There’s no real loser in this test. Each of these cars is superb in its own way, and we doubt you’ll feel dissatisfied whichever you choose.
The BMW M5 is the one to go for if you want the best all-rounder, or if you plan to do lots of motorway cruising. It’s the more technologically advanced car; as well as delivering more acceleration and cornering grip, it’s also remarkably quiet and comfortable.
Of course, you’ll have to pay extra for that fulsome ability. What’s more, the M5 feels rather clinical in this company; get to know it well, and it will give up its rewards, but that requires dedication and even then, thanks to its numb steering, it’s still the less engaging of the two cars.
Which is one reason we’d probably take the Mercedes E63 AMG instead. The other is its lower price. The Merc does have its flaws, of course – it isn’t as comfortable as the BMW, and its interior is a smidge less classy. But ultimately, not only is it the cheaper car to buy, but with that steering and its hairy-chested engine note, it’s the best fun, too.
It’s a victory, however, by the narrowest of margins – and if you’d rather trade outright thrills for comfort and finesse, you might find the BMW is more your cup of tea.
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1st – Mercedes E63 AMG
For Seriously quick; sharp steering; sonorous engine price; lower price
Against Firm ride; sluggish infotainment; pricey servicing
Verdict Not the best all-rounder, but the most fun, and at a tempting price
2nd – BMW M5
For Savage pace; stupendous grip; supple ride; classy interior
Against Numb steering; plain soundtrack; higher price; feels heavy
Verdict Second place, but certainly not second rate.
Specifications: Mercedes E63 AMG
Engine size 5.5-litre petrol
List price when new £81,390
Price today £27,000
Torque 590lb ft
Top speed 155mph
Fuel economy 28.8mpg (Official average)
CO2 emissions 230g/km
Specifications: BMW M5
Engine size 4.4-litre petrol
List price when new £73,040
Price today £29,000
Torque 502lb ft
Top speed 155mph
Fuel economy 28.5mpg (Official average)
CO2 emissions 232g/km
Price today is based on a 2012 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing
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