Straight-line speed is hardly in short supply for this AMG, although for decades the brand’s road cars have lacked the same level of turn-in precision and cornering composure offered by rivals from BMW M and, in some cases, Audi’s quattro GmbH.
Any deficit is far smaller than it once was, and perhaps even nonexistent as far as steering feel and chassis balance are concerned. Make no mistake: the reputation of the C63 S trades on its distended wheel arches and the promise of a pulverising V8, but this is, in fact, a surprisingly intuitive, predictable and often delicate car to drive quickly.
Grip and poise dominate the initial exchanges and, aided by its dynamic engine mounts, the C63 S offers perhaps the most clinical change of direction of any AMG model thus far, AMG GT notwithstanding. Driven calculatedly, it’ll cover ground with the sort of spellbinding pace and composure that has one checking the speedometer every few seconds. The steering is particularly communicative by the standards of the class, although still not quite as linear in its action as we’d like.
But there’s another side to this car beyond raw pace. On most British roads, our advice would be to set the dampers to Comfort, or possibly Sport, and flick the new torque-vectoring AMG Dynamics programme into its most aggressive setting, Master. Even with the ESP switched off and the nine-stage traction control skewed towards leniency, the C63 S rarely comes across as anything other than a car that wants to entertain its driver rather than scare them.
Taken up a notch, its electronic differential further bolsters the silky rear-driven balance, and tight but newly fluid vertical control sets the stage for you to tease and experiment with the tail. This is a wickedly fast and playful car that underpins its ability with a wellspring of confidence at all stages of a corner, which is a trick the outgoing BMW M4 never quite managed.
A high-powered AMG coupé of old might have fallen to pieces against the stopwatch, but while the automatic gearbox in the C63 S remains a touch ponderous for circuit driving, the car impresses overall. Mercedes’ carbon-ceramic brakes resist wilting lap after lap and inspire confidence with their consistency and power. Michelin’s road-biased Pilot Super Sport tyres also bite keenly, although they were past their best after five or six laps.