Where do you go next when you’re already in the realm of saloons with the thick end of 500bhp?
Exclusivity. That’s precisely the tactic being employed by Mercedes, whose DR520 – an uprated version of the C63 AMG – is being offered in a run of just 20 cars. And if you want one you’ll have to go to Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands, because its Specialist Vehicles division came up with the idea and it’s the only dealer that will sell you one.
You’ll need deep pockets, because at £62,430 the DR520 costs a full £995 more than a regular C63 AMG. For that you get an uprated enginewith forged pistons, new connecting rods and a revised crankshaft, producing 513bhp and 479lb ft – an increase of 59bhp and 37lb ft.
Mercedes also throws in a matt paint finish (black or white), a carbonfibre boot spoiler, matt-finish front grille, bespoke alloy wheels, Alcantara sports seats and dash, and AMG’s Performance steering wheel – clad, naturally, in Nappa leather and yet more Alcantara
On the road the DR520 feels as rapid as you might expect – but not day-and-night quicker than a regular C63. The 6.2-litre V8 remains a peach, despite the mods, and its soundtrack is considerably more appealing than a BMW M3’s. Merc’s seven-speed automatic transmission just about avoids getting in the way of fun, too.
The DR520 has improved body control and a little more crispness on turn-in than the regular car. It’s a modest gain, but one that appears to have been achieved without too many sacrifices in ride quality.
The DR520 is stiff, but not unacceptably so for something with this car’s high-performance credentials. The fabulously supportive seats play their part, too, holding you firmly in place on B-roads but keeping you comfortable enough on motorways.
This is a compelling, rapid saloon, then, with an astonishing engine and a capable chassis. But the trouble is, so is the regular C63 AMG. All of the DR520s will find customers, I’ve no doubt of that. But the smart money will be divvied up thus: £53k on a regular C63 AMG and £10k on fuel.