What's hot: A serious track-spec Q car with big back seats and a boot (and an immense sound).
What's not: As firm as Bronwyn Bishop and unsettled - even offended - by bumps.
X-FACTOR: Fantastic on track, a four-door sedan with the kind of power and performance that would have sat comfortably in ‘supercar world' not so long ago.
Vehicle style: Super-sports premium sedan
Price: $154,900 (sedan) and $157,400 (Estate)
Engine/trans: 375kW/700Nm 4.0 biturbo V8 | 7spd AMG Speedshift MCT
On paper, numbers aren't that scary, not even the big ones. But in the real world, figures like the 375kW and 700Nm that this new C 63 S makes are capable of causing genuine, gut-churning fear.
Any doubts we may have had about AMG's ability to replace its huge and hugely powerful 6.3-litre naturally-aspirated V8 with something smaller and turbocharged are wiped out the within seconds of nudging this new and improved beast from the kerb.
The engine may have shrunk to just four biturbo-charged litres, but performance has swelled by 25kW and 50Nm.
And "lag"? No, that is not a term you can apply to a car that offers all of its 700Nm from just off idle at 1750rpm.
Just one dash from a standing start to 100km/h in four seconds flat removes any doubts that this might be a lesser experience than the old-school C 63 that's being replaced.
This latest ‘S' AMG is a more potent, more angry machine than anything that's preceded it.
If you must have a four-door sedan, but you still want to frighten yourself, and endanger your licence as well, the C 63 S will make you very happy indeed.
- Alcantara highlights on muscular, sporty steering wheel
- Lashings of carbon-fibre on dash and even in the middle of the instruments
- Sexy red seat belts
- Stunning iPad-like centre touch screen
- Large, full-colour head-up display
The new C-Class has already set a high standard of fit, finish and technological whiz-bangery for what you find inside the doors.
The C 63 takes all those features - the cool, track-pad-like mouse in the centre console, the beautiful touch screen - and adds to them with a colourful and sports-focused head-up display and lashings of expensive-looking carbon-fibre.
The seats are the same serious sporting buckets found in the A 45, which means they look great but lack a little in long-distance comfort. They add to an ambience of serious intent.
The part-Alcantara steering wheel, with "this way is up" highlight stitching at the top of the arc - just like a rally car - is a nice touch as well.
An absolute premium interior, there's a genuinely expensive and classy feel in here which only falls slightly short of the class-leading offerings from Audi.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine/trans: 375kW/700Nm 4.0 biturbo V8 | 7spd AMG Speedshift MCT
- 0-100km/h in 4.0 seconds
The sensation of speed, and of a bottomless well of torque available at the twitch of your ankle, is what stays with you long after you've climbed sweaty and slightly shaken out of the C 63 S.
That and the noise. The biturbo V8 lurking under this bonnet makes you think that "natural aspiration" wasn't so important after all.
This is a car which will run door-handle to door-handle with the range-topping Porsche 911 GTS.
And yet one with back seats, and rear doors, which can transport you and your whole family to the national limit in four seconds.
It's not an easy car to drive slowly, or even sensibly, because there's just so much grunt on tap at every point of the rev range, and because, as human beings, we are weak and easily tempted.
On a race track, where it feels totally at home - even in Estate form - the way it goes from 100km/h to 200km/h is a sheer, shouty joy.
Just like a 911, the C 63 now features a little exhaust button you can press to open up some amplifying flaps in the mean-looking quad pipes. When you do the result is outrageously raucous.
It is in fact quite plausible that this car will be too noisy for some tastes, because the fireworks that ensue when you lift the throttle may not win you any awards for neighbourly relations.
But, on the road, this car is quite close to flawless in handling terms, with a fantastically stiff chassis and excellent turn-in.
Sadly, while we know AMG can produce properly weighty steering in cars like its awesome SLS, the feel and feedback are still slightly ‘light on' in the C 63 S. (Perhaps that's how its customers like things.)
The one factor you do have to take into account when pushing on, particularly in Race mode when the traction-control settings are loosened up, is that this big beast is prone to hanging its tail out.
Get on the gas coming out of a bend before your wheels are pointing straight and the massive rear tyres are quickly scrabbling for grip. If you like drifting, of course, you're going to love this car.
Fortunately, in Sport or Sport + settings, the car is clever enough to give you a tiny bit of sideways action, just enough to flutter your heart, before towing you back into a straight line.
It's fantastic fun to drive, and to drive fast, but its one flaw is that it really is tied down like a race car.
In the more exciting settings the ride is close to brutal; even in Comfort you'll start searching the road surface in front of you for bumps because big ones can cause your ribs to rattle.
We became airborne several times on the launch drive, which was exciting but also alarming.
Its ‘take no prisoners' approach - performance without compromise - won't appeal to everyone, those but those who do like it, will truly love it.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
The performance of the C 63 S Estate is so staggering that it could now well and truly be shopped against Audi's entirely bonkers $225,000 RS 6 Avant.
I'd take the $157,400 Benz, because it's actually better to drive.
The direct competitor for the C 63 S, of course, is the 317/kW/550Nm BMW M3, and it's a choice that causes plenty of debate amongst aficionados.
Certainly, in styling terms, the Mercedes could lay claim to being the sexier car, but, on this choice, I'd lean to the M3, purely because the steering is more talkative and more muscular fun than the C 63's.
It's fair to say, though, that the battle has never been closer, and driving the two back-to-back would be the only way to make a definitive call. It would also be a great day out.
On price, the local arm of Mercedes has done a hell of a job to bring the full-fat S version to market at just $154,900, which is a cool $15K cheaper than the last C 63 was at launch.
It is also, not coincidentally, $2000 cheaper than an M3.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
It's tempting to throw another half a star on, but the fact is the harshness of the ride can become wearing after just a day in the new C 63 S.
Weirdly, for a car that's supposed to double as a family road car, it feels far more at home on the track (where it is simply fantastic).
The motorsport-obsessed nuts at AMG would seem to have been given the freedom to go wild on this S version.
In Europe there'll also be a plain C 63 available, with slightly less power and nuttiness, but the feeling is that Australian AMG customers have no interest in such pussy-footing around and would all want the S version anyway.
And that's what we get. But whichever way you look at it, the C 63 S AMG is a hugely impressive car, with staggering power and laugh-out-loud exhaust noises.
A ‘Q car'? The toughest C 63 ever, perhaps it's more the R-rated beast.
There are plenty of buyers who will love that about the C 63 S AMG. I wish them the best of luck in keeping their licences, because temptation will be their constant companion.