the M3/M4 launch
on Saturday was delayed for several hours meaning I didn’t get home until 3am; hearts bleed for me across PH I’m sure. Anyway, this gave me plenty of time for reflection about how I’d feel about the C63 waiting for me in the Gatwick multi storey at the other end of the journey.
For once Dan's mind not focused on the C63...
a C63 fanboy
I was a bit concerned. It was pretty obvious the new M3 (look, can we just get on with using this as the generic term for both cars? It’d save a lot bother…) has left it looking pretty much prehistoric. Which is fine; the AMG is an old stager and we’ll see its successor later in the year. And the foundations for one helluva twin test against a resurgent M. Looking forward to that one already!
But yes, having very much enjoyed the new M3 on road and on track I was preparing to eat a few of my own words about the abilities of ‘my’ C63 in comparison. But then M3s have always been quite heavy on the gadgets and gizmos, from the multiple-modes on the SMG gearbox and Variable M Differential introduced on the E46 to the configurable gearbox/throttle/DSC/gearbox settings and ‘hot key’ favourites M button on the E92.
Yeah, tech-laden cars are so remote and boring...
the new M3
is in the calibration. No one element exists to dominate in isolation; it’s just a collection of very thoroughly engineered components – both mechanical and electronic – working in perfect harmony to put a fat grin on your face. And bolster Michelin’s share price, given the enthusiasm it shows for vapourising the fancy Pilot Super Sports painstakingly optimised for the car.
Though it achieves similar ends the old C63 couldn’t be more different, at least on paper. Sodding great normally aspirated V8. Mechanical locking diff. Passive dampers. Hydraulic steering with a nice, predictable linear rack. The M3 is a single generation on in comparison to the outgoing C63 but with the pace of development it reads like they’re from different ages entirely. And I was a little afraid the Merc would feel like a bit of a relic.
Next C63 in final development stages
I needn’t have worried. The crackle of revs echoing around the car park as the V8 flared into life didn’t need any help from the stereo for starters. And within a few hundred yards all was well in my world, the confidence and transparency from the C63’s more analogue controls a fascinating contrast to what I’d just experienced in the M3. Can these more traditional values survive in the turbocharged rival currently undergoing final shakedown at Affalterbach ahead of an unveiling this autumn? I hope so. BMW has done a hell of a job with the tech. But this philosophical difference is what keeps rivalries like this so interesting. Exciting times!