In wasn’t long ago that if you mentioned any other car in the same sentence as the BMW M3, it was the inferior machine. The M3 has been the king of its segment since its inception, with almost no competition. Up until recently, that is. Competition of the M3’s throne has grown stronger than ever. The Cadillac ATS-V and Mercedes-AMG C63 S are the two rivals with a shot of dethroning the mighty M3, and the matchup is closer than one might think.
Well, Motor Trend had the good fortune to pit these three super sedans against each other and see which is best.
The C63 isn’t a newcomer to the battle, as it tried to take down the king in its last generation, with little success. The previous C63 was good and very fun, but it didn’t’ have the precision and driveability that the M3 had. This new model, however, is a proper driving machine. According to Motor Trend, while the ATS-V couldn’t pass the M3 on twisty mountain roads, neither the ATS-V nor the M3 could keep up with the big Benz. With 505 hp, it’s also the most powerful by far, though it is also the heaviest of the bunch by far, weighing in at 3,936 lbs. Its 4.0 second 0-60 mph time is also tied with the M3 for second place. But the extra power on the real roads gives the Benz the advantage. As well as a more confidence-inspiring chassis.
The BMW M3 is still the most trackable car of the bunch. It’s the most like a race car. You have to work at it to get the most out of it. So while the M3 is equally as fast as the C63, it’s a little more nervous feeling on tight roads, which causes it to fall behind the rock solid Benz. However, the M3 is still the driver’s car of the bunch. It’s fluid and fast, with an absolute rockstar of an engine. The twin-turbo I6 just pulls and pulls, also revving out further than the other two, with a 7,500 rpm redline compared to the Benz’s 7,000 and the Caddy’s quite low 6,500. The only real issue with the M3, according to Motor Trend, was the overactive traction control system, which kept intervening. Obviously, it can be turned off, but they felt that wasn’t too safe an idea on twisty mountain roads.
The Cadillac ATS-V is the real surprise of the bunch. It’s far faster than both, pulling a 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds, is faster around the track and stops from 60-0 is less distance than the other two. It’s the performer of the bunch, which is surprising from a brand whose main clientele put their teeth in jars at night. But make no mistake, this ain’t your Grand Dad’s Cadillac. Where the ATS-V falls down is in its powertrain. While it’s sensationally fast, it doesn’t rev high enough to allow for any fun nor does it sound good doing it. So all of that fury seems rather tame in comparison with the Bimmer’s snarl and the Benz’s roar.
In the end, Motor Trend declared the Mercedes-AMG C63 S the victor. It was equally as fast as the Bimmer and almost as fast as the Caddy, handled better than both apparently and has the more exciting V8 engine.The Cadillac ATS-V came in second place, being the best performer on paper than the other and actually being fun to drive, but falling down because of its powertrain. The might BMW M3 came in dead last for, well, unexplained reasons. The Bimmer seemed to tick a lot of boxes and sounded more fun to drive than the ATS-V, but came in last. We can’t really tell which is best without testing them for ourselves, but according to Motor Trend, the king has been defeated.