BMW M8 Vs Mercedes S63: Which Is The Best Luxury Flagship?

Comparison

This will be a close fight, but only one can win.

For the first time ever, BMW will now offer an M version of its flagship 8 Series. The new M8 essentially acts as a replacement for the M6, which puts it right in the sights of another luxury flagship, the Mercedes-AMG S63. We've driven the S63 AMG in its convertible guise and came away thinking it was one of the best vehicles on sale right now. So how could the new M8 possibly hope to dethrone the AMG?

Well, when we tested the M850i xDrive Coupe variant of the 8 Series, we noted how it felt more agile than the luxo-barge Mercedes. These two models may be amongst the best vehicles on sale today but we wanted to know which is best. We haven't driven the M8 yet but are relying on our experience with the M850i for now to deliver a preliminary verdict. This one's going to be close.

Price

We'll start with price as it's easy to tell which car is cheaper. The BMW M8 starts at $133,995 for the coupe and $143,495 for the convertible. BMW has clearly won the battle on pricing because the S63 Coupe starts at $169,450 while the S63 Convertible is even pricer at $180,100. Even in competition guise, the M8 starts at $146,995 for the coupe and $156,495 for the convertible. You may get more standard equipment in the Mercedes but BMW gets the victory here.

Winner: BMW M8

You Might Also Like
12 Weird & Wonderful Gauge Clusters
12 Weird & Wonderful Gauge Clusters
Why Are So Many People Selling Their Porsche 911 GT2 RS?
Why Are So Many People Selling Their Porsche 911 GT2 RS?

Performance

BMW sells the M8 in standard and Competition guises, each of which is powered by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 sending power to all-wheel-drive through an eight-speed automatic. The base output is 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque while the Competition boosts the horsepower to 625. AMG's 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 is slightly down on power compared to the M8 Competition with 603 hp but makes up for it with a meaty 664 lb-ft of torque all going out to all-wheel-drive through a nine-speed automatic.

Mercedes claims the S63 can hit 60 mph in 3.4 seconds but we tested the convertible model at 3.3 seconds. BMW says the M8 Coupe will hit 60 in 3.3 seconds (or 3.2 for the Competition) while the convertible will be a tenth of a second slower. In the real world, there won't be much between these two cars but the BMW is about 300 pounds lighter and should feel more nimble as a result.

Winner: BMW M8

Styling

Both of these cars look fantastic in person but the BMW just feels too plain for a six-figure luxury flagship. The M8 Gran Coupe should be the prettiest 8 Series of the bunch but for now, we think the S-Class is too pretty to ignore. We've grown to love the S63's Panamerica grille and it is hard to hate the stunning headlights with Swarovski crystals in them. The S-Class just oozes prestige from every orifice.

Winner: Mercedes S63

Interior

BMW has massively stepped up its interior design in recent years after letting many of its models to feel stale. The 8 Series is the best of the bunch and we love the Swarovski crystal shifter on the M850. The M8, unfortunately, loses the crystal shifter in favor of a leather one and the rest of the cabin looks bland compared to the S63. Mercedes has designed a masterpiece with the interior of the S-Class and there are few interiors in the world we'd rather occupy for a road trip.

Winner: Mercedes S63

Technology & Luxury

These two cars may have M and AMG badges on them, but they are still flagship luxury cars - they need to have technology too. Both cars are tech tour-de-forces but we are going to give the slight edge to Mercedes in this category. As a luxury vehicle, the S-Class features a more customizable gauge cluster, massaging seats, more intuitive controls, and even an air freshener system built into the climate controls. The M8 has plenty of toys but you get the feeling BMW has tailored the car more for a driving enthusiast than a laid back tech lover. We also haven't driven the M8 yet and although the M850i was comfortable, we expect the M8 to be stiffer than the S63.

Winner: Mercedes S63

Verdict

Picking between the M8 and S63 depends on what you are looking for from your luxury grand tourer. If spirited drives will be rare occurrences and you favor a more luxurious car, go with the S63. If you frequent canyon roads on your daily commute and like the idea of tail-sliding goodness, go for the BMW. The S63 takes it over the M8 with a 3-2 victory but these are two incredibly good cars and neither can be considered a loser.

Winner: Mercedes S63

Gallery

25
PHOTOS