The rivalry between M and AMG models has now seemingly gained a whole new battle, using models just shy of the performance offered by top tier models. I’m referring, of course, to the ‘gap-filling’ models from the M Performance range and the corresponding 43 AMG range. While BMW is clear about differentiating its sub-M performance models over in the Mercedes-Benz camp, the AMG badge has it worse.
The new E43 AMG is one of the exponents of why this doesn’t really seem like the right way to go. Unlike its bigger brothers E63 and E63 S, the E43 uses a 3-liter V6 that was turbocharged to offer 400 HP and 520 Nm (384 lb-ft) of torque. While the numbers aren’t bad at all, the way the car handles itself and sounds is definitely not worthy of the AMG badge, as the video below will clearly show. Furthermore, the Merc is falling seriously behind its main competitor, reaching 100 km/h (62 mph) from standstill in 4.6 seconds.
The BMW M550i on the other hand has a proper V8 under the hood, an enhanced version of the already famous N63 unit, the 4.4-liter mill being taken up to 462 HP and 650 Nm (479 lb-ft) of torque. Couple that with a superfast iteration of the 8HP gearbox from ZF and all-wheel drive and you get a sedan that does 100 km/h (62 mph) from standstill in just 4 seconds, therefore faster than the old M5.
The superior power of the BMW means that it will be considerably faster than the E43 AMG but the video below shows impressive performance from the Mercedes. Even though it came in second, it did come closer than I expected to the M Performance model which is something not many cars can claim these days. But if it were your choice, which car would you go for?