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.

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.

Top 5 Super saloons

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    27 February 2015
    The second pure Mercedes-AMG model is a triumph of engineering and design, and should have rivals from Porsche and Audi worried
  • First Drive
    27 February 2015
    Dual motors and a power hike give Tesla's electric family car supercar acceleration - and the rest of the package is as strong as ever
  • Car review
    26 February 2015
    Flagship performance C-Class is more than ever a true rival for BMW's M3, and impresses with both its breadth of ability and its practicality
  • First Drive
    26 February 2015
    The new Renault Megane GT 220 is essentially a toned-down version of the hallowed Renaultsport 275, but does it have the required DNA?
  • First Drive
    20 February 2015
    Remember Mercedes' 6x6 monster off-roader? Well, this is the 4x4 version, and we've driven it.