C&D Test Drive: 2013 BMW M5 vs. 2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, 2013 Audi S6

BMW M5, Featured Posts | July 22nd, 2012 by 41
2013 audi s6 vs 2013 bmw m5 2012 mercedes benz e63 amg 1 750x500

Car and Driver takes three TwinTurbo V8 performance sedans and pit them against each other.  BMW brings to the “war” the 2013 M5, Mercedes responds …

Car and Driver takes three TwinTurbo V8 performance sedans and pit them against each other.  BMW brings to the “war” the 2013 M5, Mercedes responds with its E63 AMG while Audi throws in the 2013 S6. In a horsepower translation, 560 vs 518 and respectively 420 horsepower.

Surprisingly, the underpowered S6 places ahead of the E63 AMG and the M5. So why has InsideLine chosen the S6 over its competitors?

“We’ve been here before with the A7 and the A8: down to the final paragraph of a comparison test musing about how the Audi offers comparable or better features, only slightly reduced performance, and a significantly lower price. Bavarians aren’t big on change, but down here, old regimes are rapidly being overthrown.”

Now let’s have a look at some fragments from their review:

2012 mercedes benz e63 amg 2013 audi s6 and bmw m5 photo 457599 s 1280x782 655x400

We get that the folks from Munich aren’t interested in offering an extra-large M3. The M5’s target audience is older and wealthier; the expected comfort levels are higher; and the number of track days the car will endure will be substantially fewer. BMW perhaps pictured its customers in Augsburg and Greenwich and Kowloon, sealing themselves inside the car’s well-insulated cabin and shuttling around at speed while radio announcers report the financial news.

In these scenarios, the M5 doesn’t miss its mark, taking possession of the left lane and surrendering it to nobody. Summoned to action, the engine spins the dash needles with a manic ferocity, and the miles slide underneath with a well-coddled ease. Links to the M division’s old days of building roadgoing race cars seem as tenuous as ever.

Yet, the M5 still wants to be the battle wagon of the bunch. The Michelin Pilot Super Sports are the stickiest tires here, and a launch-control feature that is fussy to engage but potent when it does whips the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and the electronic limited-slip differential into producing the quickest quarter-mile time.

So color us pissed that the M5 suffers shortfalls in three areas where an M usually excels: steering, suspension, and brakes. We noticed this while tackling fast bends on Bavarian back roads. The calipers supplied a cold, weak bite. There was too much up-and-down bobbing of the body, and the relatively slow, remote steering wasn’t always able to place the front tires exactly where we wanted them. To drive in haste, you must trust the machine, and the M5, capable as it is, keeps secrets.

Here is their take on the Audi S6:

Up in Ingolstadt—right in the center of Bavaria—the aluminum and steel S6 wasn’t created to be the last word in performance for this model line. You get twin turbos on a V-8, you get larger wheels and tires, you get scads of  interior details, but you only get so much additional performance. The S6 is 98-hp less murderous than the next-most-powerful contender, the E63.

Okay, but aside from us just telling you all that, how would you know? The acceleration times to 60 mph are practically a dead heat. The cabin is richly furnished with special treatments such as carbon-fiber-pattern trim and high-backed, deeply hugging sport buckets with a lovely diamond-pleat pattern repeated on the rear seats. The S6 sits low and crouched, its wheel wells stuffed with aluminum and rubber. Goose it, and the V-8 sounds technically gifted and expensive while the seven-speed is both immediate and seamless, and the standard rear torque-vectoring differential helps overcome the front weight bias.

The twist gets distributed to all four wheels, and even with the extra Quattro driveshafts, the Audi’s curb weight still lands between those of the E63 and the M5. The S6’s back seat was judged the roomiest for two, its instrument panel the most attractive, and its navigation and radio interface the easiest to use.

2013 audi s6 vs 2013 bmw m5 2012 mercedes benz e63 amg 1 655x803

The full review can be found at Car and Driver, but in the mean time, feel free to share your thoughts with us.

You can also catch our own review of the 2013 BMW M5


41 responses to “C&D Test Drive: 2013 BMW M5 vs. 2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, 2013 Audi S6”

  1. Otto says:

    And yet the RS6 to come…

    • Mateo says:

      new M5 is good car but in my eyes it sucks! engine is too ordinary – f10 m5 is not real m5. it’s a crossover of audi/mercedes – quality interior/lot’s of tyre smoke

      it sucks, audi sounds better

      and yes, rs6 to come…

      i wouldn’t take any of these cars, i’d buy 7er! these cars are so pointless and over engineered that i don’t see any use of them on real road.

      i hate audi’s (as much as any other subsidiary, eg. lexus, acura) but i hope next RS6 will kill sales of m5 so bmw bring E60 like M5 in next gen.

  2. Giom says:

    Can’t argue with their conclusion, after all, they’ve driven them back to back and the M5 has gone really soft. Which is exactly why I’ve been saying that this M5 should have been called the M550i. They then should have build a more focused street racer with no compromises and called that the M5.

    Sometimes, the brilliant marketers should step aside and let the engineers do their thing also!

    • BMW The Best says:

      Then tell me something: how does it come that the M5 easily beats both the CLS63 AMG PP and E63 AMG with PP and here it is beaten by the E63 AMG with 518hp, let alone much more inferior S6? I think it’s just ridiculous since there are only two cars that can match the M5 performance-wise and in terms of handling: Panamera Turbo and Turbo S.

    • gearboxtrouble says:

      I agree 100% with you. As a M3 owner (e46 and e92) for 10 years the future looks very very unsettling. For more years than I can remember, C&D have been accused of
      being on the BMW payroll. When they say something is wrong, I take it
      very seriously indeed. My first warning flag was hearing about the fake engine sounds.

      You are spot on in describing the f10 M5 as a M550i. There is nothing unique about it – it shares an engine with a SUV for crying out loud. The M cars are supposed to be unique and exclusive and the e9x M3 and the e60 M5 were perfect examples. Now reports that the F3x M3 will have a turbo 6 are very disturbing. I
      will NOT shell out an additional 15-20k USD to buy what is essentially a
      tuned M335i. I do not doubt that both the new M5 and the next M3/4 will go like stink and be better and faster than the old cars on paper in nearly every way but they will not be the special cars their predecessors were. I’d rather pay 20k extra and buy a 911 at that point.

      Everything the M brand ever was and is is being sacrificed on the altar of the kitsch marketing exercise that is efficient dynamics.

      • Mateo says:

        I LOVE YOUR THINKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        I am not alone!!!!!!!


        e60 / e92 are just E P I C enthusiast cars.
        if you want smoke get e63
        if you want just fast car get rs6
        if you want ULTIMATE sedan get M5
        as Clarkson said : The steering, the power, the brakes and this noise…. the driving experience just dominates everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        I don’t think he can say the same for F10!

  3. ///M3 Guy says:

    They can say all what they want! I respect their opinion.
    But Still I will go for the M5 :-D

    • BMWFan says:

      yeah, i admit. it would be even more profitable if they could provide some video to back up this clam. In my view in testing these high end cars you need more then one individual feed backs in acknowledging witch is better. I would advise “OUR BMW FAN’S” not to pay too much attention to this some what “premature” post, we have all the reference/ evidence to demolish this this “GARBAGE”, So just let them have their fun time.


  4. BMW Defeated says:

    What a shame. The 518hp E63 AMG turns to dust the 560hp M5 in terms of acceleration and in handling. A slap in BMW’s face.

    • Mateo says:

      no it doesn’t, look at the chart.

      • BMW Defeated says:

        I’ve already looked. You look. BMW has no serious advantage from the standing start (HAVING ABOUT 40 HP MORE, you kid), and from rolling start the Benz destroys the M5.

      • Otto says:

        The weird thing is that in every review I read in this side of the Atlantic, the M5 has no brakes basically. BMW implicitly admitted by offering later on a M Performance pack for the M5 with “improved” braking among other things.
        Once more : an optional M Performance pack on a M car. That guy from Jalopnik couldn’t be more right.

  5. BMW The Best says:

    There’s something I can’t understand here. The M5 beats even the 560hp CLS63 AMG and E63 AMG PP, and here the 518HP E63 AMG is n par and even better than the M5 acceleration and handling-wise. Can anybody explain what happens here? That C/D doesn’t like BMW, I understand, but to such an extent?

    • Too Many Fanboys says:

      C/D obviously doesn’t like BMW; the 3-series/M3 never win comparos or get good reviews. C/D is never accused of being on BMWs payroll, either.

      Love the knee-jerk reaction to a magazine when someone’s favorite car brand wins or loses a comparo. What you’ve read about it on the internet and how cool it looks drifting around corners on an episode of Top Gear are obviously much more important than a series of instrumented tests and opinions by a variety of editors who have driven the 3 cars back-to-back and do this for a living (and who either get extra $$ for writing good things about BMWs, or bad things, depending on if the car won or lost the comparison test).

      You can still be a BMW fan but admit certain cars, like the M5 and F30, can be pretty disappointing when it comes to BMW’s usual strengths such as steering feel. Without the necessary criticism like this, BMW’s cars with succumb to focus groups and god forbid the new M3 could have poor steering like this.

  6. phil says:

    sorry, no disrespect to anyone, but only idiot and people who dont know much about cars take american mainstream car magazines seriously.

    • Simon MOD E60 M5 says:

      I’m on the same page as you mate! All you have to do is read the stats and then read the article and then start to scratch your head….

  7. BullshitTESTisBULLSHIT says:

    This test is bullshit!

  8. C&D is for Phaggots says:

    Top gear on the M5: The best car in the world right now
    C&D: Nonsense

    I know which one I believe. And here’s a hint, it’s not some dumb american journalists.

  9. viper says:

    weird…..I think in terms of driving bmw wins , prestige mb , and quality interior audi , but audi can’t win here , when the rs6 arrives well that’s another story I guess..,

    • Otto says:

      The S6 is the only AWD here

    • fredyschiftan@aol.com says:

      Sure look who made the test , look at all their past comments and you will understand how these PROFESSIONAL testers get to their conclusions, these are people who want you to listen to their opinions , be clever and make your own judgement.. They incite you by making the less favorable a winner so we all can talk about it. DONT PAY ATENTION TO THEIR COMMENTS . Car and Driver is one of the most boring and old Car magazines in the planet, they should learn from Top Gear or Car Magazine how to write an article.

  10. evo says:

    this test is unreal the m5 destroys the 2012 gtr from a roll

  11. Chris Parente says:

    The E39 M5 was head and shoulders above the competition back in the day, and hasn’t been since. Of course I say that b/c I own one, but backed up by C/D comparisons with E60 and now F10. This review sparked big discussion over at Bimmerfest, and here’s my story last month: http://cparente.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/bmw-m5-going-in-the-wrong-direction/

  12. sunny says:

    M5 doesnt compete with audi S6, technically 550i goes neck to neck for audi s6.

  13. gotanic4me says:

    Notice that that the Audi won, not because of performance, but because of things such as interior comfort and styling. Whack test, whack result

  14. BMW Defeated says:

    BMW lost hopelessly. This is what professionals say, you BMW losers. The most important thing to me is that the 518hp E63 AMG turns to dust the 560hp M5. And that testifies to supremacy of Mercedes-Benz over bmw. FULL STOP!

    • Bob Smith says:

      Why are you posting the same thing twice?

      • BMW Defeated says:

        Cause it makes me happy to see how bmw is humiliated. And in this case the most powerful bmw is brought to knees by a mediocre AMG. What else do you, bmw fans, need to accept the bitter truth for you: Mercedes-Benz is far superior to bmw. And in the 2nd place is Audi.

  15. Manchester Man says:

    hahahaha the worst review ive read in a while!! These guys need a good lesson from Top Gear and Tiff Needell!

  16. Audi Fan says:

    Oh,God. The best BMW M car turned to dust by mediocre offerings from competitors. this comparison clearly shows that BMW is the obvious outsider out of the 3 German premium brands. That’s why I sold my 5 Series and purchased the new Audi A6, and I don’t regret it at all. Instead, I’m constantly asking myself how could I so far be such an idiot to drive a BMW when there were much better offerings from Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Anyway, I corrected my mistake.

  17. Al says:

    The S6 beats the M5 and $20K cheaper. That’s accurate, correct, and BMW fanboys just can’t do nothing about it. 3.7 seconds 0-60 is impressive for the S6. I’ve test driven the BMW 5 series and it is really slow compared to the Audi S series. Sorry Bimmerboys, not this time. Note: Car and Driver has always been bimmer-bias, but they tested and drove and got the honest answer. Again, sorry bimmer boys. If the S6 has beaten the M5, wait till the 600 HP RS6 will beat the puny M5 to a pulp.

  18. Latebloomer says:

    S6 should only be compared to BMW 550i awd vs e550 awd… Similar price range and power ratings.. Stupid comparison.. M5 vs e63 vs cts-v only reasonable comparison

  19. topspin says:

    This is a case study of how what appears to be an objective scoring in each category reaches a conclusion of dubious credibility. The Audi S6’s 19% better price results in a 33% point advantage over the M5. The S6’s 17% fuel economy advantage gives it a 25% point advantage. A huge power gap between the M5 and the S6 is virtually erased by the testing methodology because the S6’s 4WD gives it an advantage out of the hole, which is of no importance for normal street driving, or even on the race track. The M5 would absolutely smoke the S6 once underway, but for all of its power is granted only a 5% point advantage. The category scoring is simply bizarre elsewhere. The S6 get a 100% grade for ergonomics, and the M5 a barely passing 70%. Nonsense. The same sort of warped scoring is seen for exterior styling, interior styling, and for fit and finish. On a 5 point scale for the “flexibility” category (whatever that is), the luxurious, quiet M5 which also covers the Nuburgring Nordschleife in less that 8 minutes and boasts a huge, broad torque curve, receives a flexibility score of 3/5 (60%), a failing grade in any classroom. The M5’s reputedly excellent dual clutch transmission is ranked the lowest of the three with a merely “good” score of 80%, which is how I would grade the significantly inferior SMG transmission in my current E60 M5.

    No doubt C&D is correct in concluding that the Audi S6 a very fine automobile, and I’ll certainly consider it for my next car. However, it’s also easy to see how better objectivity would have resulting in an entirely different ranking among the three cars.

  20. regor60 says:

    Those S6 numbers have to be off. No way a car that weighs that much can turn in trap speed like that with only low 4’s hp/torque

  21. topspin says:

    Well, I spent quite a bit of time on a post, only to find that the next day it had disappeared. In that post I was critical of C&D’s methodology. That probably explains the disappearance. My point was that the Audi is no doubt a great car, but if one examines the scoring tabulation, heavy unfair biases are obvious, which if corrected might have resulting in a different ranking among these car with the Audi perhaps even ranking last. I won’t repeat all of the details, because I suspect that this post will also disappear, but here are a few for instances… First of all, 4WD enables Audi to win the 40 yard dash, a useless attribute for street and track. The MB and BMW blow it away everywhere else where it would matter, yet the Audi only suffers a 5% point penalty in the important category of acceleration. The disproportionate awarding of points to Audi occurs far to often elsewhere. Audi receives a perfect score of 100% in ergonomics, but BMW only a barely passing grade of 70%. How many extra features and amenities could the Audi have to deserve 100% and the BMW only 80%? Audi get 100% for fit and finish and the BMW only 80%? Same disproportionate bias occurs with interior and exterior styling. BMW’s reputedly excellent dual clutch transmission receives a merely “good” score of 80%. The only other category with which I have a major dispute is regarding whatever defines “flexibility.” The M5 is reputedly a very comfortable luxury car which also accelerates the fastest of the three and completes the Nuburgring Nordschleife in under 8 minutes. It has mountains of torque throughout the rpm range. So why does it receive only 3 out of 5 points in flexibility? 60% is a failing grade in any classroom. There is even slight disproportion in the awarding of points to Audi where it clearly reigns supreme: price and fuel economy.

  22. Simon Mod E60 M5 says:

    I know the F10 M5 has a softer feel(drove it last week), but it has out handled its predecessor in every comparison race I’ve seen, so as they say “Proof is in the pudding”! The fact is if you put all three of these on the track, the M5 will win and win and win……. it’s no one thing that makes a car better, its the combination of all these factors when on the track, and we all know the M5 will come in 1st! Anyway, we have all seen for ourselves that 99% of people out there are clueless how to drive these cars! Just google M5 drag race loss, stupid owners don’t even know how to use the damn launch mode!

    The one thing that I really hate about the new M5 and 5 series in general is the bloody dash, its awful looking, left to right flat! The rest of the car is A+ in looks.

    I have owned a dozen BMW’s and will always own one, there are always pros and cons! I will not be trading in my E60 M5 for a few years yet, I’ll then drive them all and decide for myself!

    On a side note…..Americans who live in Minnesota…….Stop trying to race me in your bloody Dodge Challengers SRT8’s, your cars are heavier and have less horsepower, plus your gear box is crap, I’m not racing at 140+ mph with my kids in the car and ice on the roads…….SO PISS OFF!!!!!!

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