These two Germans have been at each other’s throats for decades now, in one form or another. While the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe wasn’t always that and the BMW M4 was always an M3 Coupe, the spirit of this battle has been around since the E30 BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz 190E first went at it in the ’80s. Now that both cars are all grown up, packing more power, performance and technology than ever before, how well do they compete?
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Car Advice put the two most extreme versions of each car up against each other on the road, with the help of Australian pro rally driver Chris ‘Atko’ Atkinson. In the Bavarian corner is the BMW M4 Competition Package. From Stuttgart is the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe.
With the Competition Package, the BMW M4 makes 444 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque from its twin-turbo 3.0 I6, has a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and gets from 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds. The AMG C63 S Coupe makes 502 hp from its twin-turbo 4.0 V8, has a seven-speed automatic transmission and sprints to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. So, despite the AMG’s significant power bump, it’s only one tenth of a second faster to 60 mph. Blame its 230 kg weight penalty for that.
On the road, they found that the AMG was the better car to drive around town in. The AMG’s nicer, more luxurious cabin and more plush ride made it the better cruiser than the BMW. While BMW’s iDrive system was said to be far better, as well as its HUD, the AMG was the more comfortable car to drive. This was to be expected, though, as AMG has always been superb at making comfortable bruisers — quiet, softly sprung cars with brutal straight line speed. Whereas BMW M cars were always a bit less forgiving around town and more scalpel sharp through corners.
Those same principles apply when the road gets twisty as well. Where the BMW M4 was a bit firm over regular pavement, it came alive when the road opened up. Its steering was better than the AMG C63’s for driving fast, its front end was easier to place, its rear end was more controllable and its braking was more controllable as well. While the AMG is easier to drive fast for a novice, as its heavy understeer makes hard cornering a bit safer and its ample torque makes catching up easy, the BMW M4 was the more rewarding car to drive quickly for a skilled driver.
Overall, though, the Mercedes-AMG was deemed to be the better road car. Its around town manners were a bit better and it’s more comfortable to just putter around in. Not that the M4 is bad, but it always feels like it’s straining at the leash, wanting to drive fast. I felt similarly during my week with one, as it felt like driving around town was boring the car and it wanted to run free. So, the Merc wins the road test, but not by much. A track test is on the horizon with the same cars and same drivers. So we’ll see which wins there soon.