The C63’s key advantage is that it’s a C-Class, so it brings innovations filtered down from bigger Mercedes-Benz models along with a material lavishness that you simply won’t find in any of its rivals. Cabin space is good in both rows, and although the boot is quite shallow, it’s big enough to swallow all but the very bulkiest items. The instruments are conventional analogue dials and fairly plain, but with its lap timer, boost gauge and engine and transmission oil temperature readouts, the AMG mode of the central trip computer screen adds the performance drama.
Mercedes-AMG’s new M177 4.0-litre V8 seems little short of stellar here. Suitably dramatic sounding, it’s also crisp under your right foot and so muscular through the lower revs that you can’t believe it’ll spin so keenly to the 7000pm cut-out. But of equal significance, believe it or not, is the gearbox. The multi-clutch Speedshift unit has been totally reworked and now shifts almost exactly as you want it to. Select Sport+ mode and the paddle-shift changes come through almost as fast and hard as a BMW M4 can deliver them. Hold the left-hand paddle down and it’ll block-shift down to the lowest available ratio, even to within a few hundred revs of the redline; leave it in Comfort and it’s the heart and soul