Girl power makes

Mercedes sing

Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe, front, track action
Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe, rear, track action
Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe, track, action
Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe, dashboard
Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe, interior
Susie Stoddart driving Mercedes C-Class DTM racing car
Susie Stoddart, upright
Susie Stoddart
Susie Stoddart with Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe at Monteblanco racing circuit, Seville
Susie Stoddart, DTM racing driver

TAKING a drive with Scottish speed sensation Susie Stoddart around a Formula One test track is a sure fire way to discover how a car performs at its limits.

The 28-year-old from Oban took time out from her hectic schedule with the Mercedes DTM racing team to try the latest 6.3-litre V8 coupe from AMG.

On the track at Monteblanco in southern Spain, Susie put the new C63 AMG Coupe through its paces showing the skills she has honed on the racing circuits of Europe.

We joined her for some hot laps as she blasted all 487bhp of the latest AMG muscle machine around the 2.5 mile sinewy circuit hitting speeds in excess of 150mph, sliding through corners at unimaginable pace.

Her verdict: "Fantastic."

And the race ace should know. Now acknowledged as one of the most talented woman drivers in the world, she drives the saloon version of the mighty AMG as her everyday car.

"I'm a big fan of the C63," she said. "In terms of performance and dynamics the coupe is a new benchmark.

 "At the end of the year I'll be changing cars and I'd really like to go into the coupe."

Susie is in her sixth year as a Mercedes driver in the German touring car championship and last year finished 13 overall, pipping Grand Prix stars David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher.

The former Oban High School pupil who now lives in Switzerland began her racing career as an eight year old driving karts at the Knockhill circuit in Fife under the watchful eye of her dad, John who runs a motorcycle business in Oban.

She graduated into single seaters before becoming one of only a handful of woman ever to race for Mercedes where she now drives a distinctive bright pink C-Class specially converted for the DTM championship.

The brand new C63 AMG Coupe we used at Monteblanco near Seville sported a more conservative white paint job but was a ‘standard' road going model.

It's due on sale later in the year and will become the flagship of Mercedes' new C-Class Coupe range which is being launched in the next few weeks.

While the regular coupe will cost from just over £30,000, the AMG version is priced at £56,665 and is crammed with specialist components.

Dressed to thrill it looks every bit a high performance machine with front air dam, side skirts and rear diffuser.

Under a subtle power bulge in the bonnet is a mighty V8 engine tuned by the AMG engineers to pump out 457bhp giving the car a blistering 0 to 60 time of 4.4 seconds with its top speed limited to 156mph.

A performance pack, which adds an extra 30bhp and shaves a tenth of a second off the acceleration, is an extra costing around £6,000.

Away from the race track and on the road C63 is a gem to drive, hugging the tarmac while unleashing a mighty roar from is quad exhaust arrangement the moment the throttle is pushed hard.

With reworked suspension, a multi-mode drive system mated to seven speed auto box and the ability to vary the traction and stability control, it is a driver's delight and the feedback from the steering just conveys precision.

Despite its awesome power the advances made by the AMG team over the past few years mean for such a mighty beast it is relatively economical.

We actually managed to match the official average fuel consumption of 23.5mpg - and that was driving on open roads where the car could be enjoyed at its best.

For the record the CO2 emissions are a hefty 280g/km but even that is impressive taking the amount of power into account.

Joining the current C63 saloon and estate, the coupe's sharply raked lines make it a stand out car in anyone's book.

And as Susie's spot of girl power proved, in the hands of an expert it is a remarkable vehicle.




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