We recently sampled the new, post-LCI, 2016 BMW 340i with the new B58 3.0 liter TwinPower inline-six engine. We’ve deemed it to be a significant improvement over the, already excellent, previous N55 engine that was so beloved by BMW enthusiasts. The new B58 engine, along with a wide range of chassis, suspension, steering, exterior and interior changes, make the post-LCI 340i a fantastic car and could put the 3 Series back on top of the segment. But now there’s a new competitor in the segment, one that could potentially take the new 340i down — the Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG.
Mercedes-Benz’s new C Class has been gaining significant popularity lately, for its much higher level of luxury than anything else in the segment and gorgeous looks, both inside and out. Though, it falls down a bit, to cars like the BMW 3 Series and Jaguar XE, when it comes to handling and performance. Apparently, Mercedes was aware of this and wanted to a car that could hang with the big boys. Its latest C450 AMG is that car.
Packing a twin-turbocharged 3.0 liter V6 that develops 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque, the C450 AMG has quite a bit more power than the 340i. The BMW 340i makes 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque, so it’s significantly outgunned in this fight. Now, typically, BMWs have been able to outperform cars while suing less power, thanks to their brilliant delivery of their power and lighter weight. However, this isn’t one of those instances. The Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG is able to rocket to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, four tenths faster than the BMW 340i. Thank the as-standard, 67/33 rear-to-front torque split, all-wheel drive system. Though the C450’s old seven-speed automatic transmission is a bit slow and unrefined, especially in comparison with BMW’s brilliant eight-speed auto, but it’s said that a nine-speed ZF-sourced auto is coming for the Benz.
In terms of driving dynamics, the C450 is much better than the other C Classes, as it’s fitted with sportier suspension, grippier tires and that aforementioned all-wheel drive system that sends most of its power to the rear, like all other 4Matic AMGs. Though, the steering has still been called a bit more numb than the BMW’s, especially at the limit.
In terms of looks, the C450 AMG is even better looking than the standard C Class, which is to say very good. I wouldn’t know if I could say that it’s better looking than the 340i without having them together at the same time, but it is a very good looking car. On the inside, however, the C450 AMG is better looking than the 340i, as it’s better looking than basically everything else in the segment. We still don’t care for the column shifter, though. Those belong in old Buicks, not sporty AMGs.
With all of that power and performance, good looks and a great interior, the new Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG makes a strong case against the BMW 340i. Is it a better car? We can’t know for sure without driving them back to back, but it’s definitely getting closer. On paper, the Benz is certainly faster and can hang with the BMW, in terms of performance. But in practice, we’d be surprised if it was more fun, which is the most important factor of a sports sedan.[Source: Car and Driver]