Thread: Article: Analysis of Chris Harris' video comparison between the M3 GTS, Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0, and Mercedes C63 Black Series
05-03-2012, 03:55 AM #1
Analysis of Chris Harris video comparison between the M3 GTS, Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0, and Mercedes CLK63 Black Series
Now this is a comparison we have been dying to see. The problem? It's done by Chris Harris and we can not figure out why he keeps getting these cars to test. His videos are essentially a string of his subjective opinions making for a glorified narrator with little data although we do at least get laptimes. It's great he tells us what he thinks but it would be nice to have more data (slalom, specs, skidpad, dyno, braking, 1/4 mile, etc.). Not to mention he often gives conflicting opinions as well as those that do not make sense like what we saw in his GT-R to F10 M5 comparison. At least this time he compared the proper cars.
These cars are similar in the sense of being stripped out, hardcore, track ready models. These cars are for those willing to sacrifice a little comfort and do not mind having extra factory aerodynamics for down-force and understand the reason for a factory roll cage. They are razor sharp, super responsive, and are the raw versions of the counterparts on which they are based. We like that, we really like that. These models embody the philosophy we employ here and we are thankful their manufacturers make them although we resent the fact BMW is the only one out of the trio not able to roll out its respective vehicle in the United States. BMW deserves endless criticism for dropping the ball here and not learning their lesson with the mistake they made not bringing over the E46 M3 CSL.
So, on to the comparison. The M3 GTS is the weakest car here. The Porsche with a 4.0 6 cylinder out-powers it by 50 horses on paper (many more in reality however due to what the GT3 RS actually puts out to the wheels) despite having two fewer cylinders and 400 cc's less displacement. As a matter of fact, the 997 GT3 RS 4.0 puts out more to the wheels than the M3 GTS puts out at the crank. That is rather embarrassing for BMW who has always prided themselves on offering the best naturally aspirated motors especially in their M models. Porsche surpassed them significantly in this respect as the gap was never this large with the 996 GT3 MKI versus the E46 M3 CSL. Not to mention, Porsche has not sold out its principles and manages to offer fantastic turbo AND naturally aspirated motors. Sadly, it was actually BMW at one time with the more impressive specific output back in the E46 M3 CSL days doing more with less. Times have changed.
The M3 is the only car here with a dual clutch transmission which helps it make up for some of the power disparity. The C63 Black Series has an automatic and the 911 GT3 RS 4.0 has a manual.
Harris makes a good point regarding the cost of the GTS. He mentions what it would cost to turn a standard E92 M3 DCT into a GTS and he does not see anything there that justifies the 50,000 pound premium. He is right except he forgets the most obvious and really important point, the 4.4 liter stroked S65 V8. Still, the M3 GTS is overpriced for what you get.
The C63 Black Series is by far the heaviest car in the comparison. Somewhat of a shame but the C-Class is not a lightweight and really has become quite hefty over the years. It is more of a brute force vehicle compared to the M3 GTS and 911 GT3 which offer more finesse. Big V8, big weight (comparatively), and an automatic. Almost feels like the American out of the group. The comments on the transmission from Harris are that it has an advantage over the Porsche GT3 RS 4.0 in traffic. Um, we think guys buying these cars are more concerned about what they do when the road is open rather than when congested and an auto trans being more comfortable in traffic situations than a manual is rather obvious.
Harris states the C63 Black Series is a greater engineering exercise than the M3 GTS as if that is a positive. What he forgets is that the M3 to begin with is the sharper car so it really is not a compliment to say the C63 Black Series feels more special than the C63 on which it is based but a compliment to BMW that the M3 is so good to begin with. There was simply more to improve regarding performance driving dynamics from the standard C63. Also, the engine in the M3 does get significant changes whereas the M156 in a higher state of tune we have already seen from Mercedes in the C-Class with the P31 package. He may want to re-evaluate his statements.
Before this gets far too long winded picking apart his missteps let's cut to the chase regarding the laptimes.
997 GT3 RS 4.0: 1:36.10
M3 GTS: 1:39.00
C63 Black Series: 1:39.10
The GT3 is significantly faster than the other two, no surprise. The M3 GTS finishes ahead of the C63 Black Series which is no surprise either as the Black Series is not able to use brute force to overcome the M3's lower weight and quicker shifting transmission.
Harris likes the M3 GTS a whole lot even going so far as to say it is 10.5 out of 10. He likes the C63 Black Series as well, who doesn't? All of these are great cars. But, ultimately, the GT3 RS is the best performance car here by quite a margin despite having the smallest motor and no trick dual clutch transmission. That says quite a bit about how good it is when it significantly outperforms two fantastic vehicles in their own right. The scary thing is, with the 991, it is only going to get better. Harris picks the GT3... and so do we.
05-03-2012, 04:12 AM #2Member
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The 10.5 out of 10 he gave for its abilities for drifting and driving like a hooligan.
It wasn't an overall score.
05-03-2012, 04:13 AM #3
05-03-2012, 10:51 AM #4
I think he did a fine job of reviewing them.Some people live long, meaningful lives.
Other people eat shit and die.
I'm not racist, I hate everybody equally; especially fat people.
05-03-2012, 11:02 AM #5Member
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Out of the box, the new Porsche 991 C4S is almost as fast on the racetrack as the 997 GT3! I doubt the next M3 will be able to compete with the 991, unless BMW really cuts down on the weight and builds a car that brings the ///M spirit back! Although many will say that the proper spirit has been buried by opting for a FI engine.
If I were to chose one from the 3 cars tested above, I'd chose the GT3 RS 4.0 no doubt.E92 335i SB / Black Leather / 6AT / Navi Prof / Sunroof / Active Steering
Mods: Performance Seats / Performance Exhaust / RB Turbos / M3 CF Roof / Brembo GT BBK 355/345 / Rollcage / M3 Mirrors / Forge FMIC / QUAIFE LSD / Ohlins R&T / M3 Suspension Parts / Vorshlag Camberplates / Megan Toe Links / LeatherZ Gauges / Extended M3 DCT Paddles / ER Sports OC / AR OC / Aux Radiator / AR catted DP / COBB Pro-Tune
Next: GTS Wing
05-03-2012, 12:23 PM #6Timeout
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05-03-2012, 07:06 PM #7
05-12-2012, 03:43 AM #8
I love that he brought his own, personal GT3 RS 4.0 to use for the video. He's also used his E39 M5 and E92 M3 in his other videos. I think Harris is the greatest auto journalist of our time and his subjective opinion is exactly why I always look forward to his videos. I honestly could not care any less about objective test data when it comes to cars.
05-12-2012, 04:01 AM #9
05-13-2012, 09:08 PM #10
I absolutely think he's one of the best, who do you like better? (not trying to say there aren't any other good ones, I like plenty of others too) I just find that American journalists in general can't drive and most British ones are too subjective and biased. At least Harris is honest about his biases and doesn't try to persuade you to agree with his opinion.
05-13-2012, 09:10 PM #11
05-13-2012, 09:15 PM #12
Ok then, if you don't want to hear his opinion then I agree there isn't much else motivating you to watch his videos. I still maintain that numbers don't even begin to tell the story about the way a car drives, a GT-R and 911 Turbo put up very similar numbers in almost all tests but they are so incredibly different that relatively few would seriously consider the alternative over their favorite (meaning very few GT-R buyers would seriously consider the 911 and vice versa).
I happen to find his subjective information useful but I think that's mainly because his tastes seem to align with mine very closely. We seem to like a lot of the same cars.
05-13-2012, 09:17 PM #13
05-14-2012, 03:25 PM #14
05-14-2012, 08:00 PM #15