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Prizefight: Mercedes C63 vs. BMW M3

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Prizefight: Mercedes C63 vs. BMW M3

6:06 /

German pocket rockets battle to the death!

[ Music ] ^M00:00:07 >> They're the oxymoron's of the German auto world, low-end cars with monster motors, track suspensions, and hi-tech gear boxes and the dealers can't keep either in the showroom, but which is best, let's find out now in a CNET Prizefight, BMW M3 versus Mercedes C63. First, a caveat the M3 we had on-hand for this test was a retractable while our C63, of course, is a fixed-roof sedan. We know that's sort of apples and oranges but we're gonna factor that in in our ratings, now let's go. Round 1, design; the M3 has a bulging hood that doesn't exactly scream slippery but sure does say power but you might want to choose your color carefully the wrong one seems to make this car look a little too fast and furious. The AMG C63 has the lines of a horned beast much less smooth than the M3, sharp angles and lines abound; this hood has 2 slender power bulges that form less of a proboscis [sound effect] then on the M3's hood but the massive front grill and AMG adornments look a little tacked on. However, the result [sound effect] the C63 squeaks by here 4 to 3 for the Mercedes. On to round 2, performance; the M3's 4 liter V8 puts out 414 horsepower and 295 foot pounds of torque, mileage is rated at 13/19, if you care, BMW's DCT Gear Box is a huge improvement over their previous automated manual, the SMG clunk box but it's still isn't as smooth as a true automatic in everyday driving. The Mercedes has a much larger 6 point 2 liter V8 that puts out a substantially higher 451 horsepower and a dramatically higher 443 foot pounds of torque, yet MPG is almost the same at 12/19. The Mercedes' power goes out through an automatic but an amazing one, 8 speeds and it shifts better and tighter than 90% of this car's owners, handling seems not quite as sharp as the M car but the C63's exhaust note will delight you. Result, it's a draw here, 5 points each so now it's BMW 8, Mercedes 9. Now, round 3, cabin tech this is our specialty, BMW has iDrive and that spoils everything around it. The audio system is good not stellar, live traffic is nice, Bluetooth and iPod integration are well done and all of this comes on a gorgeous wide screen way down by iDrive. Mercedes audio rig really stood out for sound quality and its hard drive based head unit is state of the art it lets you load up on music and leave the iPod at home plus the hard drive helps the overall system respond quickly to your inputs. There's a multi-connector in the dash for all kinds of portables, on the other hand, the Mercedes has no live traffic. Result, this one's close but the Mercedes noses out 4 to 3, now it's BMW 11, Mercedes 13, on to round 4, interface. Did I mention BMW has iDrive, look, we've tried to warm up to iDrive for years and it's not gonna happen, fortunately, iDrive is about to be totally revamped, unfortunately, not in time for our M3. The screen is wide and gorgeous as I mentioned but did I mention it has iDrive. Mercedes' latest command system is a gem clear and beautifully rendered, easy to work through, though the screen is not wide and some of the menus require a little busy work to get around them. The helper LCD in the center of the gauges does a nice job helping the main screen convey information. Result, neither of these cars has the high water mark for cabin tech but that isn't really their game, so the Mercedes noses up the BMW again but with low scores on both, 3 to 2. Getting a little lopsided now BMW 13, Mercedes 16 overall, let's see if our M3 can accelerate ahead in the last round, value. Yeah, even these cars should be a value no matter how fast you get there you'll look stupid if you paid too much. Now, let's talk apples to apples, we'll compare the M3 Sedan, which has a lower base price than our C63 Sedan but you have to pony up for adaptive suspension on the BMW to really get them generally equal. On top of that, stack up the tech toys more or less equally and you're paying thousands more for an M3, most of that we consider a cache tax. Both these cars get hit with a gas guzzler tax as well, in the end we found the C63 a significantly better overall value if not quite as purebred a trek car so, give it to Mercedes 4 to 3. So, our final score the C63 takes it 20 points to the M3's 16. I'm Brian Cooley thanks for joining us for this Prizefight and check out our other Prizefight pitting the Audi R8 against the Porsche Carrera 4S, some good fun there. And we have 100's of other car tech videos at CNETTV.com. >> So Cooley, you are doing the Prizefight, you told me you would, you know. >> Brian: Do your thing baby. ^M00:05:59 [ Sound effects ]

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