BMW M4 CS Audi RS5 Mercedes AMG E63 S

CAR (UK) - - Sports Car Giant Test -

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

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