The Specs

Turbo sixes ver­sus V8

Motor (Australia) - - IN DETAIL -

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.

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