The rivalry between BMW and Mercedes-Benz has come a long way. It started from traditional premium sedans but has gradually expanded to include premium SUVs of any shape and size, as well as MPVs and c-segment hatchbacks.

    In the field of performance-oriented models, the equivalent BMW M GmbH and Mercedes-AMG GmbH divisions have been shining on the road, and on the sales charts.

    A perfect example of this raging battle is the reveal of their flagship premium sports sedans, the BMW M5 Competition and Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+, which occurred almost simultaneously.

    BMW M5 Competition

    The performance version of the seventh-generation 5 Series (G30) was unveiled in late 2016, and in mid 2020 BMW decided it was time for a mid-cycle facelift.

    Following the updates on the whole 5 Series range, the M5 got a redesigned exterior and updated interior, however the mechanical components were largely carried over from the pre-facelift model.

    The M5 and M5 Competition are exclusively available as four-door sedans.

    Designer: Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group Design Director.
    Engine: 4.4-litre turbocharged petrol V8 producing 460kW and 750Nm
    Transmission: Eight-speed torque converter
    0-100km/h: 3.3 seconds
    Top speed: 305km/h
    Dimensions: 4983mm long, 1903mm wide, 1469mm tall, 2982mm wheelbase

    Mercedes-AMG E63 S 4MATIC+

    The fastest version of the fifth-generation E-Class (W213) was unveiled in late 2016, positioned above the E43 (and later E53) AMG variants.

    In 2020, Mercedes updated the whole E-Class range aesthetically, technologically, and mechanically with a mid-cycle facelift.

    The most powerful E63 and E63 S variants retained the same engine and are still available in both saloon and estate, but not in coupe or cabriolet body style.

    Designer: Gorden Wagener, Daimler AG Chief Design Officer
    Engine:  4.0-litre turbocharged petrol V8 producing 450kW and 850Nm
    Transmission: Nine-speed AMG Speedshift MCT
    0-100km/h: 3.4 seconds
    Top speed: 300km/h
    Dimensions: 4988mm long, 1907mm wide, 1463mm tall, 2939mm wheelbase

    Round 1: Front end

    BMW M5 Competition

    The front of the M5 is where the most changes occurred with the facelift. The new headlights with L-shaped LED graphics are slimmer for a more focused look. The one-piece kidney grille has grown in size, but it retains a discreet look compared to other BMWs, especially in the M5 Competition where it is surrounded in black.

    The front bumper is slightly redesigned with heavily contoured side intakes that look larger even though they are the same size with the pre-facelift M5, and a hexagonal central intake housing the radar sensor for the driver assistance systems.

    Mercedes-AMG E63 S

    With the latest facelift, the E63 S finally received the inverted AMG-specific radiator grille, following numerous performance models in the Mercedes-AMG range.

    The LED headlights are also brand new with a cleaner look, following the curves of the grille. The power domes on the bonnet are another stylistic highlight of AMG and give us a hint of what is hiding underneath.

    Like its predecessor and most of the latest generation AMG models, the E63 S incorporates a jet-wing design for the front bumper. The enlarged side intakes are connected with black trim. Below the aerodynamic design, there is a narrow central intake with a splitter.

    Round 2: Profile

    BMW M5 Competition

    At the back, the M5 is instantly recognised as a BMW thanks to the traditional L shaped (darkened) taillights which now have more modern and three-dimensional LED graphics, and the shark-fin antenna.

    The lip spoiler positioned on the boot lid is quite small but it makes good contrast with the new Motegi Red metallic body colour (pictured), matching the black roof.

    The rear bumper is slightly redesigned with its lower part finished in high-gloss black. There, we find a three-fin diffuser and four round M Sport exhaust tailpipes in black chrome.

    Mercedes-AMG E63 S

    The rear section of the E-Class has changed a lot with the recent facelift. The horizontally-arranged tail lights with LED graphics make the car look wider by expanding into the boot lid and connecting through a chrome strip, while forming a closer bond with past generations.

    The discreet boot-lid spoiler is larger than in the E53 and together with other details it can be trimmed in carbon fibre (optional AMG Carbon Fibre packages).

    The rear bumper is also slightly redesigned with a new two-fin diffuser and four trapezoidal titanium matte tailpipes.

    Round 4: Interior

    BMW M5 Competition

    Inside the M5 Competition we find the classic BMW look, with hexagonal air-vents, climate controls on the centre console, and a three-spoke M Sport steering wheel with integrated buttons and gearshift paddles.

    The dashboard is dominated by a new 12.3-inch touchscreen with updated BMW iDrive 7 infotainment and M specific graphics, combined with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with M View function and a colour head-up display.

    There are two new buttons next to the gear knob: the M Mode button allowing the driver to change between Road, Sport and Race modes, and Setup for a more detailed configuration. 

    The heated M Sport seats are upholstered in Merino leather while there are also the optional M multifunction seats with thicker bolstering, integrated headrests, and an illuminated M5 logo matching the illuminated door sill plates.

    The leather upholstery of the cabin can be specified in Black or Beige. Finally, there is a premium Harman Kardon sound system for the audiophiles.

    When specified with the Driving Assistant Professional, the M5 gets the latest systems allowing for semi-autonomous highway driving. At the same time, the BMW Digital Key allows remote access to some features.

    Mercedes-AMG E63 S

    The interior of the E63 S looks like a high-tech limousine thanks to the enlarged 12.25-inch dual screens on a shared glass panel with the latest MBUX infotainment system and AMG-specific graphics.

    The twin-spoke AMG Performance steering wheel upholstered in leather and microfibre is also new, incorporating more buttons, hands-on sensors and enlarged aluminium gearshift paddles.

    The climate controls are positioned on the dashboard finished in carbon-fibre, underneath four circular air vents and above the usual Mercedes touchpad for the infotainment.

    The AMG-specific control unit on the centre console allows the driver to choose between drive programs.

    The heated AMG seats are upholstered in nappa leather while there are also the optional AMG Performance seats with integral head headrests and more lateral support. Finally, we have ambient lighting, AMG brushed stainless steel sports pedals and AMG branded door sills steps.

    As for safety and driving assistance systems, the Intelligent Drive includes everything you need for semi-autonomous highway driving and the Urban Guard offers remote monitoring.


    Which one do you like best?
    BMW M5 Competition
    Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+
    Thanos Pappas
    Thanos Pappas is a Design Contributor at CarExpert.
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