18 June 2014

Can Mercedes-Benz's 355bhp A45 AMG out-muscle the storming 322bhp BMW M235i on a tight handling track? Steve Sutcliffe is the man to find out.

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19 June 2014
Might the result of the times have been different had the AMG's gearbox been more willing to change gear when you wanted it to?

19 June 2014
If there really was only one timed lap in each car, the difference can be accounted for by driver consistency and/or product variation. So you have a choice between a six, a manual and oversteer or a four, paddles and understeer. Well, duh. I think the A45 might be a bit quicker point to point on the road but who cares?

19 June 2014
Is this the same M235i I recently test drove and found to have a horribly floaty and wallowy initial ride? To the extent my son felt car sick in the back? Sure, it firms up after that initial disconnected feel and that's less likely to be a problem on track where you're throwing it around far more but it immediately removed it from my list.

19 June 2014
Don't be confused by the M-badge....though I admit BMW should un-confuse us all and drop this ruddy stupid M-Sport business. All it does is reduce the allure of 'proper' M Cars. The 235iM is not an M-Power car. It's a typical, top-of-the-range BMW series carrying a classic straight-six....well, not so classic with the twin-scroll turbo.....but top of the range anyway. You want a petrol 6: well, you buy this. I chucked one of these around Brands this week and it was a very nice, creamy ,comfy and controllable ride: how it induces people to car-sickness I don't know. Try looking at the road instead of out the side window perhaps ?? So, if you want sharper, quicker, harder and, as Mr Sutcliife calls it, a bit more 'lit'.....then, dig deeper my friends and buy yourself an E90 M3 or, even deeper, for a new F40 M3. And stop complaining. PS. That gearbox in the Merc is rubbish. I drove the manual 235iM and control was way better than the flappy-paddle "let's go quicker but less enjoyably" 8-speed ZF.

19 June 2014
@BertoniBertone: I was driving quite normally but the initial ride is far too soft and disconnected for anything wearing any form of M badge. Perhaps the adaptive suspension option is better (though I really don't like these systems and would rather have a well judged conventional set-up) but the ride on this is ill judged for UK roads on a car with any sporting pretensions. Not as bad as the M135i but far less controlled than the A45 AMG or Golf R. Heck, it was less well controlled than a Focus ST for that matter.

Regarding the two cars in question, I'd be fascinated to see what the benchmark Megane 275 Trophy would achieve on the same track and whether the German cars, at least in performance, are really worth £5-8,000 more!

19 June 2014
'Which is the *better* driver's car?'.

19 June 2014
99.9% of drivers will never ever push these cars anything like as hard as Mr Sutcliffe even if they did venture onto the track and certainly not on the road. So choice would not be based on performance, but come down to styling, which interior you found the most comfortable and boring stuff like can you get a buggy and the shopping in the boot. The Merc's 5 doors as opposed to the BMW's 2 + boot are also considerable factors in making a decision.

19 June 2014
The BMW might not have been all that as opposed to the AMG,but, the the sound of a 6 cylinder is more stimulating than a highly tuned 4 cylinder,having recently done this i find full throttle changes aren't really worth the bother,so, they might have near identical performance,but, if your not enjoying the whole package........?

19 June 2014
I actually prefer the sound of the AMG's four-pot to the BMW's straight-six. In fact, I prefer everything about the Merc. Sure, it's not set up for drifting, but it's an all-weather point-to-point weapon that can be used every day.

19 June 2014
God bless BMW for sticking with cars that you drive rather than ride.


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