Mercedes may be in the process of phasing out the normally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 used in this generation of the C 63 (the next one will probably have a smaller-capacity twin-turbo V8), but it's a magnificent engine that lies at the very heart of this car's considerable appeal and delivers a level of performance that blitzes its rivals. 

Blitzes? You’d better believe it. Despite the C 63’s faintly amusing traction issues over the first few feet, it’s still quick enough to level with the M3 from 0-30mph (2.1sec). But from that moment onwards it drives away from the BMW under a full-bore acceleration run, so that by the time 150mph is registered it is a quite incredible 3.6sec farther down the road (22.9sec vs 26.5sec), having knocked off 0-60mph in 4.4sec and 0-100mph in 9.7sec.

The C 63 oozes excess

True, the AMG engine doesn’t rev with anything like the same mania as the M3 towards the red line (it’s all done by 7100rpm, whereas the M3 goes to 8500rpm), but that hardly matters when the flow of torque is this potent and, what’s more, is available pretty much from the moment you fire the thing up.

Yet what really separates the C 63 from its imitators and makes it feel so very rapid in a straight line is the way the seven-speed automatic gearbox works so well in conjunction with the mighty V8 motor.

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Even in Comfort mode the transmission works beautifully, offering decently swift upchanges that don’t unsettle the car mid-corner. Use Manual mode, though, and the C 63 truly bares its fangs, blipping downshifts like the best professionals, picking off gears almost as fast as you can speak them on the way up through the intermediate ratios. 

Our only complaint is that upshifts could and should occur faster when you flick the paddle, but then maybe the C 63 might feel too manic if this were the case, especially on a wet road with the ESP (heaven forbid) switched off. Either way, it is one of the very fastest cars with four doors and a boot that we’ve ever road tested.

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