Comparison: 2008 BMW M3 vs. 2008 Lexus IS F vs. 2008 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

"The C63's turn-in is crisp, with plenty of honest feedback and a meaty feel."

"Lexus equips the IS F with electric power steering, which isn't as organic as a good hydraulic system. It's fine for normal to moderate driving, but loses sensitivity when you're really honking it. The IS F's cornering abilities are impressive, but the car understeers heavily at the limit, and the wheel feels disconnected at that point."

"The BMW's tiller is about as quick as the others but a bit lighter. Its communication is even clearer than the C63's, with plenty of true road feel."

"Constant grip levels range between 0.95 g (Lexus and Mercedes) to 0.97 for the BMW, so call this area a tie. Braking is much the same, with just a five-foot spread covering the three cars. Real-world driving reveals the differences."

"The C63 is a good overall handler, with a stiffish, performance-oriented ride. It corners well, lets you know where it's going, and will happily stick its tail out if provoked."

"The IS F feels aggressive yet poised unless you're pushing it. It stays neutral right until its cornering limits and then plows hard. High-speed mid-corner bumps will unsettle it a bit, but again only when really on it."

"Balance is again the word that describes the M3. It was the quickest through our figure-eight test, which combines acceleration, braking, transition cornering, and grip. The BMW is the most agile and athletic of the bunch."

"Two areas stand out here: seats and steering wheels. In keeping with its ballsy nature, the C63 has firm, thickly bolstered front buckets. A few said they're too hard, too aggressive for the street, yet they were everyone's favorite when on the racetrack. The BMW's seating is comfy for street work, but doesn't have enough support to keep you planted during really hard cornering. Rookie Lexus's chairs are a reasonable compromise between the two."

"A couple of clunky design elements let it down, and its steering and suspension calibrations aren't as well synthesized at the limit as the others. As the IS F costs no less than the German duo, there's no value card to be thrown."

"BMW's magnificent M3 is the newest in a 20-plus-year line and is the best one yet. A performer by any measure, and its best-in-test times on the racetrack and through our figure-eight test demonstrate that its various aspects work together better than the others. The BMW is lithe and athletic yet never punishing, and it comes in a package you can use and enjoy every day."

"Lexus fell a few steps short inside. The console and other areas are splashed with an aluminized carbon-fiber-looking stuff that won't be to everyone's taste. And the nav screen and buttons come right out of the Prius, although the setup works well enough."

Motor Trend Comparo Results

1st Place - BMW M3


3rd Place - LEXUS IS F


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New IS-F  M3  C63 Comparo, MotorTrend

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