This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class AMG (15-18) review.

Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

As its name suggests, the C63 AMG is powered by an immense 6.3-litre engine - the V8 unit is also used in other AMG versions of other models including the E-Class and S-Class. In the C-Class it produces an enormous 457bhp along with huge amounts of pulling power and this translates into a 0-62mph time of just 4.5 seconds (4.6 seconds for the estate version).

To put that into context, that makes the C63 as fast as a Porsche 911 Carrera S and fractionally quicker than an Audi R8. It's a hugely flexible engine with power available across the rev range and it sounds sublime too with a deep V8 rumble accompanying even modest acceleration. There's no manual gearbox available - instead the standard transmission is a seven-speed semi-automatic system, called 7G-Tronic.

This uses two clutches (in a similar way to the Audi and VW DSG systems) to provide super fast shifts. In standard mode the AMG is easy and almost sedate to drive, while a sports mode quickens the changes by 30 per cent - it also blips the throttle on downshifts. Alternatively there's manual mode which allows the driver to control the changes via the steering wheel mounted paddle shifts.

This is the most enjoyable and involving mode to use, especially on more demanding roads and unlike some systems will hold a gear until you change up, even up to the red line on the rev counter.

The C63 AMG is certainly more focussed on the road than previous AMG models and feels poised and nimble. The steering is well weighted and incredibly responsive too, although at slower speeds it does require more lock through corners than you'd expect. Despite all that power on tap the C63 does well to translate it onto the road, although a heavy right foot in wet conditions will send the stability control light flashing as the rear tyres try to find some grip.

The stability system (ESP) has three settings - standard, sport and off. The sport setting makes it less intrusive, allowing a little more drift before it kicks in. From the driver's seat you are always aware of that immense power under the bonnet but the C63 still feels reassuring and predictable to drive and with minimal body roll in corners and a surprising agility too.