Buying used: BMW M5 v Mercedes E63 AMG

Buying used: BMW M5 v Mercedes E63 AMG
Buying used: BMW M5 v Mercedes E63 AMG

Ultimate saloon speed and luxury, at realistic prices

Monster cars often come with monster depreciation, which is excellent news for the used car buyer. BMW’s latest M5 has only just been taken off the website in readiness for the new one, but clean examples are available at under £30,000. That gets you 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds, a superbly equipped five-seat interior and a good-sized boot

The Mercedes E63 AMG is even cheaper, is similarly luxurious, and has an even larger engine than the M5. Both use twin-turbocharged V8s, a BMW’s 4.4-litre 553bhp unit in the case of the BMW and a 5.5-litre/550bhp one in the (lighter) E63.

Mercedes E63 AMG (2009-2016)

Mercedes E63 AMG

List price new: £81,390
Price now: £27,000
Engine: 5.5-litre petrol
Power: 550bhp
Torque: 590lb ft
0-60mph: 4.8sec
Top speed: 155mph
Fuel economy: 28.8mpg (official average)
CO2 emissions: 230g/km

Driving experience

Mash the M5 throttle and those huge back tyres squat down to shoot the BMW down the road at a rate that puts it ahead of the Merc. The BMW’s seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox whips effortlessly through the gears to keep the power flowing.

The Mercedes won’t be a speck in the BMW’s rear view mirror though. Our test car’s winter tyres reduced its traction somewhat, but it wasn’t far behind the BMW and in all honesty you’ll be more entranced by the E63’s baritone boom that builds to a stunning racecar bellow.

Cornering reveals the two cars’ different characters. Turning the M5’s fat steering wheel provokes a sideways weight shift, but its grip outstripped our winter-tyred AMG. In terms of steering feedback, the Mercedes delivers slightly more through its light rack than the BMW does through its rather detached system. You need that extra feedback too because the E63 can get quite animated at the back end. Still, the Merc’s agility ramps up its fun factor.

Go into ‘executive saloon mode’ however and the BMW moves back into the lead, using its softest suspension setting to smother road imperfections that will be more noticeable in the Merc. It’s far from uncomfortable, but the E63 is more jittery in town you and lets in more wind and road noise at speed.

Interior

The M5’s understated but classy interior is well focused on the driver’s needs. Its iDrive infotainment system is class-leading. The regular E-Class’s rather boring cabin is taken to a higher place in the E63 thanks to swathes of leather and a suede, flat-bottomed steering wheel. Its Comand infotainment package isn’t as responsive or intuitive as the BMW’s.

Running costs

BMW M5 (2011-2016)

BMW M5

List price new: £73,040
Price now: £29,000
Engine: 4.4-litre petrol
Power: 553bhp
Torque: 502lb ft
0-60mph: 4.2sec
Top speed: 155mph
Fuel economy: 28.5mpg (official average)
CO2 emissions: 232g/km

Official fuel consumption figures – 28.5mpg for the M5 and 28.8mpg for the E63 – are not as horrific as you might think, given the performance. Car tax rates for both are in the £500 band, while servicing should be slightly cheaper for the BMW on its fixed-price menu servicing scheme. The Mercedes should be a bit more reliable than the BMW, though, according to the 2016 JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study. A big repair on either car won’t be cheap.

On purchase costs, the Mercedes looks like the cheaper of the two cars even though it was more expensive when new, suggesting that the M5 depreciates more slowly than the E63.

Verdict

Either of these cars will deliver a fantastic ownership experience. The BMW M5 is the best motorway cruiser and the best all-rounder. It accelerates faster than the Mercedes and can be very quiet and comfortable. It does feel slightly detached, however, and its steering lets it down.

The Mercedes E63 AMG is cheaper, sounds amazing, and is more engaging than the BMW. It’s not perfect: the BMW beats it on comfort and classiness. But you only need to hear that engine note once to know that you’re going to have a lot of fun in it. It’s the narrow winner here.

‘Price now’ is based on a 2012 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

 

 

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