The cold, damp surface of MIRA’s horizontal mile straights served to prove two points: that a pair of driven axles is infinitely better than just the one when it comes to deploying immense power to the road in less-than-ideal conditions, and that the C63 S Coupé is a devastatingly quick car once it finds its footing.

Of course, Mercedes’ quoted 503bhp and 516lb ft mean neither of those observations comes as much of a surprise. However, the fact that this most junior member of Mercedes-AMG’s V8 line-up felt as though it would happily continue to accelerate long after it had punched through the Armco that bookends MIRA’s track is telling. With the optional AMG Driver’s Package, top speed is capped at 180mph rather than 155mph, although we’d not bet against the C63 S nudging 200mph if freed from its electronic constraints.

The C63 S can unsurprisingly struggle for traction in inclement weather, but let it off the leash and its electronic diff enables a confidence-instilling tail-happy playfulness

More objectively, with two testers aboard the C63 S recorded a two-way average 0-60mph time of 4.3sec – 0.4sec shy of Mercedes-AMG’s claimed time. In these conditions, however, traction in the lower gears was a precious commodity, and a dry surface would undoubtedly see that time tumble. Indeed, even in the damp, the 100mph marker was surpassed at 9.2sec, putting the C63 S on a par with the identically powerful Giulia Quadrifoglio, and a mere 0.4sec behind the M4. Given that both of those rivals were tested on a bone-dry day, AMG can hold its head up high.

The talent of the 4.0-litre V8 isn’t limited to immense through-the-gears performance; huge tractability means it’s just as willing to deliver a tidal surge of in-gear acceleration. Locked in fourth, our test car accelerated from 30mph to 70mph in 4.9sec. The Alfa and BMW, on the other hand, both took 5.4sec to complete the same feat, which is testament to raw cylinder-count.

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On the fly, the nine-speed multi-clutch transmission is capable of swapping ratios in an impressively dexterous manner. However, its more aggressive calibration meant some of that civility was diminished at lower speeds. Step-off in particular can be clunky and lacking in fluidity, which would be more acceptable were the full-bore, redline upshifts more clinical than they are.