Even as Automotive News tells us that 4-cylinder engines have now become more popular than V6s in the U.S.—and the V8 “has lost favor even faster”—super-powered road cars continue to be built and sold at outlandish prices.
Even as the U.S. edges toward default and cannot agree on how (or whether) to pay its bills, the country is awash in money, at least in certain quarters, and can be counted on to buy all the M5s and AMG Blacks the Germans can produce.
A front-page piece in today’s New York Times tells how private jets are jamming up the airports in Maine delivering rich kids to summer camps. Kind of weird, isn’t it, that the whole idea of camp—getting kids back to nature and the basics—is totally undercut by parental excess?
Enter the Benz C63 AMG Black Coupe: technically and performance-wise as good as anything the company has produced. M-B’s press site says it has driving performance “like no other AMG model,” with 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds (probably less) and every kind of techie whiz-bang development you never heard of.
Certainly this promises to be a very hot car that will make most enthusiasts drool even though they will never get close to buying one. Road & Track estimates the U.S. price will be around $70K (clearly a lowball); Car and Driver thinks it will be close to $100K; emercedesbenz.com says the “market launch will follow in January 2012, and its sales price is 115,430 euros (incl. 19% VAT)”. If that’s right the European car will cost about $133,650 U.S., not including the VAT.
Now, we also know that Daimler AG’s management is going to pump more than $2 billion in expansion funds into its U.S. factory in Vance, Ala., where it will produce a new M-Class coupe, plus more C-Class cars in its battle with BMW for luxury/performance dominance.
The new C63 AMG Black Coupe will likely sell out in the U.S., whatever its price, and few will be driven on the track, where they belong. Most owners will take them out for an occasional scoot on a back road, then park them in front of posh restaurants where they will be dutifully admired by parking-lot attendants. Otherwise, they will end up in traffic jams on the freeway with all their 4-cylinder brethren.
Despite their technical prowess, these cars will be mostly for show, not go, and that’s just another symptom of our cultural excess. They’re not even suitable for driving the kids to camp.
Are there already too many of these hyper-powered, overpriced beasts out there? What are they good for?