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Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe vs BMW M4

Mercedes-AMG and BMW’s M Division do battle as the new C 63 S Coupe takes on the M4. Which two-door comes out on top?

The battle between the Mercedes-AMG tuning arm and BMW’s M Division has raged for decades. Both performance brands specialise in ramping up the ability of cars from the regular ranges, so with its latest offering AMG has shoehorned its bonkers twin-turbo V8 underneath the curvaceous bonnet of the stylish C-Class Coupe to create this C 63 S model.

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Just as BMW’s 4 Series Coupe rivals the regular two-door C-Class, the M4 is the M Division’s ultimate expression of performance in the compact executive coupe class. The recipe is similar to that of the C 63, too: an engine breathed on by the company’s in-house tuning department, stuffed into the nose of a pumped-up coupe body. But these cars’ wheelarch extensions and aerodynamic tweaks have substance as well as style.

• Best performance cars on sale

Enhanced chassis technology features on both models to ensure that there’s enough grip to harness the prodigious levels of power on offer. However, thanks to their conventional rear-wheel-drive layouts, engaging and adjustable handling is available if you’re in the mood.

It’s a fine line to tread in order to become the best high-performance coupe on the block, so which model serves up a better combination of explosive straight-line pace with concessions to usability? Let’s find out. 

Head-to-head

Engines

Cars such as these are all about their engines, but these two high-performance models are the first wave of hot coupes to move from large, naturally aspirated motors to downsized turbos.

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The Mercedes makes the more effective transition to forced induction, because its V8 is incredibly urgent at low revs with fantastic mid-range punch that gives it the feel of a large, non-turbo unit. While it doesn’t rev with the same gusto higher up, the C 63 still gains speed with a lovely linearity, accompanied by a scintillating soundtrack.

AMG has worked hard on this exhaust system to keep the characteristic V8 rumble, despite the pair of turbos doing their best to sap the sound. With big cracks and bangs adding to the experience, it feels like a European muscle car.

The BMW’s engine is just as explosive, but some might argue it’s lost a little in the way of noise by moving to turbocharging. While the snarling exhaust gives the M4 an aggressive appeal, in day-to-day driving the straight-six turbo drones more because enhanced engine noise is pumped into the cabin through the stereo.

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By comparison, the Mercedes’ melodious V8 burbles away in the background and romps round to the rev limiter at full chat. One thing’s for sure; moving to forced induction has made both cars’ performance even more ferocious.

Verdict 

First place: Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe

The C 63 S is just shaded by the M4 for outright performance, but it has a more fun personality – and that’s what these cars are about. The AMG is more approachable thanks to its transparent handling balance, while it’s got a richer character due to that V8. However, it also blends this with decent cruising refinement, and while it’s pricier to buy, you get more for your money.

Second place: BMW M4

The BMW remains a brilliant performance car that’ll easily give the Porsche 911 a run for its (extra) money. However, compared with the C 63, at this level the price gap could be less important for buyers, and the M4 doesn’t quite offer the same rounded ability as the AMG. It’s still a scalpel-sharp car on your favourite road, but it doesn’t feel as fluid or involving to drive.

Other options for similar money...

New: Lexus RC F

Lexus RC F front

Price: £59,995Engine: 5.0-litre V8, 470bhp

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If you don’t like the idea of a turbocharged two-door performance car, the RC F’s high-revving naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 is hi-tech and powerful. This and its bulk mean it’s not as fast, but it’s an appealing alternative.

Used: Maserati GranTurismo 4.7 Sport

Maserati GranTurismo Sport front tracking

Price: £63,000Engine: 4.7-litre V8, 454bhp

Splitting the difference between the C 63 S and the M4 for price, a used GranTurismo Sport combines effortless four-seat coupe looks with the rich sound of a non-turbo V8. It won’t handle as well as the AMG, but it’s still lovely.

Figures

 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S CoupeBMW M4 DCT
On-the-road price/total as tested£68,710/£76,615£59,560/£69,565
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£31,126/45.3%£28,231/47.4%
Depreciation£37,584£31,329
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£5,043/£10,087£4,130/£8,261
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£3,087/£5,146£2,897/£4,829
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost48/£1,050/J/£26542/£965/J/£265
Servicing costs£45 per month (3yrs)£1,100 (5yrs/50k miles)
   
Length/wheelbase4,750/2,840mm4,671/2,812mm
Height/width1,400/1,877mm1,383/1,870mm
EngineV8/3,982cc6cyl in-line/2,979cc
Peak power/revs 503/5,500 bhp/rpm425/5,500 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs 700/1,750 Nm/rpm550/1,850 Nm/rpm
Transmission 7-spd DCT/rwd7-spd DCT/rwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel66 litres/inflation kit60 litres/sealant
Boot capacity355 litres445 litres
Kerbweight/payload1,800/360kg1,612/503kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.3 metres/N/A12.2 metres/0.34Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (unlimited)/3yrs3yrs (unlimited)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers15,500 miles (1yr)/136Variable/153
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.12th/20th15th/24th
NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/starsN/AN/A
   
0-60/30-70mph4.9/3.4 secs4.5/3.5 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 1.8/2.8 secs1.9/2.7 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th 3.7/4.9/6.3 secs3.2/4.0/6.0 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 155mph*/2,000rpm155mph*/2,000rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 45.2/32.2/8.0m45.3/33.3/8.3m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph65/50/63/69dB 65/49/61/68dB 
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range19.8/4.4/287 miles21.1/4.6/278 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined24.8/40.9/32.8mpg25.4/42.2/34.0mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined5.5/9.0/7.2mpl5.6/9.3/7.5mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket330/200g/km/37%309/194g/km/35%
   
A’bags/Isofix/park sens./cam/auto pk.Seven/yes/yes/yes/yesSix/yes/yes/£330/£545**
Auto box/stab/adaptive cruise/AEB^Yes/yes/£1,695^^/yesYes/yes/no/£370
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless go£645/yes/yesYes/£1,600/£495
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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