Originally published March 4, 2015

Portimao, Portugal – At the turn of the calendar to 2015, there was a bit of a lull in compact luxury sport sedan competition in Canada: the Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG four-door took a sabbatical for the last half of 2014, the Lexus IS F recently departed the market, the announced Cadillac ATS-V won’t arrive until April, and the Audi S4 and Volvo S60 Polestar are both sizable performance notches below the long-time reigning champ in this segment, the BMW M3.

As such, the all-new-last year M3 is now the de facto target in this “pace, grace with four-door space” segment. Perhaps even moreso than usual, given that it’s the only one in its competitive set to offer more than 400 horsepower, a level attained despite BMW sizing down its M3 from a full-bore 4.0L V8 to a more efficient and politically correct turbocharged inline-six. With 425 hp, the BMW M3 is currently the undisputed power champ in this class.

That is, until the all-new 2015 Mercedes-AMG C 63 arrives in Mercedes-Benz showrooms later this month, or early in April.

Yes, they’re still labeling it a 2015 model, despite its spring 2015 arrival, and will now expand the line to include a more track-ready S version as well as the regular C 63 AMG. The outgoing C 63 AMG sold over 40,000 units globally, making it the best-selling AMG model of all time, using a formula that dropped one of AMG’s largest engines into one of Mercedes-Benz’s lightest bodies available in North America at the time. That success wasn’t enough to maintain the entire name as is, as you’ll note that this C 63 is no longer a Mercedes-Benz model, but a new Mercedes-AMG model.

Slightly new name, and new C 63 S model

Mercedes-AMG will now be the new moniker for serious AMG performance machines, while the AMG name after the usual letter and three-digit model designation (i.e., the upcoming C 450 AMG) will denote versions with AMG tweaks, but not the most ambitious or comprehensive sporting mods. These AMG models will battle with BMW M Sport, Lexus F-Sport and Audi S-line models, among others, with Mercedes-Benz no doubt hoping mightily that the proliferation of AMG models of differing sporting temperatures does not overly confuse its customers, or dilute the sporting cachet of AMG models. Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves in the comments.

Maintaining those performance credentials shouldn’t be an issue with the new C 63, since it will offer the monster engine of the class, in horsepower, torque and cylinder count, if that latter measurement means anything in this era of boosted engines by turbocharger, supercharger or hybrid electrification.

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