BMW M3 vs Mercedes-AMG C63 S battle on road and track - BMW M3 vs Mercedes-AMG C63 S - page 3

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

So there’s some welcome subtlety to go with the sledgehammer performance, but there are also a few question marks. Surprisingly, one is build quality. The Mercedes is beautifully finished from appealing materials, but on this car there’s a tooth-splinteringly annoying squeak from somewhere in the dashboard, and the (empty) front passenger seat rattles and jiggles like a twanged ruler over some of the more lumpen road surfaces. You don’t expect that in a modern supermini, let alone a £67,000 supersaloon.

Dynamically the C63 is a sharp, convincing drivers’ car with plenty of depth and dimensions. There’s refinement and maturity to go with the raucous fireworks when it’s fully lit. If there’s a criticism, it’s that deploying such rampant performance has required AMG to tie the car down a little too tightly. This has dominated the tune of the damping and prevented some of the finer detail feel filtering through to the driver. Still, it’s clear the M3 has its work cut out.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

It’s fair to say we’ve had a rather turbulent relationship with the M3 (and M4). The recipe is an enticing one, but a less than sparkling engine and a chassis that can be decidedly spiky in damp or wet conditions have left us conflicted about a machine we should admire unconditionally. It would be easy to arrive at this test with a preconceived notion of how the BMW will perform, but it’s best to leave the baggage behind and get reacquainted afresh.

On jumping out of the C63 and into the M3, the lack of bling means the interior is less immediately impressive, but there’s a purity and honesty that’s reassuring and somehow more appropriate in what is an overtly sporting saloon. It might not be showy, but the M3’s cockpit is a driver’s delight. Starting the engine up, though, it’s hard to hide your disappointment. The straight-six sounds purposeful, but in an industrial way. It certainly doesn’t make you smile in the way the Mercedes’ ballsy V8 does, but the first few miles still feel promising. With 425bhp and 406lb ft it’s a league below the C63 S, but those numbers are far from shabby, especially in a 1560kg car, and though the reserves of torque aren’t as plentiful, there’s more than enough shove from low revs.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/jaguar/202210/jaguar-f-type-r-2020-review-supercharged-v8-coupe-takes-the-fight-to-porsches-992
Jaguar

Jaguar F-type R 2020 review

Entry-level P300 still has the sweetest F-type chassis, but the 567bhp R’s appeal is as enduring as ever
10 Feb 2020
Visit/porsche/202213/porsche-macan-gts-2020-review
Porsche

Porsche Macan GTS 2020 review

Porsche's mid-sized Macan GTS remains the most impressive SUV to drive with a tad more polish and tech
10 Feb 2020
Visit/lamborghini/201900/819bhp-lamborghini-aventador-based-v12-hypercar-nears-production
Lamborghini

819bhp Lamborghini Aventador-based V12 hypercar nears production 

Track-only Squadra Corse machine fired up for the first time at Sant’Agata Bolognese factory
11 Feb 2020
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019