The Mercedes-AMG C63 S comes with more grunt than Ferrari of Porsche

There's something borderline primal about firing the engine of the latest update to one of Mercedes-Benz AMG's most popular models, the C63 S.

The guttural bark of the quad exhausts perfectly encapsulates what lies ahead, a heady flutter of deep V8.

So tantalising is the bassy boom that it reinforces the efforts AMG has gone to, under the guidance of petrolhead boss Tobias Moers.

The sound created by modern AMG V8s eclipses that of any V8 from Ferrari or Porsche.

Sound warning

It's also enough for other cars to take notice, even involuntarily.

Starting the C63 S in a shopping centre carpark set off the alarm on a Toyota alongside.

Granted, I'd pressed the sports exhaust button to lift the aural accompaniment – and the whole cacophony was reverberating off the concrete walls.

But it gives an idea of the intensity of the bark. The only car that comes close to the AMG's roar – and probably beats it – is Ford's latest Mustang.

Size does matter

The 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 beneath the curvaceous bonnet of the C63 AMG is the same one that's been employed in all manner of AMGs, from the E63 and S63 to the blocky G63. It's also unchanged from the previous C63.

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The configuration is unique in its class; rivals from Audi, BMW and Alfa Romeo each have six-cylinder engines. Lexus used to offer a V8 in its IS F, although that model has been discontinued, the same non-turbo engine used in other Lexuses, including the RC F.

In some tunes the AMG V8 makes up to 470kW of power, something Moers recently admitted is probably enough; he hinted any upcoming performance updates would come courtesy of electric motors (as part of a hybrid system) rather than the engine itself.

In the C63 S that V8 makes 375kW and 700Nm, so not as potent as some other AMGs, but it's fine in the mid-sized four-door body of the C-Class.

Spinning around

There's enough to ensure it can be a challenge diverting all that grunt to ground level.

Prod the throttle and it doesn't take much provocation for the 265mm-wide Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres to spin as they fight for traction.

There can be moments of axle tramping, too, whereby the rear-end bounces around as it tries to unleash so much grunt.

Doubling up

The go-fast ferocity is helped by the new transmission, which has stepped up from seven to nine ratios and adopted the same tech used in the bigger E63.

It uses a regular auto transmission but pairs it to a single wet clutch, allowing for slick take-offs.

That clutch in lieu of a torque converter allows for launch control functionality, with revs able to build before it's all systems go.

None of which changes the 0-100km/h claim of 4.0 seconds; it seems grip is the biggest issue facing the C63.

Hold on…

It can be fairly wild, although is in keeping with the bad boy image of the C63.

This isn't motoring done gently or sedately. It's all about big noise and big impact. This is one of the most exciting V8s on the road today.

There's also plenty of tech and trickery in trying to make thinks slick and smart. A new nine-stage traction control similar to that used in the AMG GT supercar allows for fine tuning of how much wheelspin and slide you want.

Turn it all off and the C63 can be very lairy, wheelspins and all.

And feel the power

Dial in some assistance and you can still have fun and enjoy the incredible performance without leaving black lines on the bitumen.

The electronically locking differential also helps channel power rearwards although, again, it's traction at low speed that is the challenge.

If it's all too much, there's a Slippery mode that dials back the power to make things more manageable; perfect for someone who doesn't appreciate a tail trying to wag.

Softly does it

There's no forgetting you're driving one of the most exciting Merc's ever created.

While the suspension has been softened to address concerns of the overly stiff setup, engineers have still ensured its cornering prowess and sharp reactions that are the priority.

You'll still jiggle around over poor quality surfaces, something more noticeable at city speeds. There's less of the jarring of the previous car, although it's far from comfy.

Angle into a driveway or street and it'll easily kick a rear wheel into the air, such is the stiffness of the chassis.

Screen time

Inside, though, it's pure luxury and the C63 has undergone a transformation.

There is a larger centre screen and a digital instrument cluster. The new steering wheel is terrific, especially the Alcantara touches to break up the leather. There are also new controllers on the steering wheel, ones that appear to have been inspired by Porsche.

They're focused on vehicle functions, such as drive modes and suspension settings, although Benz has added its own touches with tiny LCD screens near the buttons on the left. Tap the screen and you can toggle what the button alongside operates.

No point touching the centre infotainment screen, though, because it's controlled purely from the Command controller. That's fine for most functions, but it doesn't work as well for Apple CarPlay, the connectivity system bespoke to Apple smartphones; there are times you have to scroll through big lists to get to the virtual button you're trying to click on.

Prime time

None of which upsets the status quo in what is one of the most exciting V8s on the market.

At $160,900 plus change for some of the various options it channels plenty of old school V8 fun but with enough modern tech and lashings of cornering confidence.