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AMG refreshes its archetypal model in anticipation of the next-gen BMW M4

In 1966, Hans Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher left Mercedes-Benz to begin a new business creating racing engines. Humbly headquartered in a former mill, their departure nevertheless quickly paid off, not least when an AMG-Mercedes 300 SEL 6.8 crossed the line an astonishing second at the 1971 Spa 24 Hours, trouncing far nimbler racing cars from BMW and Alfa Romeo.

In the years since, it’s not difficult to imagine Aufrecht and Melcher (the ‘G’ in ‘AMG’ is for Großaspach, the town where Aufrecht was born) witnessing the growth of their tuning outfit with wide-eyed astonishment.

‘Panamericana’ grille is new and replaces the more subtle dual-slatted design of the pre-facelifted C63. It’s a hallmark of all AMG models except the 35-badged four-cylinder examples.

The Mercedes-AMG F1 team has now secured five world championships, but even if your name isn’t Lewis Hamilton, ownership of an AMG road car has never been more achievable thanks to the introduction of more mainstream models such as the four-cylinder A35 hot hatch. In fact, AMG now builds cars in almost every bodystyle, offering 70 models in total, including an entirely bespoke sports car.

AMG has vast commercial clout. Today, most Aston Martin models are AMG-propelled, and Afflaterbach, where AMG has been based since 1976 and where its larger engines are hand-built to the ‘one man, one engine’ philosophy, is now not only crucial to Daimler AG’s bottom line in terms of sale but also a marketing wunderkind for the entire business. One in every 10 Mercedes sold bears those famous initials, making it arguably the most potent ‘halo’ sub-brand in the business.

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AMG has diversified and duly thrived, which only serves to make this week’s road test more pertinent. Touting eight cylinders and rear-wheel drive, the C63 S is an AMG of the old-school, just like the 300 SEL 6.8. Since its introduction in 2015, the W205-generation car has won high praise from this magazine, but with a new BMW M4 on the horizon, AMG has updated the recipe with greater chassis technology and a new digital array.

Has it future-proofed what is perhaps the finest super-coupé of this generation? Let’s find out.

Price £78,023 Power 503bhp Torque 516lb ft 0-60mph 4.3sec 30-70mph in fourth 4.7sec Fuel economy 26.0mpg CO2 251-256g/km (WLTP) 70-0mph 45.2m

The Mercedes C-Class range at a glance

Some £48,738 separates the humble C180 from our C63 S, which goes to show just how much variety there is within the C-Class Coupé range.

There’s a choice of petrol and diesel engines – the majority of which are four-cylinder units – while certain models are also offered with four-wheel drive. All non-AMG models make use of a standard nine-speed automatic gearbox, as does the C43.

Below the genuine 43- and 63-badged models, the C-Class trim line-up consists of just one grade: AMG-Line.

Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe First drives