BMW M3 vs Mercedes-AMG C63 S battle on road and track

With the BMW M3 nameplate at its weakest for years, does Mercedes-AMG have an open goal with the C63 S?

The enduring battle for supremacy between Mercedes-AMG and BMW M is one of the automotive industry’s great rivalries. Toe-to-toe, blow-for-blow, Stuttgart and Munich revel in the ongoing slugfest that has given us some of the most exceptional cars of recent years. Of those, perhaps none are more significant than the successive generations of C-class and 3-series-based cars, for it’s into these family cars with genuine everyday practicality that AMG and M engineers rejoice in shoehorning extraordinary powertrains and heavyweight firepower. Compelling and corrupting in equal measure, by pretty much any measure they are all the car you could reasonably want or need.

The battle may be timeworn, but the rules of engagement have changed for 2015, with the latest-generation C63 and M3 featuring downsized turbocharged engines in place of the scintillating, high-revving, larger capacity naturally aspirated motors that previously defined the breed. Fear not, though, for while we mourn the passing of those 8000rpm monsters, there’s plenty to celebrate in this new era, not least increased power, torque and outright pace. This is an arms race apparently without end.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

With the arrival of AMG’s new C63 to UK shores, the temptation to set up a head-to-head contest on some of our favourite roads (and Bedford Autodrome’s West Circuit for some all-out lap times - see the video above) is too great to resist. So we head for North Yorkshire, loping up the A1(M) before spearing off towards Malton, Pickering and Whitby, traversing the network of wide-open roads that drape themselves across this massive moorland landscape. It’s an epic place and one that’s perfect for testing big-hitting hardware like this.

Inevitably a large part of these cars’ appeal over the years has been the way they look. Seeing them together for the first time reveals a surprisingly stark contrast in design. The M3 is sharp and aggressive in styling and stance, all pinched details and chiselled features, with those huge starfish alloys barely contained within the artfully swollen arches. It’s an unmistakable car – even if my poor old brain does still expect an M3 to be a two-door – but if you’re in any doubt as to what’s sitting before you, the quartet of stubby tailpipes jutting from the rear valance are an explicit M-car identifier. It means business, this M3.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The C63 – in ‘S’ spec here – looks less convincing in the role of supersaloon. The shape is a rather unhappy one, strange proportions and a rather amorphous tail lending the car a bit of a dumpy appearance. This despite the best efforts of the squat ride height, optional multi-spoke 19-inch alloys, a suite of up-spec AMG body addenda and a bonnet complete with twin ‘powerdomes’. It’s not an ugly car, but it lacks the toned physique to go with the promised performance.

> Click below to head to page 2

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/bmw/m4/22869/new-2020-bmw-m4-spied-testing-ahead-of-launch
BMW M4

New 2020 BMW M4 spied testing ahead of launch

BMW’s next M4 promises much, but will it deliver? Here’s everything we know so far
7 Jul 2020
Visit/mercedes/s-class/22543/new-mercedes-s-class-interior-teased-before-reveal
Mercedes S-Class

New Mercedes S-class interior teased before reveal 

The next S-class, Mercedes’ archetypal luxury saloon and tech leader, is ready for launch
7 Jul 2020
Visit/aston-martin/21621/first-ps275m-aston-martin-db5-goldfinger-continuation-model-produced
Aston Martin

First £2.75m Aston Martin DB5 Goldfinger Continuation model produced

Aston Martin has finished its first DB5 Goldfinger Continuation; the other 24 James Bonds to receive their cars soon
6 Jul 2020
Visit/skoda/202145/full-2020-skoda-octavia-vrs-engine-range-detailed
Skoda Octavia vRS

Full 2020 Skoda Octavia vRS engine range detailed

Skoda’s engine range for the Octavia vRS topped by a 242bhp turbo petrol
3 Jul 2020