But it’s from the outside we’ll measure the scope of their noise level today; not from the cabin (where we measure as part of the road test) or from close enough to the exhaust tips for our numbers to be a reliable guide as to whether either might pass a static noise test on a track day. We’re going to measure at just about the range that you might hear one of these cars going past on the street: 10 paces or so, at a steady 5500rpm.
The Lexus doesn’t sound quite as imposing from the outside as it does from inside the cabin. It’s throaty, but slightly high-pitched and thinsounding compared with the AMG’s woofling, bass growl. Plenty of ‘exhaust noise’ is being reproduced by the GS’s stereo speakers, plainly. Where the E63 S crackles and bangs on the overrun as unburnt fuel in its exhaust detonates on the hot metalwork, the GS F’s crankshaft zings up to speed and then gently whines its way back to idle again.
Does the Lexus sound better – more cultured – than the AMG? You wouldn’t say so. More reserved, perhaps; less cringey when you’re not keen to announce your presence somewhere, no doubt. But on the ear, you couldn’t be sure it was the quieter of the two, most of the time at least.
The decibel meter delivers the scores: 87.2dB for the GS F, 88.9dB for the E63 S. A narrow-looking victory, albeit one backed by an undoubtedly superior sonic sense of presence for the AMG, until… BANG, CRACKLE, POP. Those detonations send the noise meter’s reading’s ‘max’ beyond 100. Gunshot volume. And an easy first victory for the newcomer.
HOW FAST IS IT?
Mercedes-AMG E63 S 4Matic+ vs Audi RS7 Sportback
This head-to-head won’t be as easy. The previous E63 would have been absolutely destroyed by the 597bhp, quattro-driven RS7 on standing-start acceleration and, right now, I can’t honestly believe the new one can make such a titanic step up.
It only was this generation of Audi’s RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback that finally took the 0-62mph benchmark for big, luxury, four-seat super-saloon/estate cars under 4.0sec. Even before Neckarsulm revised the cars with its Performance editions last year, both were capable of hitting 60mph from rest in threepoint-something thanks to an engine good enough to have become the motor of choice (as far as we’re concerned) in a 2.5-tonne Bentley Continental GT. Now, in revised and more powerful form, an RS6 has been timed by us at under 3.5sec to 60mph – admittedly, only running in one direction and with one occupant on board. So how fast will an RS7 go?
The spec sheet gives the new AMG a marginal advantage on kerb weight (1875kg versus 1930kg) as well as a sizable lead on torque (627lb ft versus 553lb ft, both from 2500rpm). And yet, sitting in the rocketship Audi while it’s bothering the tarmac with those 21in alloy wheels and wasting not a bit of energy in wheelspin, you simply can’t believe the Mercedes-AMG is going to stand a chance. Cars this size very rarely feel so fast. The RS7’s thrust is ever-present and almost seamless. There’s no delay to speak of at all between the coordination of your feet on the pedals and the crushing release of forward momentum; very little turbo lag and no thinking time needed for the drivetrain or traction control. Just incredibly linear grunt apparently everywhere in the rev range, available in every gear.