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Merc's factory tuner turns up the C-Class wick to unparalleled levels. Few other super saloons can compete for sheer petrol-burning exuberance

Most enthusiasts will find it hard to acclaim the arrival of the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 without mourning the departure of its predecessor.

The previous model was the first to be built by AMG from the ground up and, boy, did it show. Its shadow, cast chiefly by the memory of the extraordinary naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 in its nose, looms large over the latest car – if only because its maker has done its best to gamely stick to the same formula the second time around.

The previous C 63's character was spliced into the throttle response and bellowed from the quad exhausts

That turbochargers were to be stuck to the next generation of AMG engines was clear even at the previous C 63’s introduction, but where some of its rivals – notably, BMW with the current M3 and M4 – opted to reduce the cylinder count, too, Mercedes has stuck rigidly to its V8 playbook.

The provenance of the new unit, introduced to us already in the Mercedes-AMG GT, is worthy of a 21st century creation. Already famous for being the result of shunting two four-pot Mercedes-AMG A 45 engines together (there’s rather more to it than that, of course), the new V8 delivers more power, more torque, less weight and, naturally, far greater efficiency.

Nevertheless, its forebear can be neither described nor succeeded solely through numbers. The C 63’s character, certainly it’s most likeable side, was spliced into the throttle response and bellowed from the quad exhausts. Equalling it means doing the same.

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Fortunately, the early word is good. The previous model was AMG’s first real attempt at overhauling BMW’s M division in the handling department, and the hard work done to modify its chassis has been replicated the second time around.

It’ll also come in four bodystyles - saloon, estate, coupé and cabriolet - and power derivatives  - the entry-level 362bhp C 43, the standard 469bhp C 63 tested here, and a more expensive S-badged model with 503bhp.

The full-blown AMG models are more powerful than the BMW M3 although, starting at £62,180, they’re a little pricier, too. But now its time to see if the latest C 63 is worthy of wearing the AMG badge it adorns. Let’s begin.

Mercedes-AMG C 63 First drives