For decades the sport sedan segment was dominated by the BMW M3. Basically, it was just everyone else gunning for the M3. Clearly, that has changed. BMW M slipped and everyone else got better. A hell of a lot better.
There is even a notable new contender from Alfa Romeo. Their entry is the Giulia Quadrifoglio which boasts some impressive specifications. Namely, the turbocharged 2.9 liter V6 produces 505 horsepower. On paper, that is a ton of power from the displacement. Think of it this way, even the new Porsche 911 GTS with its 3.0 liter engine is over 50 horses short. What other factory motor makes that kind of power from this displacement?
Well, the S55 engine in the F80 M3 does although not officially. It is rated at 425 horsepower but the car punches well above its claim. This F80 M3 also has the optional Competition Package which raises output among other things. Unfortunately, while the power and torque are great the car is now more dragster than the perfectly balanced and razor sharp driver's tool it once was. It just isn't quite what it was and it that is partially why others can easily now match (and exceed) its main aspects.
So far we have two cars with turbo six cylinder motors. See a pattern yet? Well, the ATS-V joins the trend although its 3.6 liter LF4 engine offers more displacement. Which is a good thing as the ATS-V is heavier than the aforementioned cars at roughly 3800 pounds. It's a good thing the ATS-V LF4 responds so well to basic tuning.
Speaking of heavy and big displacement, that is where the C63 S comes into the picture. It is the heaviest car out of the group at over 3900 pounds. It also has the largest motor with its 4.0 liter twin turbo M177 V8. The C63 can be thought of as more of a rear wheel drive E63 than a nimble sports sedan.
Let's start with the laptimes.
C63 S: 2:02.49
The Competition Package addresses complaints with the F80 M3 and improves performance. Namely, the torque doesn't just turn it into a drift machine and it plants its rear end better. The ATS-V is right on its tail but comes up short. The C63 S is just way behind the other two and considering how portly it is and how it is tough to keep the rear in line that is no surprise.
What is a surprise is that the Giulia Quadrifoglio beats up on everyone. Its handling is just superb. Even though the M3 is lighter and slightly better balanced the Giulia still rules the racetrack.
So Alfa's first attempt tops everyone in the segment? How does that happen? MotorTrend calls it perfect despite its grabby brakes and shortcomings in overall interior polish. The main point of criticism we would say is the lack of the manual transmission option in the US and the automatic being forced on you.
Maybe the Alfa will shake up the segment. The ATS-V was already doing that somewhat but it seems the Alfa Romeo is a better all around package. They did not do any straightline testing but if you equate what car is best to the quickest 1/4 mile time you never really understood what this segment was about in the first place.