Mercedes and BMW are working hard on their next small super-saloons, as these spy shots of thenext M3 and C63 AMG show.
The C63 is to feature a version of the 6.2-litre naturally-aspirated V8 used in the E-class, G-class and the just-launched CLK63. In the E63 it pumps out 503bhp and 435lb ft, while in the CLK it produces 474bhp and 465lb ft, so expect the C63 to be extremely rapid: 60mph should come up in around 4.5 seconds.
The C55 only had 362bhp and 376lb ft of torque at its disposal and took 5.2sec to get to 60mph.
However, this engine is unlikely to be as traction control-baiting as the 5.4-litre supercharged V8previously favoured by Mercedes' AMG arm. In the E63 the power and torque peaks are at 6800 and 5200rpm respectively; the C55's torque peak was at 4000rpm. Getting those huge amounts of power and torque to the road will be Mercedes' seven-speed automatic transmission.
The M3 coupe will be the first of a slew of M-powered cars in the current 3-series range. An estate,convertible and saloon are to follow. It will feature a 400bhp V8 which revs to 8250rpm. The previous M3 used a 3.2-litre straight six producing 339bhp and took 4.8sec to reach 60mph, so expect the new car to be even quicker.