Kicherer addresses this with a fully adjustable coilover suspension system, made to Kircherer specifications by KW. This uses progressive-rate springs in front, while the dampers allow you to tailor bounce and rebound control as well as ride height.

Even with the big 20-inch wheels fitted, the secondary ride is now noticeably more compliant than the factory Performance Package. In fact, it felt no more edgy than the stock suspension with 18s.

While the progressive front springs help take the sting out of short, sharp bumps, the relatively low unsprung weight of the forged wheels also helps. With unsprung weight about the same as a good cast 18-incher, the dampers don't have to work hard to recover after each bump.

This extra initial compliance of this suspension and the Dunlop tires makes a huge difference in the way the car moves down the road. No longer do you instinctively tighten your muscles in anticipation of big bumps on a familiar road, as the C63 just flows down the road that much better.

That said, while the AMG Performance Package pummels you with its stiff ride, it does not actually have any real grip or traction issues. On the original press launch, my test car impressed with its quick but never nervous turn-in, its superb poise, and strong mechanical grip through even bumpy bends.

In fact, I was very surprised that the car was able to key its front and rear rubber into bumpy surfaces; overly stiff cars usually get unsettled big time by this. It was just the rock-hard ride that stopped me bonding with this otherwise fantastic machine.

The Kicherer setup rounds out the suspension's performance envelope, which now delivers the handling pluses of the Performance Package, while taking the sting out of its ride. If you are that vital bit more relaxed at the end of a journey, then this is money well spent.

With the suspension sorted, you feel more comfortable using the extra straight-line grunt on less than billiard-table-smooth surfaces. Apart from just being more powerful, the big V8 also feels like it has bigger lungs.

The more aggressive ignition timing and free-flowing intake and exhaust help it rev better too, so the character of delivery benefits as well.

Any tuned car is only as good as the sum of its parts, but sometimes the engineers manage to turn the finished car into something greater than the sum of its parts. Ultimately, it is a question of balance, and Kicherer walks the line between engine power and chassis ability finely enough to turn a good car into a great one.

Who is kicherer?
I know an enthusiast when I meet one, and Florian Herre and his partner, Siegbert Janz, are most definitely enthusiasts. Not only do they love fast cars and tuning, they're just as enthusiastic about providing the best possible service to their clients.

"We are a very small company," Herre explains. "That gives us the chance to work closely with our clients every step of the way. It also means that individual wishes can be catered to in a way that a big company with much greater overhead would find difficult to do for reasonable money."

Herre and Janz, who looks after the publicity and marketing side of the business, may have only been running Kicherer for two years, but they have a wealth of collective experience in the car business.

Two brothers, Dieter and Uwe Kicherer, formed the company in 1976. They started off as Alpina agents, but in 1999, after a lot of pressure from customers, started selling AMG products too. Soon after that, they terminated their Alpina contract.

When AMG became part of Mercedes-Benz, Kicherer became an AMG reseller, but without being able to use AMG in the corporate name. Soon afterward, they took on a Brabus dealership and rapidly built themselves into the most successful Brabus outlet in Southern Germany.

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