The recipe for a performance coupé is simple: take one good-looking coupé, give it a more muscular look if it needs one, make the dynamics sharper, drop a powerful engine in the nose and aim the performance figures for the stratosphere.
The hot versions of these slick-looking coupés each exhibit their own exhilarating traits, making them unique to own, drive and live with. The appearance in this list of some of the usual suspects may not come as a surprise, but the big question remains: who can reign supreme in our top 10 out of Mercedes-AMG, BMW M and Audi Sport, and one or two others?
The Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupé is endowed with so much power, sinewy good looks and handling attitude that it’s hard not to fall adoringly under its spell. It becomes harder still when you realise that this will be the last AMG C-Class of its kind with a V8 engine, with four-cyliner hybrid power in line for the next one.
The C63's twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 may not have the overall charm of its forebear’s normally aspirated 6.2-litre V8, but the way the 503bhp engine (a 469bhp non-S version is also offered) makes you cycle through adjectives – easy-going, enjoyable, enthralling, exhilarating - as your toe journeys toward the bulkhead is something else.
With the arrival of the new, G22-generation 4-Series and an all-new M4 therefore now in sight, you might struggle to find remaining stock of the outgoing M4 in BMW's dealer network, but that shouldn't stop you from looking.
Early M4s of the old generation felt wayward and loosely controlled at the rear axle, which, combined with a shortage of traction, made them spiky and nerve-wracking to drive at times. However, each subsequent version improved the package, and while the late Competition variant didn't quite hit the spec-sheet heights of GTS or CS-badged specials, it is a more composed and predictable car to handle on the limit of grip than the M4 once was. It is also an excellent sports coupe when measured against any of its rivals, and arguably one of the best fast BMWs to date.
Performance from the twin-turbo straight-six is rampantly accelerative, the cabin pleasant and usable, and the ride stiff but not too unrelenting to live with day to day as long as you appreciate a sporting compromise. The upcoming M4 has big boots to fill.