Compact performance sedans have supercar power.
Once more, the German brands own the turf.
The BMW is evolving while the AMG is a pure muscle car.
These two performance and luxury sedans have some extremely storied roots. They will forever be intertwined with the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft) which saw some of the greatest sedan motor racing in history, in our opinion. Cars like the amazing Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16V and equally legendary E30 M3 went on to spawn some of the most illustrious driving cars of all time. And that legacy continues today with the all-new BMW M3 and the AMG C 63.
While the G80 BMW M3 has yet to be driven and evaluated, there’s little doubt in our minds that it will provide an unmatched driving experience compared to some of the latest BMW M cars. With more versions and powertrain options than ever, it will be a force to reckon with.
The W205 Mercedes-AMG C 63 might not be the freshest member of this exclusive club, which includes the Audi RS 5, but there is no need to pity it. With, up until recently, the most powerful engine and poignant exhaust note to match, the C 63 is the definition of rapid young executive transport.
This rivalry goes back to the 1980s and now that there’s a new M3 on the horizon, let’s see how they measure up spec-wise to each other.
In this category, the playing field is nearly level. That manner that each automaker takes to generate massive output numbers is different, however. No matter one’s personal preferences, these boosted engines will provide endless smiles. And, it is possible to select between a “light” and full-fat versions of these engines.
The AMG is endowed with a superb handcrafted twin-scroll twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine. The C 63 gets a “detuned” output of 469 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,750 to 4,500 rpm. The C 63 S has a leg up with its 503 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque from 2,000 to 4,500 rpm. Although not entirely pertinent to this story, we find it important to note that this engine provides the E 63 S with 603 horsepower and 627 lb.-ft. of torque -we call this potential. Unlike the E, the C 63 and C 63 S are RWD only. Thankfully, the cars are set up with an AMG electronic limited-slip differential which gets the power via the standard AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G 9-speed automatic transmission.
The BMW route involves the M TwinPower turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-6-cylinder engine. In the “regular” version, the output is rated at 473 horsepower and 406 lb.-ft. of torque from 2,650 to 6,130 rpm. This iteration will be delivered with RWD and a 6-speed manual transmission out of the box – BIG points for BMW here as this is a unique offering in the segment. Alternatively, the Competition model will see its output rise to 503 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft. of torque between 2,750 and 5,500 rpm. This one gets an 8-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission to send power to the rear wheels or all four wheels. Here’s another thumbs up for the M3.
These “compact” sedans are incredibly fast. The 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63 needs 4.1 seconds to reach 100 km/h, while the C 63 S covers the sprint in 4 seconds flat. The 2022 BMW M3 will shoot to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds (with the manual transmission!) and the Competition needs only 3.9 seconds.
To note, BMW’s AWD system, with active M differential, will be rear-wheel biased and feature three selectable drive modes: 4WD, 4WD Sport, and 2WD for absolute hooning capabilities.
Pricing And Availability
We are still a short while away from confirmed pricing for the new BMW M3 however we suspect that the “base” M3 will retail for somewhere between $82,500 and $85,000 Canadian, or nearly the same amount as the current car. The Competition iteration will inevitably reach $90,000, without AWD. With options, such as AWD and ceramic brakes, the new M3 will easily break the $100,000 mark.
The 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63 starts at $76,900, $68,100 in the US. The C 63 S is priced from $84,400 in Canada and $75,700 in the US. Here too, with a handful of selected options, the retail price rises beyond the $100,000 in Canada.
The all-new 2022 BMW M3 (and the M4) is expected to launch next March. The 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63 is available now. An all-new W206 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is currently in the works and is expected to launch in 2021.
Styling Inside And Out
In this portion of the comparison, it’s impossible to overlook what might become BMW’s biggest faux-pas design-wise since the Bangle-era cars. Yes, the highly controversial and much-criticized front oversized kidney grille is real. It’s possible that, without a front number plate, the ridiculous mustache-like sighting will be taken slightly more seriously but even so…
From every other angle, the new BMW M3 looks like a high-powered BMW M car should. That is to say that the flared fenders, various and tasteful aero bits, are all visually purposeful. Onboard, the M3 is all G20 3 Series with an exception or two including the “M1” and “M2” drive buttons, and other M-specific touches.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class was last updated in 2018 with a number of nips and tucks. The current car is still very contemporary and has aged only when compared to its stablemates. The AMG C 63 is flared in all the right ways, from the front nostrils, to the flares and rear bumper. Here too, must visual cues that this is not an AMG-light car are tastefully integrated in the bodywork.
The cabin, exactly like the exterior, has only aged when sliding out of an A-Class. The AMG package involves a number of AMG cues including the steering wheel and the available built-in AMG DRIVE UNIT controls.
Both of these super-sedans are instantly recognizable as top-dog members of the extremely popular 3 Series and C-Class families. The BMW M3 and M4 will stick out by a nose…
Our Thoughts On The 2022 BMW M3 and 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63
Quite frankly, we don’t think that BMW’s front-end design for the M3 will affect sales in any way of form. One of the main reasons is that the M3 is new compared to the older Audi RS 5 and even older C 63. When the new C Class and appropriate AMG version arrive, the grille’s impact may surface again.
Even though we’ve not driven the new M3, there’s an intangible “thing” about it where its brilliant history still draws us in. By the early 1990s and the arrival of the E36 M3, the car had already elevated its standing to Legend and had become an object of desire. Very few lusted after the C 36 AMG in the mid-90s.
But even so, the AMG C 63 S is a catastrophically powerful and visceral car to drive – if you’re bored or depressed and love to drive, find a deserted dry road, and have at it. Your heart rate will rise and you’ll feel better. Also, make sure the windows are down to properly soak in the V8’s unbelievable melody.
The new M3 will undoubtedly be the return of the Ultimate Driving Machine if, in part, due to the return of the manual transmission. Unfortunately, there’s little hope that Mercedes-Benz will follow so if you enjoy being part of the action, the choice is clear.