A grand total of 32 cylinders, 14 exhausts, 16 seats, 27 gears, 19 litres of engine capacity and 1,696bhp. All split between four compact executive cars. Welcome to our super-saloon shoot-out.

What’s most surprising is that three of these models are brand new and previously unseen in the UK. Step forward the Mercedes C63 AMG, Lexus IS F and BMW M3 saloon. Our fourth contender needs no introduction. The Audi RS4 officially disappeared from price lists when the new A4 went on sale last month, yet it remains one of the best fast four-doors ever made, and sets a high benchmark for these three pretenders. It’s never been beaten – but has it now met its match? The Audi is no longer the most powerful machine around. That honour belongs to the 6.2-litre Mercedes, which develops a huge 451bhp. Historically, though, the company’s AMG tuning arm has struggled to deliver cars that cope with corners as well as they do straights.

The IS F is the wild card. Lexus products have never shown the slightest hint of sporting prowess, yet this model looks set to upset the establishment. And firmly in its sights is the BMW M3 saloon – the fourth generation of the car that started the hot saloon ball rolling in 1986. We have Cadwell Park race track in Lincolnshire at our disposal, so which super-saloon rules the roost?

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Who Is The King Of The Hill? C63, IS-F, RS4 Or M3

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