As a mere facelift, the updated C63 S Coupé’s appearance has changed little. Not that this is a criticism.

Of the current crop of coupés and saloons at the more exciting end of the compact executive class, none is more imposing or aggressive in stature than Affalterbach’s mad-dog version of the C-Class.

Look closely and from certain angles and you’ll see the four AMG-monogrammed exhaust tips are just superficial, with the true outlets hidden well within the bodywork

The visual cues are familiar: the wheel arches retain greater flare than a pair of Robert Plant’s trousers, while a rear track wider even than this car’s saloon and estate siblings amplifies its assertive stance. Meanwhile, the squared-off quad-exhaust covers provide telling clues to the firepower that lies behind the new ‘Panamericana’ grille.

That firepower comes courtesy of a 4.0-litre V8 that remains unchanged and customarily places its brace of turbochargers between the cylinder banks. In the standard C63 Coupé, it produces as much as 469bhp and 479lb ft; for our C63 S test car, those figures rise to 503bhp between 5500 and 6250rpm, with 516lb ft from only 1750rpm. On output alone, the BMW M4 Competition and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio both appear a touch casual by comparison.

A new nine-speed multi-clutch transmission replaces the original seven-speed gearbox, although as before it delivers the engine’s efforts exclusively to the rear wheels. With this set-up, a wet start-off clutch is employed instead of a torque converter, to both save weight and hone the transmission’s reaction to varying throttle inputs. An electronically controlled limited-slip differential is standard here (non-S models make do with a mechanical differential), and the S also benefits from dynamic engine mounts that are said to help reduce vibration and improve turn-in response.

Back to top

Suspension is by way of a multilink arrangement at each axle, with coil springs and AMG’s Ride Control adaptive dampers, which have been subtly retuned. Naturally, there is a comprehensive range of driving modes to alter everything from steering weight and damper firmness to shift ferocity and throttle response.

But perhaps the most meaningful update to the C63 S is that it gains a new AMG Dynamics programme that manipulates the characteristics of the rear differential, with modes ranging from Basic to Master. It operates alongside a nine-stage traction control system similar to that first introduced on the AMG GT R and which promises to tailor the car’s playfulness to the ability of the driver.

Lastly, Mercedes-AMG’s claimed kerb weight of 1745kg is believable enough. On our test scales, the fully fuelled Mercedes weighed in at 1770kg, with the mass split 55% to the front, 45% to the rear.