Friends, automotive enthusiasts, mechanics, Germanophiles, and Benz fans, we're gathered here today to mourn the passing, and celebrate the life, of one of our good friends; the Mercedes M156 AMG V8. All AMG engines are hand-built by one man or woman, and they're all very special, but there's one that that holds a special place in our hearts.
This 6.2L naturally aspirated V8 first came to us in 2006 in the E 63 AMG, ML 63 AMG, R 63 AMG, S 63 AMG, and CL 63 AMG, and it immediately wowed critics. People fell in love with these cars because the engine gave them such an amazing soul. It revved freely, produced tons of power, had a great torque curve, and sounded like Thor's stones in a blender.
It revved freely, produced tons of power, had a great torque curve, and sounded like Thor's stones in a blender.
Having won the love of everybody who likes cool things, it then found its way into the CLK 63 AMG and the CLS 63 AMG in 2007, but the best was yet to come. In 2008, AMG dropped the C 63 AMG, complete with an M156.
Where the M156 had been great in other cars, it somehow went berzerk in the C-Class. I absolutely instantly fell in love with this car when I test drove it. I wasn't prepared for how engaging and crazy the ride was going to be and I damn well nearly crashed the thing in the first five minutes. It reminded me of a night with my good friend Cole during college in which we risked death a number of times and walked five miles for some wings. It might be rather stupid, but it's also way much fun to miss out on. The C 63 was a fast car on track, but that's really not the point. The M3 was no doubt faster, but the C 63 was definitely more fun.
By the time the public got its hands behind this sedan, the world felt the same infatuation that I did, and it quickly became AMG's best selling car ever. Good times were had by all.
M156 wasn't done yet, though; it went to college, got a 1%-er's job, put on a Tom Ford suit, and became the M159. The M159 is the brutal heart of the beautiful SLS AMG. My first experience with an SLS was in Stuttgart, Germany on an autocross course. The speed of this beast was far greater than the tight, twisting course I was on, but the charisma of the engine has only increased. No, it wasn't as crazy as the C 63, but it was brilliant. The power was always there when I wanted it, and that sound was better than absolutely anything else.
Earlier this year I got to go play with both the SLS AMG Black Series and the C63 AMG Edition 507. I've already written about the SLS Black, so right here I'll just sum up. The SLS AMG Black Series is the best car I've ever driven, and I'd trade any and all body parts for one. I've never driven anything that even came close, and I've driven some seriously cool cars in the line of work.
My impressions of the Edition 507, on the other hand, have not yet made it to the page. It's quite similar to the "regular" C 63, but it's even sharper, even more powerful, even more happy to burn tires, even more prone to oversteer, and even sexier. On the road it's composed, but still fun, and on the track it's damn fast in good hands. It does indeed need a good driver, as poor inputs will result in nothing but oversteer and smoke. Bad inputs will result in a massive spin out.
It's the kind of car that simultaneously encourages you to do stupid things for the fun of it and to refine your technique so that you can drive the 507 as fast as it's capable of going. This dichotomy means that it's the car you should buy if you have the money. It's brilliant at whatever you want it to do. It's damn near perfect as a sport sedan, which is a shame since it's only going to be sold for one year.
Yes, emissions regulations and the turbocharging epidemic are choking the life out of our beloved M156. The C 63 is the last AMG with the M156, and it, along with the SLS and the M159, is being discontinued after this year. The Edition 507 is this engine's swan song, according to AMG, and anyone sitting on $70,000 should run to the nearest Benz dealer right now.
We've had great times with the M156 and M159, and we hope you have too. This engine has prompted more growth in AMG than anything else. It gave us thrills, gave AMG more life, and gave some of our favorite cars their souls.
We'll miss you, M156.