British magazine Car conducted a comparative test between the new BMW M3 Competition and its main rivals Mercedes-AMG C 63 S, Audi RS4 Avant and Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio. And the winner is …
Photo: Car magazine
The M3 feels solid as a rock with exceptional rigidity. British journalists considers that the Comfort mode of the suspension is ideal for UK roads and that the M3 is an ideal car for everyday driving. And with its ubiquitous torque, the turbo engine mimics a high-displacement diesel.
The new M3 is more progressive in reaction while the turbo engine develops maximum power at 7200 rpm and its sound has more treble than its predecessor.
The M3 xDrive version will be quicker but the rear wheel drive M3 version with the new 10-stage traction control system works so well. You have to think twice if it deserves to add weight and price supplement for the xDrive version.
Mercedes-AMG C 63 S
Although the interior is still smart, it shows its age, the C 63 being the oldest model in the test. Mercedes has already unveiled the new C-Class that comes with a completely new multimedia system and the successor to the C 63 will have a plug-in hybrid propulsion system with a 4-cylinder turbo engine. So, the bi-turbo V8 in the current C63 S sings its swan song.
The bi-turbo V8 engine doesn’t have the furious reaction from the M3, but it responds incisively when you press the throttle and the turbo lag is barely noticeable. The 9-speed automatic transmission mounted on the 2018 facelift is fast but not exactly like a double-clutch one, but the 8-speed automatic transmission from the BMW M3 also does not have the punch of a dual-clutch transmission.
Like the M3, the C 63 S has very good structural rigidity but is slightly more comfortable than the M3.
The C 63 is very neutral and, even with provocation, the C 63 feels like a rear-wheel drive car but refuses to skid with the rear. This happens in Advanced mode of AMG Dynamics. But there are also Pro and Master modes. And if you select Master you can do drifts, but even in this mode C 63 remains very competent.
And the fixed-ratio steering offers a more natural feeling than the variable ratio steering from the BMW M3.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
After the facelift, Alfa Romeo came up with major improvements in terms of assistance systems and multimedia system. The interior reminds us of Ferrari with long paddles behind the steering wheel and the start button on the steering wheel. But the quality of the interior is not at the level of German rivals even now after the facelift.
It doesn’t have the low-down punch of the M3 or C 63 but it offers plenty of fun and no other engine in the test sounds more exotic and quite so excited.
In addition, the Alfa is the lightest and has the best power/weight ratio. It doesn’t feel as solid as the M3 or C 63 and the driving modes don’t offer the best compromise. In the comfort setting, the body control is too loose for the super quick steering and in Dynamic mode the throttle is too responsive. Only in Race mode you can disable the ESP. If you do that the rear diff allows you to make drifts but it is quite indecisive during a slide with power pogoing between the rear wheels almost like an open differential.
The italian sport sedan has some weak points but is still a superb car.
Audi RS4 Avant
The RS4 was updated a year ago and received the wider RS6 grille and LED Matrix headlights. But it kept the 3-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that develops only 450 HP, about 10% less than rivals. But although it comes with all-wheel drive and estate body, it is only slightly heavier than the M3. Even with the optional sport exhaust sound system does not turn quiet mornings into parties but the engine has a good response, a wide range of use and gear changes are fast but we miss the former V8 and the dual-clutch gearbox.
Audi says 85% of the torque goes to the rear axle but when driving it feels a little inert while all-wheel drive leads to a lack of excitement and power deficit to the other. On the Dynamic mode, it offers a more engaging sensation and the front end feels more positive.
The interior is very pleasant but BMW comes with better state-of-the-art technology, the gear changes are sometimes unrefined and the ride quality does not reach the level of rivals. We must mention, however, that the test model did not have the optional adaptive suspension.
The final ranking puts the BMW M3 in first place, followed by the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and the Audi RS4 Avant. Colleagues from Car magazine consider that Mercedes and BMW are very close, both models being exciting and feelome to drive. It was a surprise the strong opposition of the C 63 S given that it is the oldest model in the test. BMW M3 offers marginally the more enthralling drive and the chassis creates new standards in grip and poise but is at the same time remain very fun to drive.