Performance numbers and lap times are only a part of how a car handles and drives and they certainly aren’t the be-all, end-all of the car’s overall performance. For instance, just because one car is faster than another around [insert famous race track here] doesn’t mean it’s better than the other car, overall. However, without having both cars in front of us to test for ourselves, we do have to rely on such performance figures and lap times to come to a conclusion about their performance.
Now, there has been much debate as to which brand is better here, lately, either BMW or Mercedes. Both sides have been adamant, and downright rude, about which brand they prefer. So instead of letting subjective qualities cloud our vision, let’s let maths and numbers do it for us.
German publication Sport Auto took these two bruisers to the famous Hockenheim circuit to see how they performed and to find out which car is faster. Both cars went around the short version of the track by the same driver, to make things fair. Also, both cars were similarly spec’d. Both were each model’s most powerful version and both had automatic transmissions equipped.
In the case of the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe, this meant that it had its 503 hp 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8 equipped with its seven-speed automatic. The AMG powers only its rear wheels through a limited-slip differential. That makes the AMG more powerful than the BMW by 59 hp. However, it does weigh more, to the tune of about 300 lbs extra.
The BMW M4 was the Competition Package model, which means it had 444 hp from its 3.0 liter twin-turbo I6 engine and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. It, too, powered its rear wheels through a limited-slip diff. While it is down on power, and slower to 60 mph (4.4 vs the AMG’s 4.2), it has an advantage at the track, thanks to its lighter weight.
When it finally came down to putting wheels to track, it actually turns out that the BMW M4 Competition Package is quite a lot faster than the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe. Around Hockenheim, the M4 CP ran a 1:11.9, while the AMG ran a 1:12.6. In fact, even the standard BMW M4 DCT is faster around Hockenheim than the AMG C63 S, doing a 1:12.3, and so is the BMW M2 doing a 1:12.5. The only BMW M car that’s slower than AMG is the M4 with a six-speed manual, doing a 1:12.8. That just goes to show that handling precision and balance are more important on a track than outright power.
Now, does that mean that the BMW M4 Competition Package is universally better than the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe? Of course not. But it is faster and numbers don’t lie.