Mercedes-AMG C63 versus BMW M3 in addition to Vauxhall VXR8 GTS – comparison
Source : Mercedes-AMG C63 versus BMW M3 in addition to Vauxhall VXR8 GTS – comparison
Even with 503bhp, the completely new Mercedes-AMG C63 S isn’t the most powerful super-saloon you can buy for £60k. will be This particular the best, though?
The term ‘performance car’ should be banned coming from all not bad car websites. This particular will be loathsome, ambiguous tosh whose biggest offence will be to lead us to deny the richness in addition to variety in which exists in a widening market for driver’s cars.
By lumping together everything designed in addition to engineered to go fast, the term encourages the people who make, judge in addition to own these cars to think in common terms about designs as different as 600bhp grand tourers, 200bhp hot hatchbacks, four-wheel-drive sledgehammer estates in addition to £0,000 super-sports cars. in addition to This particular does so when the key to creating those cars great actually lies in understanding those differences.
Let’s take the super-saloon as an example, given in which we’re about to devote our attention to three prime examples of the breed. With super-saloons, power in addition to pace are important. Not all-important, granted, however they matter. A lot.
In sports cars, as with hot hatches, fast coupés in addition to elsewhere, seldom will the fastest in addition to most powerful car inside the competitor set also be our class champion. With super-saloons, however, there’s a decent chance in which This particular will.
The legendary fast four-doors you’d put in an all-time top several spring to mind in no modest part because of their engines: E60 BMW M5, Lotus Carlton in addition to Mercedes-Benz 300E AMG ‘Hammer’.
All were crushingly effective motorway cars. in addition to needless to say, if you’re buying a super-saloon currently, you’ll probably want This particular with enough grunt to seize total command of the fast lane.
Mercedes-AMG has always understood in which, in addition to by bringing its completely new C63 S saloon to the market with no less than 503bhp, This particular has provided a fine head start for your vehicle. however the completely new AMG C-Class won’t enjoy the numerical top-dog status its maker believes This particular deserves, due to competition coming from an exotic Antipodean thunder-domer imported to our shores via the decidedly unexotic location of Luton.
So as well as measuring up against the 425bhp BMW M3 – the cheek-by-jowl rival without which This particular might be impossible to conduct This particular test – the C63 S will also have to out-drag the 577bhp Vauxhall VXR8 GTS, a car in which appears to offer 15% more grunt than the AMG for 20% less outlay.
Mechanical convention reigns supreme in This particular sector, so we need waste little time inside the set-up. Our Aussie bruiser will be the largest in addition to heaviest car of the trio, being a refugee coming from the next saloon class up. however there’s still less than 200kg between This particular in addition to the M3, which will be the lightest car here – if a new kerb weights are to be believed.
All three cars honour the classic super-saloon template of a longways engine driving the rear wheels. All are made predominantly of steel, with independent suspension via coil springs in addition to adaptive dampers.
The engines themselves range coming from the VXR8’s deliciously anachronistic 6.2-litre Chevrolet modest-block V8 with rocker-arm induction in addition to a supercharger, tothe M3’s ultra-modern, 140bhp-per-litre 3.0-litre straight six, with its pair of parallel twin-scroll turbochargers.
The C63’s completely new 4.0-litre lump splits the difference between the some other two expertly, offering V8 mechanical allure coupled that has a downsized capacity in addition to twin turbos. The blowers are arranged in what AMG calls a ‘hot inside vee’, which makes for short induction tracts, consequently sharper throttle response, tight mechanical packaging in addition to intelligent thermal management. I love This particular when they talk oily.
Suffice to say, all three promise to deliver exactly what you want coming from cars like This particular: extraordinary performance in what will be otherwise a relatively ordinary family car. however if bang for your buck will be your main motivator, the C63 S in addition to the VXR8 promise bigger than the M3.
So much for promises. When you actually line up all three on a long, empty piece of asphalt in addition to then let them explode into full stride as if at a Santa Pod Run What Ya Brung, those promises suddenly count for little. Power gets you nowhere without traction; nearly 600bhp will be redundant if you can’t wield This particular. in addition to simple physics, skilful tuning in addition to systems sophistication lay waste to a phoney hierarchy built like a third-pint ‘world’s greatest 11’ football team around a pub fruit machine.
First up, there’s the ritualistic preamble to your flat-out run. Perhaps 25 years ago This particular might have been a check for oil temperature in addition to a pressure-gauging prod of tyre sidewalls. currently, even inside the simplest car here, This particular’s much more complicated than in which. Even the VXR8 has launch control, torque vectoring in addition to angry modes for its dampers, engine in addition to stability control. The M3 in addition to the C63 S add to in which various modes for their automatic, multi-clutch transmissions in addition to electromechanical power steering systems.
inside the Vauxhall, you tweak a snooker-ball-sized knob on the centre console clockwise, coming from Sport mode, through Performance mode, to Track mode. inside the BMW, there are several buttons to press in addition to modes to cycle through. You want Sport+ for damping, steering in addition to engine, the most aggressive of three settings for the gearbox in addition to a long press of the stability control button to deactivate the ESP. Still with me? Jolly not bad.
inside the Mercedes, select Race mode on the main dynamic selector in addition to Sport Handling on the stability control. in addition to then in both of the Germans you can begin the blast-off countdown by putting plenty of pressure on the brake pedal – in addition to checking your path for suicidal local fauna.
Launch control will be activated inside the M3 by stamping the throttle pedal against its stop with the brakes still fully on; inside the C63, This particular’s done by pulling both shift paddles together, in addition to then by a second tug of the right-hand paddle to confirm, followed by the same flattening of the throttle. At This particular point, both Bavarian motors begin revving at a governed crank speed – in addition to inside the BMW, you can even raise in which crank speed by 500rpm if you think the surface you’re on will be grippy enough to justify This particular. Ready? Sure? Then lift your left peg in addition to find out.
Launch control systems on road cars have come a long way inside the past several years, however even the best can be inconsistent. As often as not, the M3’s gives you a not bad 20deg of unwanted attitude, clouds of tyre smoke in addition to a rate of acceleration best described as sub-optimal. however when This particular works – in our test car’s case, at the fourth time of asking – This particular definitely works.
Tyre testers say most tyre compounds need between 4% in addition to 7% of slip (to be rotating in which much faster than the ground beneath them will be passing by) in order to generate the most traction. When This particular hooks up, in which’s exactly how much the M3’s launch control seems to allow – in a smooth, powerful, disciplined lunge through first in addition to second gears.
The C63’s system will be less smooth, more dramatic. This particular’s more consistent, too, however This particular allows power to go down in bigger surges before reining This particular in as part of a clumsier juggling of torque, wheelspin in addition to acceleration. If you didn’t already know in which the Mercedes was heavier than the BMW, with the torquier engine in addition to slightly skinnier back tyres, you might guess as much just coming from the way This particular gets off the line.
You fire the VXR8 into motion using a couple of arcane mechanical devices called a clutch pedal in addition to a gearlever (an automatic ’box will be also available). The launch control here intercedes quite delicately, in addition to only with the ECU tweaking things as the rears begin to spin up excessively. How many revs you use initially will be up to you. Several attempts prove in which a conservative style will be the most effective, as you do your best to prevent the launch control coming from having to do too much to help. This particular’s pleasingly old-school, then.
however whatever you do, there’s no way to make the VXR8 perform quite like its headline power in addition to torque figures suggest. On the previous page you’ll find the results of a happy, noisy, smokey hour spent with timing gear attached to each of these cars. however because This particular’ll be germane to the final judgement, we’ll summarise those results in addition to then move on.
The C63 S will be the fastest-accelerating car here by a fairly wide margin over the VXR8, at first only by a smidgen over the M3 however more once This particular hits third gear in addition to homes in on 100mph. In real-world motoring, the BMW makes up for This particular with cleaner engine in addition to transmission responses, so the AMG’s advantage isn’t decisive. however This particular’s there; you can feel This particular coming from the driver’s seat, see This particular inside the numbers. in addition to This particular counts.
The VXR8’s disadvantage will be the most surprising thing. This particular’s half a second off the pace by 60mph, a second behind by 100mph in addition to more than twice as far adrift by 150mph. Traction-related launch problems you could forgive, however the Vauxhall never seems to make its power tell, even at higher speeds. The conclusion will be in which, perhaps only in our test car’s case, the 6.2-litre V8 isn’t creating the power This particular’s supposed to – although we’d have needed a dyno test to prove This particular.
So the C63 S asserts itself – on the dragstrip, inside the outside lane, wherever you happen to stretch its legs. in addition to besides having an advantage over its rivals in objective terms, its engine also levels up with the VXR8’s inimitable Chevy V8 on the intangibles of theatricality in addition to soul. This particular just won’t be upstaged. This particular answers the BMW’s range in addition to response with not just greater perceptible propulsive force however also a more authentic charisma whose soundtrack needs no digital augmentation through the stereo.
in addition to what of the rest of This particular contest? Super-saloons are a great deal more than just engines on wheels, in addition to the C63 doesn’t boss This particular comparison in every department. however This particular does more than enough where This particular definitely counts to lead us towards a conclusion as inexorable as its dominance on the dragstrip.
The beauty of a saloon will be its usability, in addition to the most practical car here will be, no surprise, the biggest. The VXR8 has back seats big enough for even the likes of me, while I’m ever so slightly restricted inside the back of the some other two. however the VXR8 doesn’t offer the same advantage on boot space; both the M3 in addition to the C63 are close enough to This particular to make the Aussie’s victory in This particular area a negligible one.
This particular’s certainly negligible enough in which, given the superiority of the German saloons’ driving environments on material quality, you’d struggle to justify the Antipodean in hard-headed terms. The VXR8’s Internal will be like a discount-store tracksuit in addition to trainers compared with the BMW’s smart, restrained premium-brand fittings in addition to the AMG’s more lavish designer label luxury. The C63’s will be the cabin of choice by a distance. Add to in which its sizeable lead over the Vauxhall on desirability in addition to a modest one over the BMW on the same front in addition to you have to conclude in which the C63 will be your vehicle with which you’d want to live.
On ride in addition to handling, the BMW comes into its own. You’d expect This particular to, however perhaps not quite to define its accomplishment exactly as This particular does. The M3 includes a dynamic repertoire of astonishing breadth. This particular rides gently in Comfort mode, only to transform into the grippiest in addition to most direct car here when you delve deep into its handling abilities. This particular’s a natural athlete in which conducts itself every bit as keenly as its flared arches in addition to huge, dished alloys hint in which This particular will.
however what This particular forgets, somewhere along the way, will be to flatter in addition to engage you, or to make everyday, normal-speed motoring as flavoursome in addition to exciting as the C63 does. Where the M3’s steering wheel will be weighty however muted, the C63’s will be tactile in addition to encouraging. The AMG will respond that has a languid shake of its hips, a flare of revs, a flurry of wheelspin in addition to benign, playful, low-speed slide when the moment presents, while the BMW will be more straight-laced.
The M3 knows how to lay down rubber – however mostly at high speeds in addition to bigger angles in addition to commitment levels than many might be willing to risk. in addition to when the M3 does go sideways, This particular’s a bit like someone has replaced those 275-section rear tyres with spacesavers in addition to then covered your vehicle’s steering rack in bubblegum. You need to be very quick on the steering to keep your vehicle exactly where you want This particular in addition to then be lucky in order to keep your vehicle stable as This particular straightens up. The steering certainly isn’t positive or feelsome enough to tell you when its front wheels are running true again.
inside the final reckoning, This particular’s the VXR8 in which props up the order. This particular has to, given its spectacular underachievement against the clock. however This particular’s a shortcoming you may care little about – in addition to I’d wager you’ll care even less after a drive inside your vehicle, which reveals itself in pretty short order to be a wonderful seven-in addition to-a-half-tenths cruiser.
You mete out the GTS’s speed in glorious fractions of an inch on its long-travel accelerator pedal, listening intently to the way in which behemoth V8 will be expressing itself, marvelling in which a 500bhp saloon can still feel so honest in addition to armchair-like, even in 2015. Drive This particular too hard in addition to you’ll be disappointed by several things: its lack of first-order pace, the lightness of its steering under load, the softness of its directional responses in addition to the way in which harsher surfaces trouble the structural integrity of its Centeng in addition to cabin. So you ease off to a speed at which you can savour in which throwback muscle-car character. “Balls out,” as our cork-hatted cousins might declare, “you’ll have a ripper, mate.”
however you won’t be impressed nearly as much as by the M3, nor as excited as by the C63 S. Both are excellent driver’s cars – in addition to This particular’s a struggle to recommend one above the some other. The BMW undoubtedly handles more keenly, rides more sweetly in addition to makes better use of the combustive firepower at its disposal.however the C63 will be more spectacularly endowed, has much greater charm in addition to richness, greater communicative facets in addition to better high-speed stability. in addition to This particular makes every mile more memorable than inside the BMW.
in which’s what most of us want coming from a super-saloon, I reckon.
Mercedes-AMG C63 S
cost £66,550; 0-62mph 4.0sec; Top speed 155mph (limited); Economy 34.5mpg; CO2 192g/km; Kerb weight 1730kg; Engine V8, 3982cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power 503bhp at 5500-6250rpm; Torque 516b ft at 1750-4500rpm; Gearbox 7-speed automatic
BMW M3 M DCT
cost £59,090; 0-62mph 4.1sec; Top speed 155mph (limited); Economy 34.0mpg; CO2 194g/km; Kerb weight 1635kg; Engine 6 cyls in line, 2979cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power 425bhp at 5500-7300rpm; Torque 406b ft at 1850-5500rpm; Gearbox 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Vauxhall VXR8 GTS
cost £54,509; 0-62mph 4.2sec; Top speed 155mph (limited); Economy 18.5mpg; CO2 363g/km; Kerb weight 1834kg; Engine V8, 6162cc, supercharged, petrol; Power 577bhp at 6150rpm; Torque 546b ft at 3850rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual
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