The never-ending battle of one-upmanship between BMW
rages on. With the arms race for more power taking the M3 and C63 AMG to such ridiculous heights, both manufacturers have spotted an opportunity to fill the gap between these super sedans and the brand’s more pedestrian offerings.
Mercedes’ solution is to introduce a new model, the ambitiously titled C450 AMG. Using a beefed-up version of the 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine found in the C400, the new car makes 362 hp and, more importantly, 384 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission.
BMW is approaching things from a different angle. The 3 Series was once the king of the compact luxury sport sedan market, but recent offerings have gone a bit soft. So instead of adding another 3 Series variant, the company has decided to refresh the car from the ground up and replace the 335i with the new 340i.
Not to be confused with BMW’s other 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engines, the 340i uses a new turbocharged inline-six that generates 320 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the Mercedes, power can be sent to all four wheels or just the pair in the rear and there is a choice in transmissions. Standard is a six-speed manual unit with a ZF derived eight-speed automatic as optional.