While the BMW M3 and M4 are super-quick around a racetrack, on the road at normal speeds they can feel a little sterile. Not so the C63. Doubtless it’s slower in outright lap times but it offers more theatrics, making it arguably more fun in everyday use.
Start the 4.0-litre V8 and it thunders away like an old American muscle car when you switch on the sports exhaust – standard on the coupé and convertible, but optional on the saloon and estate. It sounds epic simply dawdling in town traffic, especially the convertible version with the roof down.
Yet, floor the accelerator and you’ll discover the C63 is a full-on performance machine. On paper, the coupé is quickest, with the heavier saloon, estate and convertible fractionally slower. Without using a stopwatch, though, you’d struggle to tell.
There’s a slight delay when you apply the accelerator while the turbochargers wind up, after which the C63 soars off down the road. The S version, with its extra 34bhp, feels quicker still. When you’re not flat out, the C63 is generally as docile and easy to drive as any regular C-Class.
The exception to that is the seven-speed automatic gearbox. It’s a tad jerky when you are trying to park and the manual shifts – executed using the paddles behind the steering wheel – aren’t as quick or smooth as those of the M3 or M4.
You can alter the feel of the C63’s suspension settings with a switch on the centre console. In the softest Comfort mode, the ride is firm but not harsh. It really only thuds over sharp ridges or deep potholes, while it rides larger bumps, such as sleeping policemen, well.
For quick driving, the Comfort setting keeps body roll well checked, but you’ll want to firm it up to Sport+ to make full use of the C63's nimble handling. It changes direction well for what’s still a comparatively heavy car and offers lots of grip, but it isn’t quite as pinned to the road or as responsive as its BMW rivals. Then again, when the rear-driven wheels lose traction, it’s far less snappy and easier to manage than the twitchier BMWs – especially if you have chosen the S model, which benefits from an electronically controlled limited-slip differential.
The steering is a pleasure, too. It’s not overbearingly heavy around town and weights up nicely as you build speed through corners.
Whichever bodystyle you choose, the C63 will eat up the miles when you need it to. Wind noise is pretty hushed at speed, and while you have to put up with a bit of road roar from the fat rear tyres, it’s not overbearing.