The German ‘Big Three’ manufacturers are in a veritable arms race when it comes to both their range of models and their sporting offshoots. Not content with handing over the C-Class and 4-Series coupes to their high-performance divisions and marketing these under the C63 and M4 names, they’ve also created more exclusive editions.
Enter the C63 Edition 1 launch trim, and the M4 Competition Pack. The former is inspired by Mercedes’ entry into the DTM touring car championship, with wheels, decals, a gloss black body kit and – like any sports car – wheels that are larger at the rear for sharper handling. Both models rely on rear-wheel drive to generate impressive handling characteristics.
The M4’s Competition Pack brings not only styling updates, but changes under the skin, too. It’s the first model to wear the M4 badge, with BMW’s legendary M3 badge now reserved exclusively for its most sporting junior exec saloon. The Competition Pack is the spiritual descendent of the CSL specification, and adds revised suspension, a retuned differential and Dynamic Stability Control, and a new sports exhaust.
Under the bonnet
The previous C63’s naturally-aspirated, 6.2-litre block has been canned in favour of a 4.0-litre V8 with twin-turbochargers for the latest model. While smaller than before, the engine is every bit as powerful, boasting 469bhp and blasting to 60mph in just 4 seconds, then on to an electronically-limited 155mph.
The same limit applies to the M4 Competition Pack, which makes do with a six-cylinder 3.0-litre twin turbo. On paper it loses out to the C63, which wins the battle for both torque and horsepower.
On the road, though, the difference is barely noticeable, taking only a tenth of a second more to reach the same 60mph benchmark. How? Weight. The M4 weighs in at just 1,422kg, compared to the C63’s relatively hefty 1,785kg. The extra weight is explained by the panoramic sunroof (vs. the M4’s carbon-fibre roof panel).
In the cabin
The C63 is the slinkier and arguably prettier car, but we know a lot of this is down to personal tastes. While appearing more lithe, it does not sacrifice space or practicality – it’s got more than enough space for four adults, and their luggage with 450 litres of boot space. That’s larger than you could find in the equivalent saloon.
The M4 is also a surprisingly practical car, with a practically-identical, 445-litre boot. Behind the wheel, the M4 is almost indistinguishable from the standard 4-Series, albeit with plush front sport seats that hold you securely in place as you fly through corners.
The luxurious front cabin of both models offers plenty of space and is packed with technology, including sat-nav, the latest infotainment systems and electrically-operated seats, which are diamond-stitched in the C63.See more from our Head 2 Head Series