• a 2008 mercedes-benz c63 amg, powered by the wondrous m156 6.2-liter v-8, is our bring a trailer pick of the day with an online auction that ends on saturday, march 26.
• this was the first amg engine designed from the ground up by the automaker's go-fast division, and this era of amg also represented a renewed focus on handling.
• with v-8s on the continual decline among new cars, now's the time to hang on to one of the greats.
seeing this third-generation w204 c63 amg on bat instantly transported me back to the fall of 2007 where i was terrorizing the roads of southern germany in one of these as part of a very fast comparison test against the bmw m3 and audi rs4. there was one out-of-the-way spot on an unlimited section of autobahn where the photographer wanted to do high-speed panning shots (or maybe just wanted to give us lifelong memories, because as i'm flipping back through the story now, i see none of those were used). we indulged with pass after pass, accelerating up to 150-plus mph then going down to the next exit, looping around, and repeating at least a half-dozen times. even when not driving the mercedes, i clearly remember how the sound of the amg's wailing v-8 could still hijack the cabin of the audi or bmw.
the m156 engine is a monster of a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter v-8, the first engine developed from the ground up by the amg division and not adapted from a lesser mercedes powerplant; it appeared throughout the amg lineup of the 2000s. at 3.9 seconds to 60 mph and 12.3 seconds in the quarter-mile, that 451-hp c63 was the quickest of the group by a significant margin. even more than a decade later, it's only a couple tenths off the pace of the most recent twin-turbo-v-8 c63, and it beats it in the rolling-start, 5-to-60-mph metric. although it finished second to the monumental e90 m3, i've wanted to own an amg with the 6.2-liter v-8 ever since.
the m156-powered amgs have been quite affordable, too, with this particular car a low-mile example that appears to have been extremely well cared for. bidding is currently at $34,000 with two days to go and, based on past results, might not get to $40k. try to find an e90 m3 in equivalent condition for that price.
but as overwhelmingly awesome as the 6.2-liter is, one of the best things about this era of amg was a return to handling prowess in addition to straight-line speed. the c63 had a reworked front suspension with a 1.4-inch-wider track that helped it handle almost as well as it accelerated, although the downside was the worst ride quality of the group. it also could be had only with a seven-speed automatic, although it was so responsive to paddle inputs and shifted so quickly we called it "the world's best automatic" in that comparison test.
the fact that naturally aspirated v-8s, and v-8s in general, are headed for extinction make hanging on to one that much more desirable. this is a lot of car—and a lot of engine—for the money.