BMW M4 CS Audi RS5 Mercedes AMG E63 S
SPORTS CARS? Not in the traditional sense, but Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have always been keener on ridiculously talented coupes and saloons than purebred sportsters in the classical, British mould. There’s little evidence here of low kerbweights, mechanical simplicity or flyweight delicacy, and instead an exhilarating – and arguably unforgivingly impure – focus on broad-rubber grip, boosted shove and furious, scarcely credible performance.
BMW’s M4 has quietly evolved from a curiously unfinished and unsatisfying product into an altogether more cohesive super coupe. Last year’s GTS doubled the price, ladled on the special bits – awesomely expensive and capable dampers, a gold rollcage, a steering wheel with shift lights in its rim – and the power failed to shine, not least because the rear axle still sent an outof-office every time you tried to use the throttle. ‘The M4 is too soft, the GTS too wild. An M4 GT sounds perfect,’ said Gavin Green during last year’s Sports Car Giant Test. Prophetic words, though BMW calls the happy medium CS, not GT. Whatever, we’re just happy it’s here.
Audi’s new RS5 is a more complex car, mechanically and philosophically, blending a tireless twin-turbo V6 with a very clever and now rear-biased all-wheel drive system to deliver an all-weather, everyday super coupe that really does sparkle when you’re being silly. Previous RSs have majored on the former, with little trace of the latter. If the RS5 can win a Sports Car Giant Test, Stephan Winkelmann’s time at the top of Audi Sport really will have been well spent.
AMG perhaps has cause to be more confident. Its engines are spectacular, and the E63 S fuses all of that V8 speed and charm with a drivetrain that grips when you’re trying to get home and slips when you’re trying to remember why you love driving fast cars. Earlier in the year it saw off Porsche’s awesome Panamera. But a 720S? Upsets would come no bigger. And yet…4
The AMG grips when you’re trying to get home and slips when you’re trying to remember why you love fast cars
Rear-drive BMW leads all-wheeldrive RS5 and bit-of-both AMG E63