Mercedes C 63 AMG Test Drive

Some say the power war between the German giants is heading out of all proportion when it comes to their real drivers’ halo cars and there were heads left shaking by the sheer audacity of the 420bhp BMW M3. So quite what those folks will make of the 457bhp Mercedes C63 AMG is anyone’s guess, but when it arced round the second gear hairpin at Paul Ricard in a cloud of acrid tyre smoke with the back end hung out like a fat girl’s rear it all made perfect sense.

This is a real shift for Mercedes’ in-house tuning arm, which seems to have broken free from the sensible shackles imposed by the three-pointed overlord. Just as the SLR’s potential razor’s edge was blunted in the name of comfort, so every recent AMG model has lacked that same cutting edge and on track were a source of constant frustration as the electronics kicked in and strangled the fun at the first side of a slide. But that doesn’t happen anymore.

There’s a Sport mode for restrained tail slides, but now off really means off, which is a first in Mercedes’ recent history. It’s a real car that will let it all hang out and steer on the throttle, which makes it a surefire winner and a genuine rival to BMW’s M3 and Audi’s RS4.

And sitting in the pit-lane at Paul Ricard, blipping the throttle and hearing the 6.2-litre V8, spool up like a Messerschmitt soaring overhead, I didn’t need a spec sheet to know it blew both of them away in terms of pure pulling power. Its 457bhp comes ata heady 6800rpm and it will keep going all th...