The Mercedes-Benz C63 is more than just another alternative to the ubiquitous BMW M3.

In many ways it’s the most serious attempt yet by Mercedes’ performance arm, AMG, to put one over its nemesis from Munich, and when you look at what the car has in its armoury, you can’t help but feel for its opponents.

Road tester
The C63 is a few tanks of fuel dearer than an M3

The engine is a whopping great 6.2-litre V8 that develops 457bhp and 442lb ft in standard form or 507bhp and 450lb ft with the optional Performance Package, while the corresponding level of performance is big enough – in theory – to blitz anything the new M3 can offer. 

But the key difference between this car and those previously served up by AMG is that, according to its creators, it is a genuine driver’s car, rather than merely a very powerful, faster version of an ordinary Mercedes.

This time AMG has focused as hard on getting the dynamics right as it has on delivering huge power, hence the steering, brakes, suspension and even the ESP have all been completely redesigned to deliver a sharper driving experience.

As well as having a choice of power and torque outputs, the C63 comes in three different body styles. As well as a four-door saloon, there's a two-door coupe and an estate, making its spectacular performance available to a relatively wide range of buyers, even if you need the practicality of a load-lugger.