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Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance vs BMW M3 Competition vs Audi RS5: spec battle!


Three luxury rocket ships go head to head on the spec sheet in the latest Chasing Cars spec battle

Mercedes-AMG stunned the automotive media landscape when it announced that its next C63 – an iconic model in its performance lineup – would ditch four of its cylinders and add turbo-hybrid power for its W206 generation in 2024.

But despite now running with just half its cylinder count, Mercedes-AMG has still managed to make its fast sedan more powerful than ever.

To compare performance, powertrains, standard equipment and price, we’ve pitted the new C63 against the Bavarian G80 BMW M3 sedan and, from Affalterbach, the Audi RS5 Sportback

The new Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance is soon to launch in Australia

A full review of the new C63 soon to Chasing Cars, but for now let’s compare this holy trinity of German performance cars, spec for spec.

How much do these fast luxury cars cost?

Starting with the Mercedes-AMG C63, pricing has been confirmed for Australia with the sole hybrid-turbo sedan costing $187,900 before on-road costs. Interestingly, a five-door wagon is available in other markets, but not here in Australia. 

The BMW M3, meanwhile, in base manual guise starts from $161,300 before on-road costs, or as much as $177,800 before on-road costs for the xDrive Competition variant. If you’re after an even purer driving experience, the M3 CS flagship will cost keen buyers $249,900 before on-road costs. 

2023 BMW M3 Competition xDrive sedan rear 3/4 static
The current BMW M3 Competition xDrive sedan

Audi’s RS5 is available in coupe and sportback body styles locally and starts from $169,100 before on-road costs, making it the cheapest of the three models before on-road costs. 

Powertrains compared 

We’ll start this section with arguably the most mechanically-complicated car in this spec battle, the Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance. 

On the combustion side of things, the C63 S E Performance is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine – the same engine used in the A45 S hatch – that produces 350kW of power and 545Nm of torque alone. This makes the 2.0-litre unit the most powerful production four-cylinder engine in the world. 

Audi’s RS5 Sportback shares its drivetrain with the RS4 Avant

To add to that, a plug-in hybrid system has been mated to the combustion engine which provides an additional 150kW/320Nm via an electric motor mounted on the rear axle. 

Total outputs for the C63 are 500kW/1020Nm. Crazy, right? This makes the rapid luxury sedan capable of sprinting to 100km/h in a claimed 3.4 seconds. 

Next is the G80 BMW M3. To compare most suitably to the C63 S E Performance, we’ll take a look at the Competition xDrive spec which is powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six engine that produces 375kW/650Nm

BMW M3 Competition xDrive 2022 side
BMW’s M3 uses twin-turbocharged straight-six power

Unlike the Mercedes-AMG, the BMW goes without the use of hybrid assistance. BMW has mated the M3’s straight-six engine with a eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission that powers all four wheels.

BMW claims that the all-wheel drive BMW M3 Competition is capable of sprinting to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds, which is not far off what the Mercedes C63 claims. 

Rounding out the pack is the Audi RS5 that, much like the M3, does not use any form of hybrid assistance (yet). Onboard the fast Audi is a 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine that produces 331kW/600Nm and puts that power and torque to the road via Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system and an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission. 

Gone is the V8 engine, having been replaced by a turbo four-cylinder hybrid

Audi claims a slower-than-rivals 4.1 second 0-100km/h time. Still nothing to shake your head at. 

But then there’s the weight predicament…

The Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance may have the most power and torque of this match up, but it also has a weight problem. Mercedes claims that the new C63’s kerb weight is 2165kg, making it heavier than the current, three-row Toyota Kluger hybrid

In comparison, the BMW M3 in Competition spec weighs 1775kg kerb, while the Audi RS5 in Sportback guise weighs in at 1795kg. 

Mercedes-AMG C63S 2023 engine
The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine from the new Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance

That 390kg difference between the AMG and the M3 means that, in the real world, the two may be more evenly matched, however greater weight could lead to the C63 being more punishing on its braking system over time.

We’ll just have to see for ourselves when we drive the C63 in the flesh very soon. 

What do you get for your money?

The AMG C63 S E Performance will debut in Australia in a single high-spec variant, but will include features such as:

  • Panoramic sliding sunroof
  • Head-up display with AMG-specific graphical elements
  • Burmester 3D surround sound system
  • Heated and powered front seats
  • Ambient lighting
  • Smartphone integration
  • Wireless charging for compatible mobile devices
  • MBUX augmented reality for navigation
  • AMG Track Pace package
  • Automated cruise control
  • Active lane-keep assist
  • Traffic sign assist
  • Parking package including 360-degree camera
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Digital headlights
  • Adaptive high beam assist 
A look at the interior of the Mercedes-AMG C63

On the BMW M3 Competition, standard features include:

  • Staggered 19-inch/20-inch alloy wheels
  • 10.25-inch centre touchscreen
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster 
  • 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system
  • Head-up display 
  • Wireless phone charging 
  • M Sport Merino leather seats
  • Adaptive suspension
  • Exhaust sound level control
BMW M3 Competition G80 tan interior 2021
A very vibrant interior colour choice for the BMW M3

Lastly, the Audi RS5 will is sold as standard with:

  • 20-inch alloy wheels
  • 10.1-inch touchscreen
  • 12.3-inch virtual cockpit
  • 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility 
  • Four USB ports
  • Three-zone climate control
  • RS sports seats finished in Nappa leather 
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • RS sport suspension 
  • Quattro sport differential
  • RS sport exhaust system
  • Dynamic ride control 

All up, the three luxury sports cars are very similar on spec and well-specced at that, but they should be at this luxury price point. The AMG offers a lot in terms of value, but has a higher sticker price that buyers should be aware of. 

Spec-to-spec conclusion

Audi also sells its RS5 as a two door coupe

The new Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance might be the newest and most powerful luxury sports saloon in this comparison, but the current BMW M3 Competition xDrive offers plenty of the same performance for around $10,000 less. 

The Audi RS5 provides plenty of performance (and even greater practicality if you go for the mechanically-identical RS4 Avant), but on paper, the BMW still seems the pick of the lot – as long as you’re a fan of the big grille styling!

We can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the new C63 S E Performance

The launch of the new C63 is scheduled for February 2024, so look forward to a real-world review of the fast hybrid sedan in the coming weeks.

If you want to read more about these three rocket ships, check out the links to our previous reviews below: