Mercedes-Benz has picked the week of the international press launch of the new BMW M3 to issue first pictures of its new super-saloon, the V8-powered C63 AMG – and Autocar is the first to get a drive in it.It’s an overtly aggressive move by Stuttgart, and a clear attempt to take the spotlight away from BMW’s new M-car. However, you can read exclusive first drive verdicts on both cars this week at Autocar.co.uk; on Friday, we’ll be bringing you Steve Sutcliffe’s first verdict from behind the wheel of the new M3. And you can read Greg Kable’s first drive of the C63 AMG right now, by clicking here.Our impressions of the new monster Merc were very promising. “There’s no doubt about it,” writes our man Kable; “when pushed hard, the C63 reveals a multifaceted purposefulness that poses a real threat to the supremacy of BMW’s performance icon.”“In the dry, on smooth roads, the C63 is magnificent,” he writes. “There’s decent steering weight and loads of information seaming through it. The suspension hunkers down to provide wonderful stability and big levels of confidence in high speed corners.”“I can’t remember a more entertaining, more dynamically rounded Mercedes model since the 190 2.5 Evo.”
Merc’s new C63 in detail
Stuttgart claims this car is “a C-class as never before.” It is, in fact, AMG’s own 40th birthday present to itself; a new V8 flaghsip C-class that traces its root back to the C36 AMG of 1993 – the first hot Benz developed by AMG. Check out Mercedes’ own pictures of the car in our gallery.So why all the fuss? Because under that power bulge is AMG’s independently developed 6.2-litre V8 which, in this tune, knocks out 457bhp and 443 lb ft of torque. That makes this car comfortably more powerful than the new BMW M3 and the Audi RS4; more powerful than any other production C-class that has gone before; and also only around 13bhp less potent than the C-class race car competing in this season’s DTM touring car series.Performance is electrifying, the C63 going from 0-62mph in just 4.5sec, and on to a governed 155mph top speed.However, this car isn’t all about monumental power outputs and straight line pace. It’s got a bespoke AMG chassis donated, in part, by the CLK63 AMG Black Series. It’s got wider tracks than the standard C-class, a more rigid front axle, chunkier anti-roll bars, more negative camber on the rear wheels and all new head bearings and dampers. And, as you can read in our first drive, it transforms the C-class into something as confidence-inspiring as it is thrilling on twisty bitumen.