SUPER SEDANS: Alfa Romeo Giulia QV vs Mercedes-AMG C 63 S vs BMW M3

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The newest entry into the super sedans arena, the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV fights the BMW M3 Competition and the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S in the first-ever comparison test, courtesy of Auto motor und sport. But to win, the Italian has to offer a bit more than just a fast lap on the Green Hell.

Is the new Giulia the best Alfa ever? Strong points supporting this theorem come in the form of a mid-class sedan, under whose hood in the QV version beats a V6-Biturbo engine with Ferrari genes.

But it all comes down to the dynamics. The Mercedes-AMG is rocking too much, the BMW could be an idea more direct. And the Alfa? Hops straight into the bend, sucks up its course, then goes into the next bend blindingly. The fact that Alfa has trimmed the front axle of the Giulia of unconditional inputs has done wonders. BMW and Mercedes-AMG do not do this, but they also remain a small (M3) and larger idea (C 63 S) behind the greed of the Alfa – whose steering does not fade out of the everyday comfort, but also acts pleasantly direct.

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Only the straight run suffers under the chassis design. Of course, this also includes a rear axle, which has to juggle lonely with the power of  510 hp/600 Nm. As with the competitors, an electronically controlled, fully variable locking differential is present.

However, if you are looking at the classic, unplayed round instruments, you hit the braking points and you will notice that the music plays in the front. Turning into the curves, ​​however, you are crouching in the wonderfully deeply positioned, tightly padded, well-formed (and yes) expensive sports seats, enjoying the small three-spoke steering wheel.

Even more, because even before you can curse properly, because you can not find the individual mode, as the Mercedes-AMG and (through individually selectable settings) the BMW also offers, or the button for the stability program, you notice: If you do not find something in infotainment or onboard computer, it is not the operation. But it is simply not there (thus also no individual mode). The menu structure and the handling of the rotary push-button are catchy, well, the Navi graphics is weak, but otherwise everything is great. Only the list of available safety and comfort assistance systems is shorter than most of the Mercedes and BMW.

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The fact that the characteristic for the engine, steering, exhaust and whatever can not be varied individually (for the damper, by the way), positions him within the trio as a no-BS car. Just how is it to be seen that the maximum top speed of 307 km / h is achieved in the race mode of the so-called D.N.A system with deactivated ESP? Madness? Trust entrusted to the buyer? According to the manufacturer, the QV should also run free in the more moderate dynamic mode, but the test car topped at 260 km / h.

On the motorway: In the C 63 S you are amazed that it is not able to cope with the permanent stimuli caused by the wavy surfacing, but in the M3 on the other hand you can handle it better despite 20-inch wheels. And in Giulia? Moreover, it is in no way inferior to the M3. On the other hand, this is also the case on moderate country roads, or the bad roads of the Bosch test site in Boxberg.

Alfa cannot follow on the slopes
Yes, Alfa Romeo succeeds in a really harmonious chassis adjustment, the almost perfect mixture of agility and suspension comfort. Why almost? Because the QV in slow corners strongly under-steered. On the slopes – without Tempo limits – the Alfa has to let the Mercedes and BMW take the lead.

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The M3, which has been modified with the Competition package, which also includes modified dampers, is less turbulent, but remains neutral for a long time before leaving the boundary area via the rear axle. In the case of a double lane change, however, the latter is somewhat more abrupt than the other two sedans. Why does the BMW not really show the 450 HP – lowest engine power here? Because at under 1.624 kg, it trumps the Alfa by 48 kg and the Mercedes by 142 kg. The fact that the C-Class still delivers a faster lap time than the Giulia is mainly due to its powerful engine with a maximum torque of 700 Newtonmeters. After all, it is a V8. One of the last of its kind in this segment.

This small four-liter monster pushes the heavy limousine brachially forward with dirty, snody bollards, thus balancing its weight reduction in the acceleration disciplines. In 4.1 seconds from zero to 100, in 12.9 seconds to 200 km / h. Thunder wedge. In addition, the engine power can be specifically used to bring the C-Class out of the down-hill, where it sometimes loses itself.

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The Alfa drive train can not convince
The Mercedes lives for its engine and must be loved for this. It also celebrates the grand appearance with the high-quality, stylized interior, obviously reflecting the equivalent of its high price. The Alfa offers in contrast a somewhat more abrupt driving behavior – despite of moderate suspension comfort. By the way, this is even more moderate when the shock absorbers work in sports. What else costs him? Some little things like the least satisfying seat comfort on the rear bench and the seven-speed automatic gearbox not particularly working as fast against the M3 double clutch unit. The maximum program of available wizards again flushes many points into the account, flushes it in the final bill to the second place.

Whether the Alfa Romeo has to be branded as a less convincing offer because of its less caring security equipment and the lack of up-to-date infotainment? Well, the competition leaves its customers the choice, which must be taken into account. Especially since the test car with a price of 90,800 euros costs less than the M3 and C 63 S, but buyers who want to invest this sum, perhaps should expect something more. What is certain, however, is that you expect a better transmission. Even if it is a glorious old-school six-speed gearbox, the gear lever with the beaded knob slacks along the long lanes imprecisely through the six alleyways of the box, which has been translated too long and whose operability continued to decrease during the test period. Compassion for the 2.9-liter Biturbo-V6 that revs happily to 6,500 revolutions, at which it develops its maximum performance.

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On the other hand, the BMW’s long-stroking, straight-ahead six-cylinder goes up to 7,000 rpm. It blows fervently metallic, a sound that pops out from the low bass octave for octave. Because the economical (11.1 l / 100 km) Alfa engine surely holds the vocal title against it, right? Yes, although expected. While the BMW and Mercedes-AMG are pulling the bedspreads from their neighbors at the cold start, the Giulia is still holding back, snapping briefly, then closing the flaps in the exhaust system. From 3.500 / min however: trombones. First strong. Then choral. Great. But only in Dynamic mode. If you want an Italian orchestra, you have to switch to Race. As I said: then the ESP remains out. No Bullshit.

The Alfa is great, but not the best
The orchestra also accompanies the Alfa Romeo in the acceleration measurements, where it just misses the factory data, but is fantastically good – and reaches the level of the BMW in the driving dynamics, which exceeds the AMG even. Since these values ​​are determined with the ESP activated, its conservative interpretation is impaired. M3 and C63 S are given larger float angles. They finally point the Giulia to third place. So again a tough test for the immeasurable love of Alfa Romeo fans? No. For decades, a new model is not just the best of the brand, but also a great car.

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Bottom line
1. BMW M3 Competition
Whether on the road, the handling route or simply in everyday life: anyone who does not laugh at the wheel of the M3 does not need a therapy – everyone else has an impressively filled bank account.

2. Mercedes-AMG C 63 S
If the Torque monster under the hood of the C 63 S does not let go, you are probably not a petrol head. All others want a more precise handling and more comfort.

3. Alfa Romeo Giulia QV
Great ergonomics, a wonderfully balanced chassis, low price – who long sought for an alfa for objective reasons of purchase, he now finds. And must live with detail weaknesses.