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      01-02-2012, 02:18 PM   #1
soberin
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C63 vs. M3--Test Drive

Just got back from driving the 2012 C63 coupe with the performance option package that includes some engine internals from the SLS, huge red calipers, and an amazing matte black paint finish. This package bumps power to 480 hp, and raises top speed.

My main beef with my 2009 E90 M3 has been the lack steering feel and feedback. Some of that has been corrected by modding the car with Dinan Stage III suspension with its camber plates, springs and sway bar. Also installed Dinan rear toe links, front end monoball kit, intake, exhaust and differential. Most importantly, swapped out the PS2s and put on Advan Neovas. So my M3 is far from stock.

Anyway, here's the bottom line. The new C63, which I really wanted to like, is a pig. Yes, there is insane torque and HP. However, there is 3 inches of steering wheel play on center. Totally unacceptable. There is very little feedback or feel through your fingertips. Much less than in the M3. Yes, the suspension is plenty stiff, but the car sways back and forth on fast lane changes, and the suspension is not nearly as supple as the M3 on midcorner bumps. In other words, this car did not feel nearly as safe and secure as the M3. It clearly is more massive in feel, even though it is only a C-class. I can't imagine what an AMG E or S class feels like, if the C63 doesn't feel well balanced.

The 7-speed automatic, is just that, an automatic with paddle-shifters. Since it is not a true automated manual like the DCT or PDK, it just wasn't any fun compared to my 6-MT.

As far as nice noises, the C63 obviously has that insane huge V8 exhaust sound. What you should understand however, is that the noise is all behind the driver. In my opinion, the M3 growl, which changes to an insane snarling at high revs, and comes from in front of the driver, and is much more satisfying.

In summary, I would have to take issue with the recent comparo test in C&D. These cars are not close.

Sticker price for this C63 was 80K.
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      01-02-2012, 02:23 PM   #2
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Thanks for that.
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      01-02-2012, 02:36 PM   #3
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I keep wondering if Merc will ever truly decide to get in the game. Would make it interesting if they did because they have the stuff, they just haven't chose to do it.
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      01-02-2012, 02:49 PM   #4
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everyone approaches what they look for a car differently. I would think the C63 would be an insanely fun DD.
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      01-02-2012, 02:51 PM   #5
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My fathers S class has more steering feel then a c63. (or maybe it's the massage seats that change my mind to make me think that) I've only driven a 2011 c63 and I didn't like it at all either.
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      01-02-2012, 03:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mdosu View Post
everyone approaches what they look for a car differently. I would think the C63 would be an insanely fun DD.
It is a much more fun DD IMO.

I haven't experienced the 3" on centre steering issue either and actually find I get better feedback from the C63 but with less precision. It does feel heavier but the feeling is only slightly more prevalent than on the M3. I also don't agree with the C63 not feeling balanced... as a matter of fact it feels very planted and balanced. Not as balanced as the M3 but not night and day different. Unlike the OP, I would suggest the magazine reviews (all of them) are pretty accurate in that the M3 still has the better feel on the track but the C63 is very close now. The variance the OP is commenting on is quite a bit more than I would have suggested but that is how he saw it. Different than me or most of the magazines who have reviewed it. I wonder how biased/unbiased the OP went into the comparison as his perception is so different than what the pro reviews have said and the experience others (myself included) have had. I guess cars are like that... we each perceive their characteristics in way that has meaning to us and that gives each a character that we like or dislike. Sound, for example, is WAY better in the C63 IMO. The engine sounds great and the exhaust is simply amazing. The only time you ever experience the thrill of the M3 sound wise is >5,000 RPM. The C63 it is all of the time and just gets better the higher it revs. Again, just my take and the OP was clearly different.

In any event, the M3 is the better and more precise car on the track but based on my experience in both (many hours in both on the track), the difference is much more subtle then what the OP suggests. The M3 is better in balance and ability to deal with the track, the C63 is a better car for the street (all IMO obviously).
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      01-02-2012, 03:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soberin View Post
Anyway, here's the bottom line. The new C63, which I really wanted to like, is a pig. Yes, there is insane torque and HP. However, there is 3 inches of steering wheel play on center. Totally unacceptable. There is very little feedback or feel through your fingertips. Much less than in the M3. Yes, the suspension is plenty stiff, but the car sways back and forth on fast lane changes, and the suspension is not nearly as supple as the M3 on midcorner bumps. In other words, this car did not feel nearly as safe and secure as the M3. It clearly is more massive in feel, even though it is only a C-class. I can't imagine what an AMG E or S class feels like, if the C63 doesn't feel well balanced.
Thanks, well stated. That's exactly the difference between an M and an AMG.
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      01-02-2012, 03:23 PM   #8
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Thanks, well stated. That's exactly the difference between an M and an AMG.
Have you had the 2012 C63 on a track?

It would be hard to come to these conclusions from a "test drive" IMO. Spend a day at the track or a week with the cars and I think your opinion will change a bit. They are different, no doubt, but not to the extent the OP states IMO based on lots of time in each... the pros don't agree either.
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      01-02-2012, 03:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soberin View Post
Just got back from driving the 2012 C63 coupe with the performance option package that includes some engine internals from the SLS, huge red calipers, and an amazing matte black paint finish. This package bumps power to 480 hp, and raises top speed.

My main beef with my 2009 E90 M3 has been the lack steering feel and feedback. Some of that has been corrected by modding the car with Dinan Stage III suspension with its camber plates, springs and sway bar. Also installed Dinan rear toe links, front end monoball kit, intake, exhaust and differential. Most importantly, swapped out the PS2s and put on Advan Neovas. So my M3 is far from stock.

Anyway, here's the bottom line. The new C63, which I really wanted to like, is a pig. Yes, there is insane torque and HP. However, there is 3 inches of steering wheel play on center. Totally unacceptable. There is very little feedback or feel through your fingertips. Much less than in the M3. Yes, the suspension is plenty stiff, but the car sways back and forth on fast lane changes, and the suspension is not nearly as supple as the M3 on midcorner bumps. In other words, this car did not feel nearly as safe and secure as the M3. It clearly is more massive in feel, even though it is only a C-class. I can't imagine what an AMG E or S class feels like, if the C63 doesn't feel well balanced.

The 7-speed automatic, is just that, an automatic with paddle-shifters. Since it is not a true automated manual like the DCT or PDK, it just wasn't any fun compared to my 6-MT.

As far as nice noises, the C63 obviously has that insane huge V8 exhaust sound. What you should understand however, is that the noise is all behind the driver. In my opinion, the M3 growl, which changes to an insane snarling at high revs, and comes from in front of the driver, and is much more satisfying.

In summary, I would have to take issue with the recent comparo test in C&D. These cars are not close.

Sticker price for this C63 was 80K.
well the c63 is in the garbage can after that evaluation. M3 is a great car. i worry to think what happens when the turbo appears. i wish they would take the v10 and increase the horsepower another 100 or so and place in the next generation m3 0 to 60 in 3 seconds and nurburgring in 7 30
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      01-02-2012, 04:20 PM   #10
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Part of the reason I'm down on the 2012 C63 is that the steering feel and feedback is no better than the one I drove in 2009. With the revised suspension and all the new AMG engine internals, I was particularly unhappy with the numb steering, despite the reports that it had been improved.

I have no doubt that the C63 is a great DD, however as both of these cars have more power than anyone will really need on your daily commute, I will vote for the vehicle with better cornering, steering feel and without the extra 500 pounds.
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      01-02-2012, 04:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soberin View Post
Part of the reason I'm down on the 2012 C63 is that the steering feel and feedback is no better than the one I drove in 2009. With the revised suspension and all the new AMG engine internals, I was particularly unhappy with the numb steering, despite the reports that it had been improved.

I have no doubt that the C63 is a great DD, however as both of these cars have more power than anyone will really need on your daily commute, I will vote for the vehicle with better cornering, steering feel and without the extra 500 pounds.
Fair enough.

One comment... did the one you drive have the 19" wheels or the 18s? I ask because the steering feel and feedback is much better (in my experience) on the 19". The 18s make the car feel mushy.
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      01-02-2012, 04:27 PM   #12
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Thanks for sharing that with us... Once you have owned and driven an M3, there is no comparison when it comes to driving feel between the two
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      01-02-2012, 04:39 PM   #13
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I'm very satisfied with the weighting of and the feedback provided by my 2011 M3's steering.
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      01-02-2012, 05:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gthal View Post
Fair enough.

One comment... did the one you drive have the 19" wheels or the 18s? I ask because the steering feel and feedback is much better (in my experience) on the 19". The 18s make the car feel mushy.
These were 235/35 19 in front and 255/35 19 in rear, on Yokohama Advan Sports.
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      01-02-2012, 06:17 PM   #15
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I spent three years in a 2009 C63 and I found the steering to be excellent with great feedback. The steering on the C63 has been one area with consistent praise from professional reviewers.
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      01-02-2012, 07:27 PM   #16
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I spent three years in a 2009 C63 and I found the steering to be excellent with great feedback. The steering on the C63 has been one area with consistent praise from professional reviewers.
And that's exactly my point. I'm here to tell you that the 2012 C63 coupe I drove today had three inches of play in the steering wheel on-center, and not much feedback, just like the C63 I drove two years ago. I know what the reviews say; that's why I made the post.
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      01-02-2012, 07:58 PM   #17
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^ those tires sizes are a joke, looks totally retarded too.
Amen. You will routinely roast those tires on a daily basis when pulling out into traffic. It actually gets old pretty fast. Replacing those tires at 6-7K miles also gets very old.
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      01-02-2012, 08:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Just got back from driving the 2012 C63 coupe with the performance option package that includes some engine internals from the SLS, huge red calipers, and an amazing matte black paint finish. This package bumps power to 480 hp, and raises top speed.

My main beef with my 2009 E90 M3 has been the lack steering feel and feedback. Some of that has been corrected by modding the car with Dinan Stage III suspension with its camber plates, springs and sway bar. Also installed Dinan rear toe links, front end monoball kit, intake, exhaust and differential. Most importantly, swapped out the PS2s and put on Advan Neovas. So my M3 is far from stock.

Anyway, here's the bottom line. The new C63, which I really wanted to like, is a pig. Yes, there is insane torque and HP. However, there is 3 inches of steering wheel play on center. Totally unacceptable. There is very little feedback or feel through your fingertips. Much less than in the M3. Yes, the suspension is plenty stiff, but the car sways back and forth on fast lane changes, and the suspension is not nearly as supple as the M3 on midcorner bumps. In other words, this car did not feel nearly as safe and secure as the M3. It clearly is more massive in feel, even though it is only a C-class. I can't imagine what an AMG E or S class feels like, if the C63 doesn't feel well balanced.

The 7-speed automatic, is just that, an automatic with paddle-shifters. Since it is not a true automated manual like the DCT or PDK, it just wasn't any fun compared to my 6-MT.

As far as nice noises, the C63 obviously has that insane huge V8 exhaust sound. What you should understand however, is that the noise is all behind the driver. In my opinion, the M3 growl, which changes to an insane snarling at high revs, and comes from in front of the driver, and is much more satisfying.

In summary, I would have to take issue with the recent comparo test in C&D. These cars are not close.

Sticker price for this C63 was 80K.
Not worth commenting on! too biased lol.
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      01-02-2012, 08:18 PM   #19
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Not worth commenting on! too biased lol.



op is a bmw dickrider. what else is new on this site..
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      01-02-2012, 08:24 PM   #20
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Not worth commenting on! too biased lol.
We are on M3Post you know

I would be surprised if comparisons to ANY other car aren't biased. It's hard not to be biased when you own a car as wonderful as an M3 and I know this. I likely would have been biased also if I had only test drove a C63 coupe. It wasn't until I spent time on a track and actually drove the car over an extended period of time before I thought I could give an unbiased review. I was convinced when I first took the C63 that I was NOT going to be happy with it compared to my 2 M3s. Well, luckily, I am very happy and believe I am also fairly unbiased (as much as anyone could be) given I have owned and LOVE both cars. I can tell you, there is not a significant difference between the two on an overall basis. They feel different and may appeal to different people but they are overall similarly performing cars... each with its own strengths and weaknesses. C&D really did get it right... a 1 point win (a.k.a. essentially a tie) for the M3. I would bet that if the test was on the street and not track oriented, the result would have been a win for the C63.
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      01-02-2012, 09:44 PM   #21
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op is a bmw dickrider. what else is new on this site..
What's so biased about his review? He stated that he wanted to like the c63 but was disappointed overall. The car is 400 pounds heavier and is not as sharp and nimble as the m3, which is true. I don't see any bias in his post. I for one like the c63 a lot but I prefer the driving characteristics of the m3.
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      01-02-2012, 10:04 PM   #22
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Driven both...

IMHO opinion C63 is a much better DD. Much more TQ and way more comfortable albeit the gas mileage is a joke for a DD.

BMW M3 out handles the C63 in every way and on a track will mow it down. Much easier to drive at its limits as well.
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