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Mercedes-Benz C-Class


BMW M4

Summary

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Do you know how many bones you have in your body? Stop counting, there are 207. And if say half those bones were replaced with different ones would you consider yourself to still be the same? Well that’s what Benz has done with the new C-Class – sort of. Of the roughly 13,000 parts which make up a C-Class car, 6500 of them have been modified or changed.

You don’t need to know every change to the new C-Class, but at the end of this review you will be across the differences that you can see, feel and hear.

Just a note before we start. The top-of-the-range Mercedes-AMG C63 S arrives in early 2019 and wasn’t available to drive at the Australian C-Class launch. That’s why we’ll focus on the other grades here - the C 200, C 220 d, C 300 and C 43. We’ll test drive and review the Australian C 63 S when it arrives – promise.

Safety rating
Engine Type1.5L turbo
Fuel TypeHybrid with Premium Unleaded
Fuel Efficiency6.4L/100km
Seating5 seats

BMW M4

Will this, er, striking new BMW be remembered as the most controversial car released in the 2020s?

It’s quite possible. After all, there isn’t another vehicle in recent memory that gets enthusiast blood boiling so quickly and so often.

Yep, the second-generation BMW M4 risks being remembered for the wrong reasons, and it all has to do with that oversized, eye-catching kidney grille.

Of course, the new M4 is more than a ‘pretty face’ - or pretty remarkable face. In fact, as our test of the Competition coupé proved, it actually resets the benchmark in its segment. Read on.

 

Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency—L/100km
Seating4 seats

Verdict

Mercedes-Benz C-Class7.9/10

This may well be just an update to the C-Class, but the changes made are significant in terms of technology and performance, and you’re paying hardly any extra money for it. A good all-rounder for dynamics, features, refinement and value.

The sweet spot in the range has to be the C 300. It’s less than $10K more than the entry grade C200, but gets a powerful 2.0-litre engine, leather seats, the extra advanced safety equipment, tinted windows and convenience features such as a power tailgate (on the wagon) and proximity unlocking.

Is the C-Class still the king of the mid-sized prestige world? Tell us what you think in the comments below.


BMW M48.4/10

No matter what, haters are going to hate, but the new M4 Competition coupe doesn’t need any unsolicited style tips. And let’s not forget, styling is always subjective, so it’s not a matter of being wrong or right.

Anyway, the M4 Competition coupe is a damn good sports car, and it should be recognised as such. In fact, it’s more than damn good; it’s the type of car that you long to drive again.

After all, when you’re behind the wheel, you’re not looking at the exterior. And real enthusiasts will want to drive the M4 Competition, not look at it. And what a truly memorable drive it is.

 

Design

Mercedes-Benz C-Class8/10

Now, to spot the difference between the new and the old C-Class from the outside just look at the headlights – the shape of the fitting is the same, but the new standard headlights on the C 200, C 220 d and C 300 have an LED set-up which looks like teeth, while the optional units (standard on the C 43 and C 63 S) are also LED but with a tall staggered design. Tail-lights also keep the same shape but with a different LED pattern, too.

The front and rear bumpers have also been restyled for all grades and the C 43 and C 63 S have had their grilles updated, with the former getting a new twin-louvre design, while its big brother now has chrome vertical slats reminiscent of the grille worn by the 1952 Carrera Panamericana winning 300SL.

The AMG Line Exterior package is standard on the Coupe and Cabriolet, but if you option it on the sedan it will fit a sports body kit with AMG front spoiler and side skirts.

The C 43’s gloss black rear diffuser looks tough with the new quad exhaust and the car in wagon form wins my award for best looking of the C-Class bunch.

Cabins haven’t been overhauled but they have been updated with a 10.25-inch dash-top display for media and a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster - both are standard across the range and make a big styling impact in the cockpit. Mercedes-AMG grades have their own sporty version of the virtual instrument cluster.

The layout of controls remains the same, but you can now option a new real wood veneer to the centre console with 'open-pore brown walnut' and 'open-pore black ash' being your choices.

The Artico upholstery in the C 200 looks and feels ‘plasticky’. I’d option the real leather which comes standard on the C 300.

New to the C 43 are the optional ‘Performance’ seats with integrated head restraints and standard on this grade is a new leather AMG steering wheel. Other cool cabin features are the stainless-steel pedals, the AMG floor mats and stitched dash (even if it is Artico upholstery).

All grades now come standard with the 64-colour ambient lighting system. You should see the system fading through the colours at night and with the right music the whole effect is amazing.

The C-Class comes in four body styles: Sedan, Coupe, Estate (wagon) and Cabriolet.

Exterior and interior dimensions stay the same, all variants measuring about 4.7m in length. That’s a good size; not too big or small, making parking and manoeuvring in tight spaces pretty fuss-free.

The C-Class is made in various parts of the world, but I can tell you the C 200 Sedan we get in Australia is made at Mercedes-Benz's East London plant on South Africa's east coast.


BMW M49/10

Let’s get straight to the point: the new M4 Competition coupe has a rather large mouth. It’s certainly not for everyone, but that’s the point.

Yes, if you can’t appreciate why the M4 Competition coupé now looks the way it does, then BMW’s designers clearly didn’t have you in mind when they were doing their thing.

Of course, an oversized version of BMW’s signature kidney grille has been seen before, most recently on the X7 upper-large SUV, but the M4 Competition coupé is a very different beast in overall shape and size.

Now, I know I'm in the minority here, but I really appreciate what BMW has attempted here. After all, aside from the similarly styled – and arguably better-looking – M3 Competition sedan, there is literally no mistaking the M4 Competition coupé for anything else.

And for what it’s worth, I think the tall but narrow kidney grille looks its best when fitted with a small, slimline number plate, just like our test vehicle was. The alternative Euro-style plate just doesn’t do it justice.

Anyway, there’s obviously a lot more to the M4 Competition coupé than that face, including its equally adventurous paintwork options, with our test vehicle finished in the searing Sao Paulo Yellow metallic hue. Needless to say, it’s a showstopper.

The rest of the front end is punctuated by the deep side air intakes and sinister adaptive laser headlights, which integrate hexagonal LED daytime running lights. And then there’s the heavily creased bonnet, which is also hard to miss.

Around the side, the M4 Competition coupé has a similar profile to the sixth-generation Ford Mustang, which is its least remarkable angle. It’s still attractive, though, albeit a little too smooth, even with the sculpted carbon-fibre roof panel.

Our test vehicle looked better, thanks to its optional mixed set of black alloy wheels (19/20 inches), which had the also optional gold calipers of the carbon-ceramic brakes tucked behind them. They combine well with the black side skirts and non-functional ‘air breathers’.

At the rear, the M4 Competition coupé is at its absolute best, with the bootlid’s lip spoiler a subtle reminder of its capability, while the sports exhaust system’s quad tailpipes within the chunky diffuser insert are not. Even the LED tail-lights look superb.

Inside, the M4 Competition coupé continues to be a knockout, the level of which depends on how it’s specified, with our test vehicle featuring extended Merino leather upholstery with Alcantara accents, all of which were of the very loud Yas Marina Blue/black variety.

Better yet, carbon-fibre trim is found on the chunky sports steering wheel, dashboard and centre console, with silver accents also used on the latter two to lift the sporty – and premium – ambience, alongside the tri-colour M seatbelts and Anthracite headliner.

Otherwise, the M4 Competition coupé follows the 4 Series formula, with a 10.25-inch touchscreen ‘floating’ atop the centre stack, controlled by the intuitive rotary dial and physical shortcut buttons on the centre console.

With BMW’s Operating System 7.0 on hand, this set-up is one of the best in the business, (intermittent wireless Apple CarPlay dropouts excluded).

A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is positioned ahead of the driver, with a backwards tachometer the main feature. It does lackthe breadth of functionality of its rivals, but there's also a very large head-up display handily projected onto the windshield.

Practicality

Mercedes-Benz C-Class7/10

This depends on the body style, but being a mid-sized car practicality can be limited, but Mercedes-Benz has been clever with the way it has used the available space.

The boot, for example in the C 200 is 434 litres, which isn’t as big as the cargo space offered by the BMW 3 Series or the luggage capacity of the Audi A4. This is partly because the hybrid system uses space under the bonnet, so the car’s battery needs to go to the boot.

The C 300 doesn’t use the hybrid system and so the sedan in this grade has 455 litres of boot space.

Choosing the C 300 Coupe’s will reduce your luggage carrying ability to 380 litres and the C 300 Cabriolet’s cargo capacity varies from 360 litres with the roof up and 285 litres when it’s down and eating into the luggage area.

The Estate is the best luggage hauler but it’s still not enormous – the C 43 Estate that we test drove has a cargo capacity of 480 litres.

Legroom in the back of the C 43 Estate is good and at 191cm tall I can sit behind my driving position with about 20mm to spare thanks to the sculpted seat back.

Headroom is getting tight in the Estate and especially in the Sedan – well for me, anyway – and the optional sunroof will lower the ceiling height even further.

Up front space in the Sedan and Estate isn’t an issue with plenty of head-, leg- and shoulder room offered.

Storage throughout the Sedan and Estate is good with a large centre console storage bin, two cupholders up front and another two in the back along with a storage area in the fold down armrest, but all four door pockets are on the slimmer side. Still they can fit a small bottle of water, plus a wallet or purse.

That centre console bin houses two USB ports, and a 12-volt outlet can be found in the storage area under the climate controls – which also houses the optional wireless charging pad. Without the charging pad that small area is too tiny to place my iPhone8 Plus.

Rear headroom and legroom in the four-seater Coupe and Cabriolet is limited, but both get a pair of cupholders in the back and two more up front.


BMW M48/10

Measuring 4794mm long (with a 2857mm wheelbase), 1887mm wide and 1393mm tall, the M4 Competition coupé is on the large side for a mid-size car, and that means good things for practicality.

For example, the boot’s cargo capacity is pretty good, at 420L, and it can be increased to an undisclosed volume by stowing the 60/40 split-fold rear bench, an action that can be performed by the main storage area’s manual-release latches.

That said, we are dealing with a coupé here, so the boot’s aperture isn’t particularly tall, although its load lip is, making bulky items a challenge. However, two bag hooks and four tie-down points are on hand to help secure loose items.

Things are also mostly good in the second row, where I had a couple of inches of headroom and decent toe-room behind my 184cm driving position, although headroom is basically non-existent, with my head scraping the roof.

Amenities-wise, there are two USB-C ports below the air vents at the rear of the centre console, but no fold-down armrest or cupholders to speak of. And while the rear door bins are a surprise, they’re too small to accommodate bottles.

It’s also worth noting there are two ISOFIX and two top-tether anchorage points for (awkwardly) fitting child seats to the rear bench. The M4 Competition is a four-seater after all.

In the front, there’s a bit going on, with the centre stack’s cubby containing a pair of cupholders, a USB-A port and a wireless smartphone charger, while the central bin is decently sized. It has a USB-C port of its own.

The glovebox is on the smaller side, while the driver-side fold-out cubby is large enough to hide a wallet or some other bits and bobs. And then there are the door bins, which can accommodate a regular bottle each.

But before we move on, it’s worth calling out that the front carbon-fibre bucket seats fitted to our test vehicle aren’t for everyone. When you’re seated, they’re amazingly supportive, but getting in and out of them is a real challenge due to their very high and hard side bolsters.

Price and features

Mercedes-Benz C-Class8/10

The range kicks off with the C 200 and its C 220 d diesel siblings, then steps up to the C 300. Prices for these grades have increased by $1500 in this update but you’re being given more features. Above the C 300 live Mercedes-AMG’s wild animals – the C 43 and C 63 S.

The C 200 Sedan now lists for $63,400 (plus on-road costs), and if you want the Estate version add another $2500, and an extra $4500 for the Coupe, while the Cabriolet is $25,000 more at $88,400.

The C 220 d Sedan lists for $64,900 and the only other form it comes in is the Estate for $67,400.

The C 300 Sedan lists for $71,400, the Estate is $73,900, the Coupe is $84,900 and the Cabriolet is $101,900.

The C 43 Sedan lists for $107,900, while the Estate is $110,400, the Coupe is $111,900 and Cabriolet is $124,900.

The C 63 S Sedan lists for $159,900, however, prices for other body styles have not yet been announced.

So, about all the stuff you’re receiving in return for the price increase – a 10.25-inch display screen replaces the smaller one in the previous car and it’s standard across the range. Don’t stab and poke at it like I did with my finger for hours, because it’s not a touchscreen.

Also new is the 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster, and it’s standard on all grades, too. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come on all C-Class cars.

Other standard features, starting with the C 200 and C 220 d, include 'Artico' upholstery, which is a synthetic attempt at leather, a reversing camera, shifting paddles, dual-zone climate control, aluminium roof rails on the Estate, LED headlights, 64-colour ambient lighting and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The C 300 has the C 200’s features and adds leather upholstery, privacy glass (coupe only), proximity key and 19-inch alloys. The C 300 also gains the 'Driving Assistance Package' which I’ll tell you all about in the safety section below.

The C 43 picks up the C 300’s equipment and adds an enormous list of its own gear including a new AMG steering wheel, brushed stainless steel pedals, Burmester 13-speaker stereo, heated sports front seats, head-up display, wireless charging, intelligent LED headlights, panoramic sunroof, black roof racks on the Estate, analogue clock and 19-inch AMG alloy wheels.

Metallic paintwork is also part of the C 43’s standard features list which includes 'Obsidian Black', 'Iridium Silver', 'Mojave Silver', 'Cavansite Blue', 'Emerald Green' and 'Brilliant Blue', but you’ll have to pay for 'Hyacinth Red', which is a sort of candy apple red. Non-cost colours for the lower grades are non-metallic black and 'Polar White' non-metallic.

The C 63 S adds to the C 43’s equipment list with its own AMG steering wheel, illuminated door sills, digital TV tuner, nappa leather upholstery, an electronic rear differential lock, 19-inch alloys in matte black with high-sheen rim, plus high-performance brakes with red calipers.


BMW M48/10

Priced from $159,900 plus on-road costs, the automatic-only Competition currently sits atop the manual-only ‘regular’ variant ($144,990) in the rear-wheel-drive M4 coupé range, with xDrive all-wheel-drive and convertible options set to become available in the future.

Either way, the second-generation M4 Competition coupé is $3371 dearer than its predecessor, although buyers are compensated with a much longer list of standard equipment, including metallic paintwork, dusk-sensing lights, adaptive laser headlights, LED daytime running lights and tail-lights, rain-sensing wipers, a mixed set of alloy wheels (18/19 inches), power-folding side mirrors with heating, keyless entry, rear privacy glass and a power-operated bootlid.

Inside, a 10.25-inch touchscreen multimedia system, satellite navigation with live traffic, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, digital radio, a 464W Harman Kardon surround-sound system with 16 speakers, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a head-up display, push-button start, a wireless smartphone charger, power-adjustable front sports seats with heating, three-zone climate control, extended Merino leather upholstery, carbon-fibre trim and ambient lighting.

Being a BMW, our test vehicle was fitted with a number of options, including remote engine start ($690), BMW Drive Recorder ($390), a mixed set of black alloy wheels (19/20 inches) with Michelin Sport Cup 2 tyres ($2000), and the $26,000 M Carbon package (carbon-ceramic brakes, carbon-fibre exterior trim and front carbon-fibre bucket seats), taking the price as tested to $188,980.

For reference, the M4 Competition coupé goes tyre to tyre with the Mercedes-AMG C63 S coupé ($173,500), Audi RS 5 coupé ($150,900) and Lexus RC F ($135,636). It’s better value than the former and has the latter two covered with its next-level performance.

Engine & trans

Mercedes-Benz C-Class9/10

The previous C 200’s 2.0-litre 135kW/300Nm four-cylinder petrol engine has been swapped for a 135kW/280Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol with what Benz calls a ‘mild hybrid’ function.

This isn’t a hybrid with an electric motor driving the wheels, it’s an electrical system which is able to provide an additional 10kW/160Nm when accelerating. Known as the 'EQ Boost', the system also allows the C 200 to coast at a constant speed if the driver takes their foot off the accelerator. The battery is then re-charged when braking.

The C 220 d offers a diesel alternative and its new 2.0-litre engine now makes 18kW more power at 143kW and the same 400Nm of torque.

The C 300’s 2.0-litre turbo four has had a 10kW increase, taking power to 190kW, while peak torque is still 370Nm.

Also getting a power bump is the C 43 and its 3.0-litre V6 petrol is now good for 287kW (up from 270kW) while torque stays at 520Nm. The C43 uses Mercedes-Benz’s '4Matic' all-wheel drive system, while every other grade, including the C 63 S, is rear-wheel drive.

The C 63 S still makes an impressive 375kW and 700Nm.

The C 200, C 220 d, C 300 and C 43 all use the same nine-speed automatic transmission, while the C 63 S uses a ‘AMG Speedshift 9G’ which is a nine-speed dual-clutch auto.


BMW M410/10

The M4 Competition coupé is motivated by a cracking new 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline six-cylinder petrol engine, which is codenamed S58.

With a huge 375kW of peak power at 6250rpm and an even bigger 650Nm of maximum torque from 2750-5500rpm, the S58 is a significant 44kW and 100Nm more potent than its S55 predecessor.

A versatile eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission (with paddle-shifters) is also new and replaces the previous seven-speed dual-clutch unit.

And no, there is no six-speed manual option for the M4 Competition coupé any more, it's now standard only in the regular M4 coupé, which ‘only’ punches out 353kW and 550Nm.

That said, both variants are still rear-wheel drive, with the M4 Competition coupé now sprinting from a standstill to 100km/h in a claimed 3.9 seconds, making it 0.1s quicker than before. For reference, the regular M4 coupe takes 4.2s.

Fuel consumption

Mercedes-Benz C-Class8/10

Fuel consumption obviously depends on the engine, but did you know the body type also affects mileage?

Mercedes-Benz says the C 200 Sedan uses 6.4L/100km over a combination of open and urban roads. The trip computer in our C 200 Sedan recorded 7.1L/100km after 254km of mainly country roads.

The C 200 Estate according to Mercedes-Benz will need 6.5L/100km, the C 200 Coupe uses 6.4L/100km and the C 200 Cabriolet will need 6.8L/100km.

The C 220 d Sedan is frugal with diesel fuel consumption being 4.7L/100km, while the Estate version needs 4.8L/100km.

Mercedes-Benz is yet to announce the C300’s fuel consumption figures.

The Mercedes-AMG cars are the thirstiest with the C 43 Sedan using 9.4L/100km, and the Estate will use 9.6L/100km. After 286km of country roads the trip computer in our C 43 Estate was reporting an average consumption of 10.3L/100km. The Coupe economy is 9.5L/100km and the Cabriolet needs 10.0L/100km.
 
The C 63 S Sedan puts it away at the rate of 10.4L/100km, and the Estate’s usage is 10.7L/100km, while the Coupe and Cabriolet’s fuel efficiency is yet to be announced.


BMW M47/10

The M4 Competition coupé’s fuel consumption on the combined-cycle test (ADR 81/02) is 10.2L/100km, while its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are 234g/km. Both returns are more than respectable when you consider the level of performance on offer.

That said, in our real-world testing, we averaged 14.1/100km over 387km of driving, with plenty of time in bumper-to-bumper traffic. And if that wasn’t the case, the M4 Competition coupé was being driven with ‘vigour’, so a much better return is possible.

For reference, the M4 Competition coupé’s 59L fuel tank takes more expensive 98RON premium petrol at minimum, but that’s no surprise.

Driving

Mercedes-Benz C-Class8/10

The Australian C-Class launch gave us the opportunity to drive the C 200 Sedan and C 43 Estate on a test route stretching from Melbourne's Tullamarine airport, roughly 300km north to Milawa in Victoria’s alpine region and back, with the conditions being dry and cool.

I knew the C 43 would be ridiculously fun, but you can’t eat your dessert first, right? So, I started in the C 200, which is far from just meat and three veg – it’s refined and enjoyable to drive.

Steering is well weighted and accurate, offering a better sense of connection to the road compared to some of its prestige rivals. The steering wheel itself felt good to hold, too – and this is on the base car.

The test car wasn’t without its options though and it did have the 'Dynamic Body Control Suspension' with its Comfort mode softening the dampers for a more compliant ride and the Sport setting for better handling.

And that ride was comfortable. The only disturbance to the serenity (we did go through Bonnie Doon) was a bit of wind noise created by what sounded like the wing mirrors.

Apart from that, the experience was serene – those seats up front are comfortable and supportive even after hours, the vision all-around is excellent and then there’s the engine, which is perfectly adequate.

Okay, 1.5 litres sounds small but the output is almost the same as the previous 2.0-litre and the 48 Volt EQ Boost hybrid system does provide just enough of a kick to get you away from the traffic lights or overtake without any discernible lag.

The hybrid system's coasting function is excellent – take your foot off the accelerator and your revs drop to zero but the car will maintain its speed. When you brake the battery is recharged so you’ll have the extra grunt again when you need it.

Now for dessert. Just idling the C 43 sounds sedate, but that’s with the exhaust note and engine in the Comfort setting. It means you can pull into your street at night or start it up early in the morning without waking the up the entire neighbourhood.

Or, to hell with them, the people next door are jerks anyway: put it in Sport and the twin-turbo petrol V6 snarls and crackles as you shift through the gears. It’s not as vicious as the V8 C 63 S, but that’s the appeal of the C 43 – it’s a milder form of wild that’s easier to live with, but still so much fun.

The back roads from Milawa to Mansfield were a great testing ground for the C 43 Estate with their hill-climbing bends and downward forest runs. Merc AMG claims the C 43 can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 4.7s, and while that’s more than half-a-second behind the C 63 S, it’s still plenty quick.

With fantastic turn-in, all-wheel drive offering superb traction and great grip from the Continental ContiSportContact rubber (225/40 R19s front, 255/35 R19 at the back), a smooth-shifting nine-speed, impressive brakes and that turbo V6 which pulled the car heroically out of corners, it was hard not to grin like an idiot.

Only my mouth hurt afterwards, not my body. There’s a line you’re not going to read in any other car review. Some sports cars have a ride so firm, and seats so hard, and driving positions with hip points so low, that I almost have to leave the vehicle on all fours.

But only my face hurt from smiling so much – you could pilot a car like the C 43 until it ran out of fuel from a full tank and still feel comfortable – which is almost what we did. How much fuel did it use? Keep reading to find out.


BMW M49/10

The new M4 Competition coupé is an absolute beast. Plain and simple.

In fact, it’s such a beast that how well you can harness its performance on public roads is very dependent on how it’s specified.

Our test vehicle was fitted the optional Michelin Sport Cup 2 tyres and carbon-ceramic brakes, both of which are usually the reserve of track superstars.

And although we’re yet to experience it in such a setting, there’s no denying the M4 Competition coupé would be at home on a circuit, but as a daily driver, these options are a step or two too far.

Before we explain why, it’s important to first acknowledge what makes the M4 Competition coupé so beastly in the first place.

The new 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engine is an undeniable powerhouse, so much so that it’s hard to extract its full potential without handing over your licence in the process.

But when you do get to wring it out in first and second gear, it’s an absolute delight, with a rush of low-end torque preceding a power punch that even Iron Mike Tyson would be proud of.

For that reason, we rarely bothered with anything but the S58’s Sport Plus mode, because the temptation to have it all is far too great.

The reason why that’s so easy to do is because the eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission’s three settings are independent, meaning the M4 Competition coupé won’t always be looking to hold onto the lower gears if you don’t want it to.

The unit itself is predictably charming, with the difference in quickness between this new auto and its dual-clutch predecessor almost negligible. And yes, the advantage of the swap is buttery smooth gear changes, with low-speed jerkiness now a distant memory.

And when you are firing through the ratios, the booming sports exhaust system comes to the fore. Pleasingly, it’s ready to go every time the ignition is switched on, but to enjoy maximum crackles and pop on the overrun, the S58 needs to be in its Sport Plus mode.

Handling-wise, the M4 Competition coupé is one of those sports cars that begs to be driven harder and harder every time you attack a corner as it pushes its 1725kg kerb weight through bends with playful poise.

While I really enjoy the rear-wheel-drive dynamics, I still can’t help but wonder what the rear-biased xDrive all-wheel-drive version will be like when it launches, but that will have to wait for another day.

In the meantime, traction can be the M4 Competition coupé’s biggest issue, with the operative word being can. Yep, those Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 can be a handful in mixed conditions, be it in a straight line or through the twisty stuff.

Don’t get us wrong, semi-slicks are amazing when they’re hot and being used on a dry surface, but on a cold or wet day, they struggle to grip when the throttle is liberally applied, even with the rear limited-slip differential doing its best work.

For that reason, we’d be sticking with the standard Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres, which serve up the level of adhesion you’d hope for in everyday driving – unless you’re a weekend warrior.

In fact, if you are thinking about tracking the M4 Competition coupé, a lap-timer is built in, while a drift analyser will help you improve your slip angle and drift time if you’re lucky enough to find yourself on a skidpan, but we digress.

While we’re talking about our test vehicle’s options, it’s worth pointing out it’s a similar story with the carbon-ceramic brakes. Again, they’re mega on a track day, but they are overkill when you’re just out and about on public roads.

The standard steel brakes would be my pick. They’re powerful in their own right and still have two settings for the pedal feel, with the progressiveness of Comfort getting our vote.

Speaking of the word comfort, the M4 Competition coupé has come along in leaps and bounds when it comes to ride quality. Previously, it was unbearably stiff, but now it’s relatively comfortable.

Yep, the sports suspension is tuned superbly, doing its best to deliver a pleasant experience. Simply put, high-frequency bumps are dealt with firmly but quickly, while broken surfaces are also met with composure.

Of course, the adaptive dampers on hand are working their magic in the background, with the Comfort setting understandably preferred, although the Sport and Sport Plus alternatives aren’t that jarring when you need that little bit of extra body control.

The speed-sensitive electric power steering is yet another notch in the M4 Competition coupé’s belt, which is at its best in its Comfort setting, offering a nice amount of weight while being very direct.

Naturally, this set-up can become heavier in Sport and heavier again in Sport Plus if that’s your thing. Either way, feel is rather good. Yep, the M4 Competition coupé is good at communication – and many, many other things.

Safety

Mercedes-Benz C-Class8/10

The C-Class was awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2014. The base grade C 200 is fitted with nine airbags, AEB which works most effectively at lower speeds, and blind spot warning.

Stepping up to the C 300 brings the 'Driving Assistance package' which adds a more sophisticated AEB with cross traffic function and evasive steering, plus lane keeping assistance.

No spare tyres here. The C 200, C 220 d and C 300 all come with run-flat tyres, while the Mercedes-AMG grades have a puncture repair kit.

For child seats, you’ll find two ISOFIX points and three top tethers across the back row of the Sedan and Estates, while the Cabriolet and Coupe have two ISOFIX points in the back.

There are also two hi-viz vests in the cargo area and, yes, you do get a warning triangle, too.


BMW M49/10

Neither ANCAP nor its European counterpart, Euro NCAP, have given the M4 Competition coupé a safety rating yet.

That said, its advanced driver-assist systems do extend to front autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with intersection assist and pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep and steering assist (including emergency), adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, road-sign recognition, high-beam assist, active blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert, Reversing Assist, park assist, rear AEB, surround-view cameras, front and rear parking sensors, and tyre-pressure monitoring.

Other standard safety equipment includes six airbags (dual front, side and curtain), anti-skid brakes (ABS), brake assist and the usual electronic stability and traction control systems, with the latter coming with 10 stages.

Ownership

Mercedes-Benz C-Class7/10

The C-Class is covered by Mercedes-Benz’s three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. We’re keen to see Mercedes-Benz move to longer warranty periods as is becoming the norm with mainstream brands, many of which are offering five year coverage.

Servicing is recommended at 25,000km/12-month intervals for the regular C-Class cars and the C 43. The C 63 S needs servicing every 20,000km or annually.

It’s great to see Mercedes-Benz offers capped price servicing. For example, the C 200 will cost you $396 at its first service, the second is $792 and the third is also $792.


BMW M47/10

As with all BMW models, the M4 Competition coupé comes with a three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, which is two years behind the premium standard set by Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Land Rover, Jaguar and Genesis.

That said, three years of roadside assistance is also included with the M4 Competition, which has service intervals of every 12 months or 15,000km (whichever comes first).

To sweeten the deal, five-year/80,000km capped-price servicing plans are available from $3810, or $762 per visit, which is fairly reasonable, all things considered.