RE: Mercedes-AMG E63 S vs Audi RS6 Performance

RE: Mercedes-AMG E63 S vs Audi RS6 Performance

Saturday 25th November 2017

Mercedes-AMG E63 S vs Audi RS6 Performance

Four tonnes, 1,200hp and more than £200,000 - super estates get really silly, but which is best?



For the past four years, those after the most super of the super estates will have chosen an Audi RS6. They would have probably done that before 2013 too, but at least now the car is decent. The C7 RS6 is the benchmark for good reason, offering peerless quality and style with monumental performance and - perhaps most surprisingly - some dynamic aptitude as well. With the Performance, introduced in 2015, the RS6 took things up to 11. Or rather, 605.

When the photographer says a few seconds apart
When the photographer says a few seconds apart
Why no mention of Mercedes-AMG yet? Well in terms of everyday usability, gigglesome though the old CLS and E-Class were, 585hp and two driven wheels didn't always ensure the smoothest progress. Great if you wanted to lout about, not so suitable for Sunday visits to the in-laws.

Of course AMG now offers fast families the best of both worlds, with an all-wheel drive E-Class wagon that can also play the tyre smoking hooligan if required. In fact the similarities to the RS6 are uncanny, further proof if it was required that the Audi is the car to beat: both have twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8s, both have more than 600hp and both allow the driver almost infinite configuration to deliver their perfect uber wagon. Place your bets...

The day begins in the E63, because Nic really likes an RS6 and isn't someone to upset before 10am. No bother, because the Mercedes is excellent. Better perhaps than the saloon we drove recently, and not simply due to the practicality perks. It might be a placebo, but the ride of this estate - one of the chief bugbears of the saloon - does feel fractionally less punishing. It's still tough, it's still a bit irksome sometimes, yet here it doesn't seem to get in the way as much as before. Could it be the optional ceramic brakes taking a tad off the unsprung weight?

Booty haul
Booty haul
Whatever, above urban speeds it doesn't take long for the E63 to work its magic. Combining fantastic luxury with absurd performance is an AMG tradition that stretches back decades, an obligation the E63 happily (and hilariously) fulfils. The difference here is a dynamic intensity that these big Benzes have previously lacked, a tenacity and coherence that's fairly shocking in all honesty. The more aggressive modes are redundant on the road, yet the devastating speed and precision are clear - the E63 has already set a very high standard even before the RS6 has turned up.

Then the Audi arrives with Nic at the wheel, broad shouldered, angry and intimidating. The RS6 also looks fantastic. There's a level of menace and a presence with the Audi that neither the passage of time nor the Mercedes parked next to it can diminish. Uberholt prestige may have little relevance in the UK, though we can be grateful that it has created such a cool estate.

'Charismatic' is a word that comes up a lot when discussing the big, fast Audi. Not only is that a phrase seldom used to describe a product with four rings on its grille, it's often a euphemistic term applied to cars with lots of power and little else going for them.

Audi corners well; AMG corners better...
Audi corners well; AMG corners better...
Here, it applies in every positive sense, the RS6 delivering on the V8 muscle car thunder potentially even better than the Mercedes, and complementing it with genuine dynamic prowess. It's not the last word in communication, the RS6, though that's arguably of limited relevance with this sort of car; what there is, however, is an accurate, capable and enjoyable fast Audi.

It rides with decent suppleness, controls its weight well and the sport differential makes the big old lump more neutral than you might expect on corner exit. Furthermore, older engine or not, this RS6 is still tremendously rapid. And it sounds better; sounds brilliant, in fact.

That the Mercedes raises the bar yet again is not a criticism of the Audi, more a reflection of where AMG has moved the goalposts to. The red car reveals weaknesses in the blue one you simply hadn't recognised before: a slight mushiness to the throttle response, the tiniest delay in gearshifts, occasional lapses in body control. By any other measure the Audi is great in these areas, and it's only this test that has brought those deficiencies - and even that seems too harsh a term - to light.

There's a distinct Nissan GT-R vibe to the way the E63 drives, and that's meant entirely as a compliment. Even if it does begin with the graunching and grinding of diffs at parking speed. There's that unrelenting and underlying firmness, yes, but also this sense of ceaseless twin-turbocharged speed and unflappable composure. There's traction, control and poise that you wouldn't have believed possible in something this large, and a balance to the 4WD system that enhances rather than detracts from the experience. After that, the Audi starts to feel a tad laboured.

Both great, but there's one clear winner
Both great, but there's one clear winner
The Mercedes has everyday advantages too, the interior more stylish and the engine more efficient. It's not even significantly more expensive either: £4K at list price becomes more with these two particular cars, but with the brakes and the carbon off the AMG they're level. At £98,000, yes, but level all the same...

Comparing a car that's been on sale since 2013 with a brand new one launched this year will always prompt calls of foul play, but when a rival is such a perfect fit the comparison has to be done. That the RS6 still comes out of this test with its credibility intact shows what an accomplished, likeable car it remains; declaring it the loser in this test seems deeply unfair, and even second seems to sell its achievements short.

In the company of this Mercedes though, that's how the result must read. It's an unequivocal victory for the E63, and it was never in much doubt. It's an astoundingly complete car, offering an armoury of talents with which even an RS6 can't meaningfully contend. This is one of the best AMG products ever, the engine tweaks delivering a level of excitement over a C63 and the interior a sense of opulence not that far off an S-Class. Previously that would have been sufficient for a deeply endearing fast Mercedes; that the E63 now also offers a formidably strong dynamic repertoire secures its place as the best super estate around, and confirms AMG is in a richly exciting vain of form.


SPECIFICATION - MERCEDES-AMG E63 S 4MATIC +

Engine: 3,982cc, twin-turbocharged V8
Transmission: 9-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 612@5,750rpm
Torque (lb ft): 627@2,500-4,500rpm
0-62mph: 3.5sec
Top speed: 186mph (limited)
Weight: 2,060kg
MPG: 30.1
CO2: 214g/km
Price: £90,490 (£108,835 as tested comprised of £2,595 for premium package including Keyless-go comfort package, Panoramic glass sunroof, Burmester surround sound and Multibeam LED intelligent light system, £295 for Air-balance package including interior fragrance dispenser, oxygen ionisation and improved filtering system, £6,995 for AMG high performance ceramic composite braking system, £765 for AMG Driver's package including an increase to the electronically limited top speed from 155 to 186mph and driver training from AMG's driving academy, £795 for AMG Night package including AMG body styling, radiator grille and mirror housings finished in high gloss black and privacy glass, £1,000 for AMG performance exhaust, £495 for 20-inch AMG five-twin-spoke alloy wheels in high gloss black, £295 for rear heated seats, £895 for designo hyacinth red metallic paint, £2,995 for AMG carbon fibre trim, £825 for Head-up display and £395 for 360-degree camera)

AUDI RS6 PERFORMANCE

Engine: 3,993cc, V8 turbocharged
Transmission: 8-speed tiptronic, Quattro all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 605@6,100-6,900rpm
Torque (lb ft): 516@1,750-6,000rpm (553@2,500-5,500rpm on overboost)
0-62mph: 3.7sec
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Weight: 1,950kg (EU unladen)
MPG: 29.4 (combined)
CO2: 223g/km
Price: £86,460 (£98,555 as tested comprised of £2,100 for Assistance pack, £750 for Audi hands-free boot opening system with advanced key, £250 for speed limit display, £810 for Parking pack, £6,300 for Bang & Olufsen advanced sound system, £630 for delivery charge including half a tank of fuel and number plates, £1,200 for road fund license and £55 for first registration fee)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

sutts

Original Poster:

465 posts

82 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
Good article thank you. I had a look around these two when you brought them to the last SS meeting and am a huge fan of fast estates (previous B7 RS4 Avant owner).

I would gladly take either of them home but am still slightly biased towards the Audi. One thing I never quite understand about some of the AMG products is the nice big swollen wheel arches up front and nothing at the back - looks very mismatched.

big_rob_sydney

2,114 posts

128 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
Two tonnes and dynamic aptitude, eh? I nearly fell off my chair.

Please, this is like watching two fat people getting ready to clean and jerk. If that's your thing, hey, who am I to judge...

em177

2,885 posts

98 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
I don't see the point in either. But I'm really glad they both exist cool

HardMiles

157 posts

20 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
Up at Beachy Head! Good road that! :-)

givablondabone

2,612 posts

89 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
I understand the benefits of 8/9 speed 'boxes on paper, but really, do we need them? Happy for feedback from any owners.
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Notanotherturbo

297 posts

141 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
Amazing cars both, wait 3 years and you'll be able to buy the pair for £90k :0)

406dogvan

5,271 posts

199 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
For a long time you would see these tests (sometimes with a BMW wagon added when available) and know that the Audi would lose for being less exciting - less of a driver's car.

Thing was - as an ownership proposition the Audi was always the better choice. They were nicer places to sit and you could use them every day of the year, anywhere you liked thanks to 4WD and their less edgy nature.

So I have to conclude that MB steeping-up with 4WD and nicer materials etc. actually moved the game towards Audi rather than away from it!?

The real issue is that these cars are just too-bloody-big and the real interest for drivers wanting some practicality exists in the A4/C bracket anyway (which you can now get dog crates into!!)??? smile

GranCab

1,216 posts

80 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
... "and confirms AMG is in a richly exciting vain of form" ....

Jeez ... go back to skool ....

MrTouring

105 posts

29 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
Love a fast wagon -'still think I'd take the Rs6 as can't quite get the new mercy and even as a pretty good car spotter I can't tell the difference between c and e classes!

And seeing as bmw seem to ignore this niche completely (and at heart I'm a Bayern man) I'll just have to keep my e61 M5


BlackFlag

99 posts

11 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
406dogvan said:
For a long time you would see these tests (sometimes with a BMW wagon added when available) and know that the Audi would lose for being less exciting - less of a driver's car.

Thing was - as an ownership proposition the Audi was always the better choice. They were nicer places to sit and you could use them every day of the year, anywhere you liked thanks to 4WD and their less edgy nature.

So I have to conclude that MB steeping-up with 4WD and nicer materials etc. actually moved the game towards Audi rather than away from it!?

The real issue is that these cars are just too-bloody-big and the real interest for drivers wanting some practicality exists in the A4/C bracket anyway (which you can now get dog crates into!!)??? smile
I think it really only depends on if you get lots of snow. With traction control and stability control, there should be no issues with the alternatives from Merc and BMW. As an ownership proposition, they've all historically been on pretty even footing, IMO.

andrewparker

3,242 posts

121 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
em177 said:
I don't see the point in either. But I'm really glad they both exist cool
Conversely I don’t think many cars make more sense than a fast wagon. Love ‘em.

And the Merc for me please!

Uncool

401 posts

215 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
Article said:
Even if it does begin with the graunching and grinding of diffs at parking speed.
Is this the diffs, or is it the woeful tyre scrubbing issue that's plagued the C43, GLC and E43 (all the other 4-matic Mercs basically)? Merc have tried to mask by offering a different tyre choice, but ultimately have admitted that the RHD conversion has a compromised steering geometry. It's what's kept me away from aiming for a C43.

garythesnail

46 posts

102 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
givablondabone said:
I understand the benefits of 8/9 speed 'boxes on paper, but really, do we need them? Happy for feedback from any owners.
In a different class of car - absolutely not.

We have a Jaguar XF diesel s with the 8 speed auto. It's too busy changing gears to take advantage of the near 400lb.ft. of the V6. Took a test drive in an earlier version and the old 6 speed seemed a far better match for the engine. The mapping for the 8 speed is frustrating for going a bit quickly

Have had a 4 cylinder XF for a day (with the 8 speed) and that made more sense as a match to compensate for the engine's limitations.

In any version of the 8 speed, best forget about manual changes - for me at least, too many to choose from or my little brain.

Initforthemoney

20 posts

78 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
I guessed the outcome without even reading the article.

I guess Audi aren't paying HM enough.

biggrin

Carl_Manchester

4,615 posts

196 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
£630 for delivery charge including half a tank of fuel and number plates.

I am warmly astounded by such generosity from Audi.

givablondabone

2,612 posts

89 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
garythesnail said:
In a different class of car - absolutely not.

We have a Jaguar XF diesel s with the 8 speed auto. It's too busy changing gears to take advantage of the near 400lb.ft. of the V6. Took a test drive in an earlier version and the old 6 speed seemed a far better match for the engine. The mapping for the 8 speed is frustrating for going a bit quickly

Have had a 4 cylinder XF for a day (with the 8 speed) and that made more sense as a match to compensate for the engine's limitations.

In any version of the 8 speed, best forget about manual changes - for me at least, too many to choose from or my little brain.
smile

Gandahar

5,728 posts

62 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
These would be both fun for a weekend or if someone paying the bills, but a diesel version would be just as good for what they do 90% of the time whilst the golden labrador in the back does not turn into a brown labrador due to worry.....

I just mentioned diesel. The UK government has now launched cruise missiles at my house due to me, thicko, thinking that would reduce CO2 whilst giving me a longer range between fill ups. How many stops for petrol will these two bad boys do on a trip from Glasgow to London used as meant to be? 2? 3?

5?

You need a car that can take you trans UK with only one stop for the service station where they have the special half price offer on a Ginsters peppered steak slice. End of story.

Edited by Gandahar on Saturday 25th November 19:04

Gandahar

5,728 posts

62 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
GranCab said:
... "and confirms AMG is in a richly exciting vain of form" ....

Jeez ... go back to skool ....
Actually vain probably is more appropriate here smile Misused to effect. Or is that affect?


samoht

772 posts

80 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all

Nice smile Given how heavy a GTR is, it kinda makes more sense to have a full-blown luxury estate that's only 8/7th the weight.

Way more appealing than any 'performance SUV', too.




HeMightBeBanned

507 posts

112 months

Saturday 25th November 2017
quotequote all
"Which is best?"

Surely you mean "Which is better?".

If there were three cars on test, you could ask "Which is best?". However, there are only two.

Good. Better. Best.

FFS. It's not difficult. Either learn to write English or sack the sub-editor.