Turbo sixes versus V8
You could make a convincing case for any of these three, but it’s the Alfa and the Mercedes that stand tall, albeit for different reasons
but its gearbox’s occasional propensity to have you kangaroo-ing down the road is less so.
It’s not often the quickest and cheapest car in a MOTOR comparison comes last, but while the M3 Competition is a potent animal, its ultimate performance is still too difficult to extract for anyone other than a professional racing driver for it to challenge the top spot. It’s a thrilling challenge, but too often driving it quickly feels like survival rather than enjoyment. The caveat to this is that the recently announced $129,900 M3 Pure may have won this comparison simply by virtue of being the performance bargain of the century.
As it is, however, it’s a straight fight between the established star (C63) and the new kid on the block (Giulia) and, frustratingly, it’s impossible to split them. Following weeks of deliberation and dozens of changes of heart, the only fair conclusion is that the Alfa and AMG have such divergent strengths and weaknesses that it’s going to be the personal preferences of the individual buyer that decides a winner.
The C63 needs a softer suspension mode, smoother gearbox and wider rubber, yet it only takes one fullthrottle hit of that 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 for you to forgive all its ills. Its noise and power are constant reminders of where your money went and give it a character the Giulia QV can’t match.
Conversely, the Alfa is in many ways the new benchmark sports sedan, capable of providing undemanding everyday transport yet incredible, easily accessible driving thrills. However, its engine isn’t as special as the AMG’s and while its control inconsistencies, particularly the brakes, only show up in specific circumstances, that they’re there at all is tough to forgive. Power vs finesse, take your pick.