Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG Coupe

What is it?

A lesson in patience. Mercedes-Benz has never really produced a genuine coupé rival for BMW's evergreen, class-defining M3, but the introduction of the C-Class Coupé changes that. Alongside the regular models AMG has been busy creating this high performance derivative, dropping its mighty 6.2-litre V8 engine under a suitably muscularly sculpted bonnet. It might have been a long time coming, but it's been worth the wait.

Is it any good?

You could fit AMG's high-revving, 457bhp V8 engine into a lawnmower and it'd be great - it's an amazing powerplant. That's a given, though AMG has found some real form recently in providing competent, enjoyable chassis to allow you to really exploit its always bombastic performance. The C 63 AMG saloon is one such car, and the Coupé shares much with its four-door sibling. The result is a hugely rapid (0-62mph takes just 4.4 seconds), fantastically enjoyable high performance coupé. The BMW M3 now has a genuine rival wearing the three-pointed star.

The engine might dominate the driving experience thanks to its relentless urge and scintillating soundtrack, but there's some real finesse to how the C 63 AMG Coupé goes about exploiting its power. The steering is important. Its weighting and accuracy impresses, though a touch more feel at the wheel's rim would add even more to the driving experience. Rear-driven, the chassis balance is largely neutral, though switch the electronic stability systems to their more aggressive settings (or off if you're at the track) and the C 63 AMG Coupé will smoke up its rear tyres like a bank holiday barbeque - if you feel so inclined.

You might expect some compromises for the AMG's huge performance potential, but fuel consumption aside it's as easy to drive as any other C-Class Coupé. Pop the seven-speed automatic in drive or shift it manually via the wheel mounted paddle-shifters and you're off. Quickly.

Should I call the bank manager?

You might want to. Although the £56,650 price tag doesn't look too out of sorts when compared to the M3, if you want the ultimate C 63 AMG Coupé you'll need to hit the options list. Start adding niceties like the Performance Package, Drivers' Pack, limited slip differential and satnav and telephone connection and you'll be in looking at a price comfortably into mid-£60,000 territory.

Summary

It might have been a long time coming, but the C 63 AMG Coupé finally gives BMW's M3 something to worry about. It's indecently rapid and hugely entertaining. Its hefty price - when properly optioned - counts against it, but for M3 buyers looking for an alternative there's now a choice waiting in Mercedes' showrooms. Finally.

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