Top Gear’s Speed Week features some of the most incredible performance cars on the road, from all different makes, all different styles and all different levels of performance. Slowly but surely, Top Gear will find a winner by putting the cars up against each other and seeing which is better, and eliminating cars one by one. While it’s not the easiest task to compare two very different cars, it does show off their different strengths and weaknesses, as performance cars. The latest three-way match-up consists of the Audi RS3 Sedan, BMW M4 CS and Mercedes-AMG E63 S.
These cars are all extremely different. The Audi has a five-cylinder engine, the BMW a six-cylinder engine and the AMG an eight-cylinder engine. Both the Audi and AMG are all-wheel drive, though the AMG can become rear-wheel drive, and the BMW is permanently rear-drive. The only real similarities between them is that they’re all very, very fast. So which one is best? TG found out.
First up was the Audi RS3 Sedan, which was beneficial for it, considering the first laps were done in the rain. In wet conditions, the RS3 absolutely shines, becoming a serious hooligan. Its tenacious all-wheel drive grip, 400 hp 2.5 liter turbo-five and rapid-fire dual-clutch gearbox make it a wild ride in the rain. TG even claims that, in the wet, the RS3 could be the fastest car of all the cars at Speed Week. It’s extraordinary.
While the rain is complimentary to the RS3, it ends up hurting the Bimmer. The M4 CS is the brand’s best M4, with some lightweight bits pulled from the mighty M4 GTS and slapped on the standard car. So all of its torque and rear-wheel drive make it snappy and scary in the rain. It’s sort of fun, in a tail-happy, manic sort of way but it’s too much of a handful to want to drive on a regular basis in wet conditions.
The AMG is just as impressive as the Audi, maybe even more so considering how big and heavy it is. Based on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the AMG E63 is a 600 hp, twin-turbo V8 brute of a luxury sedan. It also comes with an all-wheel drive system that’s capable of switching its front axle off for rear-drive fun. Though, with all four wheels engaged, it’s a violent monster in the wet. It’s wildly fast and astonishingly capable for such a big heavy car. Even with four wheels turning, the AMG is more rear-wheel bias that the RS3, making it a bit more of a hooligan.
When the rain dried up, though, TG noticed some interesting flips in personality. For instance, the BMW M4 CS went from being a bit of a terror to being an absolute scalpel. Its steering sharp, its chassis balanced and its engine finally capable of putting its power down, making it very quick. In the rain, the M4 CS was a liability, in the dry it’s a weapon. Whereas the Audi RS3 went from being a road-going tomahawk missile in the wet to a safe and somewhat dull cruiser in the dry. Its tenacious grip in the wet starts to suck the fun dry in the, well, dry. Though, as an everyday driver, it’s hard not to love the RS3’s all-weather capability.
But the car that shined in both conditions was the AMG. In rainy conditions, you can keep the all-wheel drive working and have all the grip needed to use all 600 of its rampaging horses. When the rain clears and the tarmac drives, switch it to rear-wheel drive and destroy some tires. Thanks to its brilliant duality, the AMG wins this test.