Both Mercedes and BMW speak their own language of sorts by their alphanumeric naming systems
When shopping either Mercedes or BMW for a coupe, sedan or convertible, the German archrivals can deliver a car for any need or pleasure, and increasingly answer to a wider range of budgets as well.
Mercedes’ offerings range from the entry-level A-Class subcompact to its opulent S-Class sedan. While A-Class and S-Class only comes as sedans, C- and E-class vehicle line-ups include two- and four-door coupes, roadsters (2-door convertibles) and cabriolets (four-seat convertibles). An E-class wagon also remains in the mix. BMW creates the 1 Series, 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series as part of the car lineup, plus even- numbered series which tend to be body style variants of the previous series. When it comes to high-performance, Mercedes offers its AMG GT cars (either a two-door or four-door coupe and not designated by a letter class), while BMW’s “M cars” are designed by its performance division with the “M” preceding the series number.
Our base level GT43 had the turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine with an EQ-boost mild-hybrid system, producing 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft torque, paired with a nine-speed automatic. All-wheel drive, 19-inch wheels, adaptive sport suspension, adjustable dampers, the MBUX infotainment system, a host of nice technology features and driver aids and sunroof were among the included features. We loved its zebra-like ash matte wood touches and ambiance lighting inside. MSRP for the GT43 was $89,900. About $7,500 added some sports accessories (including the performance exhaust) and some bonus camera/safety features while still keeping it under six figures. Driving enthusiasts would recommend spending about 10K more to upgrade to the GT53 to add an electric supercharger onto the engine to boost its performance. The GT43 is, however enough car for people that want the GT look and feel without a super high price tag and the look of a coupe with the practicality of four doors.
Our 2022 BMW testers where M4s—yes, the even number series signifies that the 4-series is a variant of the 3 series sedan, available in a coupe, convertible and new for 2022—a gran coupe 4-door model.
Our four-door M4 Gran Coupe is a less expensive option than the Mercedes for those wanting a fun-to-drive small luxury sedan with the practicality of a hatchback. Ours was the upgraded M440i xDrive Gran Coupe sporting the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six with eight-speed automatic making 382-hp. The higher trim meant it automatically got the M Sport and Dynamic Handling packages as part of MSRP at $58,200. Options included upgraded leather and mats, Driver’s Assist Professional package, Parking Assist Package and Premium package plus a Cooling and High-Performance Tire package for an off-the-lot price of $67,625.
A vastly different member of M4 family member, the loaded-up and top-of-the-line two-door soft top convertible featured the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six and rear biased xDrive all-wheel-drive system. The upgraded Competition tune paired with the eight-speed automatic transmission boosted its performance to 503 hp with 479 pound-feet of torque, earning it the apt description of being “a Bavarian cruise missile.” Ours had an MSRP of $86,300. It was loaded with extras including Tartulo full Merino leather interior, an Executive package, M Carbon bucket seats, M Drive Professional package (onboard drift analyzer and lap timer) and the M Driver’s package, which unlocks a higher top speed. All of this hiked its price tag to $104,295 including destination charges.
if you’re a seasoned driver, you’re probably also a firm believer that a “real” Mercedes or BMW is a car and not an SUV. While the brand you choose may depend on which manufacturer first hooked you a long time ago, which model you choose will depend on your “need”—be it your need for prestige, luxury, sheer performance or all of the above. And it will also come down to your “wants.” If it’s a spirited drive with better fuel economy ratings, or you believe the only way to drive is with a manual transmission, BMW may fit the bill. If you prefer high-power from a big engine, Mercedes would be the right choice. In the new era of all-electric driving, the next test will be between the Mercedes-EQ and the BMWi.