoulder to shoulder. I had no less than 15 random people try the seats, nobody found them pleasant to sit in. Six feet tall and with an average build, I was incapable of finding a comfortable seating position because the upper portion of the seat is so severely bolstered that the only way my upper back could touch the seat is if I hunched forward and curled my shoulders. Otherwise it felt like I was being groped by the side bolsters, and not in a good way. Sadly Mercedes offers no alternative seats. The front seats alone are reason to avoid the C63. Don’t get me wrong, I love side bolsters, but they need to be adjustable or sized for 85% of the populace.

The C63 is a deeply conflicted car; it has the engine of a world-class sports car and an exhaust note that makes teenagers cream their shorts, yet it possesses the most dimwitted automatic I have ever experienced in a sports sedan. The C63 doesn’t get the E63’s new automatic-with-a-clutch. Instead it gets Mercedes’ “Speedshift Plus” 7-speed automatic. The name suggests that this transmission shifts quickly. It doesn’t.

The C63 may very well be faster than the M3 in a straight line at a drag strip from a stop, but in reality when you are on the freeway next to one and compete for a freeway exit, the M3 is off the freeway and on the ramp before the C63 has even shifted. Speaking of those shifts, cars like the M3 or even the portly (in comparison) XFR will queue shifts: i.e. if you are in 6th and want 2nd hear, just flip the paddle four times and most performance cars will shift directly from 6th to 2nd blipping the throttle only once in the process. The AMG will not. You have to flip the paddle once, it blips, the transmission engages 5th, once in 5th you flip the paddle again, it blips again and engages 4th rinse and repeat for gears 3 and 2.

By the time you get to 2nd gear, you have run over the bicyclist in front of you, careened over the cliff or forgotten why you wanted 2nd gear in the first place. When I asked about this annoyance, I was told that all you have to do is hold down the down paddle and “the transmission will shift to the lowest gear available.” Sounds good, right? Wrong. The transmission still blips and shifts sequentially all the way down from 7th to 2nd (that’s five blips, five gear changes) making you sound like some knob that can’t drive a stick, plus you can never summon 1st gear in that fashion, that is always one more paddle pull away.

What makes the transmission all the more infuriating is how the car handles. There is zero drama at speed. The electronic nanny reels in the fun at all the right moments and, should you tell the nanny to pack it in for the day, you can burn out and do doughnuts to your heart’s content. This car is fast, seriously fast. The forums are alight with complaints that Merc didn’t keep the 518HP tune from the E63 in the C63, but it doesn’t really matter because there isn’t enough grip to use all that power from a stop anyway. My best accelerometer tested 0-60 time was 4.8 seconds, and that was (by necessity) easing up on the throttle around 3500-4500RPM to keep from burning out in first gear.

At the end of the day, the M3 remains the better car. The BMW’s ride is more compliant, thanks to electronic shocks. Its dual clutch transmission is neck-breakingly fast. And, perhaps most significantly, its interior parts quality is light-years ahead.Every person who got into the C63 was surprised that they were not surrounded by luxury. If Mercedes ditched the M3 wannabe seats, spent some cash making the interior a better place, and softened the suspension a hair, it might just be the perfect compact Euro sports sedan. Until then it’s playing third fiddle to the RS4 [a car that is no longer even sold new] and M3.

Mercedes-Benz provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

IMG_0049 IMG_0052 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail IMG_0048 Picture 276 IMG_0043 IMG_0054 IMG_0051 IMG_0044 IMG_0040 All photos courtesy: Alex Dykes IMG_0039 IMG_0046

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