Porsche Panamera vs BMW M5, Jaguar XFR and Mercedes E63 AMG - Porsche Panamera vs BMW M5, Jaguar XFR and Mercedes E63 AMG: On the track

It's time for the Porsche Panamera, BMW M5, Jaguar XFR and Mercedes E63 AMG to battle it out on track at Bedford Autodrome.

We elect to run all the cars around the West Circuit with stability control off to reveal the clearest picture of on-limit behaviour. With over 550bhp, I’m expecting the big BMW to struggle for traction, but after a steady out-lap it’s 
clear the M5 is on top of its game.

The charge into the tight, second-gear hairpin asks a lot from the brakes, but there’s plenty of stopping power and the turn-in is responsive. Stability, bite and drive are words that define the M5’s behaviour into, through and out of the Palmer Curves, while Pif-Paf’s simultaneous demands of hard braking, turning and then a quick direction change are handled beautifully, with no unsettling turn-in oversteer. It’s a deeply impressive performance, resulting in a best lap of 1.25.7, although after three flying circuits the brake pedal becomes soft in depressingly familiar BMW style.

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!

Next up is the XFR. The contrast is remarkable. The lack of grip is such that it feels like there must have been a downpour since we lapped the M5. The Jag simply can’t find any bite on its Dunlops and there are comedic levels of turn-in oversteer through every corner. The brakes have great power and consistency, and the supercharged V8 pulls with conviction, but the XFR simply can’t carry proper speed into or through the corners. Its best lap is a 1.28.2.

The Panamera S has a big power disadvantage, but it counters with plenty of mechanical grip. However, the chassis has a curious tendency to wind itself into a lateral jiggle as the outside wheels load up then unload. It causes the inside rear to spin, which feels a bit scruffy. The brakes are very impressive, but the manual gearshift can be awkward into the tight Bank turn. Its time of 1.27.3 is decent, but it’s not as much fun as we’d hoped.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The E63 is quick from the off, but in traditional AMG fashion the transmission isn’t suited to track work. Chassis-wise it’s a softer car than the M5, with more propensity to understeer on the way in and oversteer on the way out. It’s a valiant effort – with a 1.26.8 lap, it’s second fastest – but the M5’s time is untouchable.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/news/22743/gordon-murray-automotive-t50-revealed-the-real-mclaren-f1-successor
News

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 revealed – the real McLaren F1 successor

Gordon Murray’s T.50 is the pinnacle of supercar engineering on the eve of an electrified future
4 Aug 2020
Visit/ferrari/202963/ferrari-roma-2020-review-a-new-take-on-the-italian-gt
Ferrari

Ferrari Roma 2020 review – a new take on the Italian GT

Direct, engaging handling and superb ride quality, plus strong performance: the sharp-suited Roma nails its GT brief
5 Aug 2020
Visit/features/202947/bmw-m3-gts-vs-mini-gp-vs-renault-sport-megane-r26r
Features

BMW M3 GTS vs Mini GP vs Renault Sport Mégane R26.R

You could spend £250,000 on a 700bhp hardcore machine, but is there just as much fun to be had – if not more – with less power and for less outlay?
1 Aug 2020
Visit/ford/202957/mountune-ford-focus-rs-m520-2020-review-less-hot-hatch-more-throwback-to-group-b
Ford Focus RS

Mountune Ford Focus RS M520 2020 review – less hot hatch, more Group B throwback

The idea of a 500-horse Focus won’t be for everyone, but for the rest it’s a glorious dose of internal combustion madness
31 Jul 2020