New Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio vs new Mercedes-AMG C63 S: interiors

Both of these high performance saloons produce more than 500bhp, and both have recently been updated. Let's see which is the better buy...

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio 2020 dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Step inside and these two muscle-bound saloons go about reminding you what’s under the bonnet in their own different ways. The C63 does it with a seriously chunky sports steering wheel, an AMG badge at the base of the dashboard and further AMG and Biturbo V8 badging in the digital instrument cluster. The Giulia, meanwhile, shows what it’s made of with a little Cloverleaf badge on the steering wheel and some prominently placed carbonfibre trim pieces.

Both cars have electrically adjusted sports seats. The C63’s driver gets the more supportive and adjustable perch, but the Giulia’s seat lines up more neatly with the pedals and steering wheel. It also offers racy carbonfibre-backed Sparco bucket front seats (£3250) as an option, and has real leather on its dashboard instead of the artificial stuff on the C63’s, but it slips behind on quality in other ways.

Look past the few high-end finishes and you’ll find plenty of scratchy plastics and buttons that don’t feel particularly slick to use. That’s not to say the C63 is perfect – the trim on the dash creaks when missing a button causes you to give it a prod – but there’s a greater spread of soft-touch plastics than in the Giulia, and its switches work with greater precision. Neither car can challenge the Audi RS4 for upmarket feel, though.

Mercedes C63 S 2020 dashboard

The Giulia’s instrument cluster contains a 7.0in digital screen set between a conventional analogue rev counter and speedometer. That screen can show lots of helpful driving metrics, but it’s nothing like as comprehensive as the C63’s 12.3in fully digital instrument cluster. With a range of display settings, the latter can show mundane things such as sat-nav directions, or you can switch to more driver-focused layouts for a big rev counter and clear gearshift indicator lights that help you to get the most out of that big V8 when the opportunity arises.

Neither car is particularly tricky to see out of, but the C63’s slightly slimmer pillars make it a little better. To help out when parking, both cars get front and rear parking sensors plus a rear-view camera as standard. Opt for the Premium Plus Package and the C63 gains a 360deg surround-view camera to help protect its fancy wheels from kerb damage. No such feature is offered for the Giulia.

Naturally, automatic headlights and wipers are standard on both, although the Giulia gives you only regular xenon headlights. The C63 has more advanced adaptive LED headlights that allow you to use main beam more often while clever electronics prevent other drivers from being dazzled.

Infotainment systems

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio 2020 infotainment

The Giulia’s infotainment screen is rather dark and a little small at 8.8in, but having a rotary controller mounted between the seats (as well as responding to touch) makes it easy to interact with on the move. Its graphics aren’t the sharpest, but it’s responsive enough and has logical menus. While not as feature-packed as the C63’s system, it still comes with sat-nav, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A Harman Kardon stereo upgrade is a worthwhile £950 option for audiophiles.

Mercedes-AMG C63 S

Mercedes C63 S 2020

The C63’s 10.3in screen looks far more modern, with a brighter display and crisp graphics. There’s a choice of control methods; when you’re stationary, it’s easy to prod the screen itself, while on the move you can switch to the simple dial or trickier trackpad between the front seats. There’s a trackpad on the left spoke of the wheel, too; once you’re used to it, you can control the system without taking your hands off the wheel. Sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

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