Its facelift time!! That’s right, all our favourite German sedans are a few years into their current generation and ripe for a slew of minor updates and tweaks. As it happens, the BMW and Mercedes have unveiled the facelifted versions of their business-spec sports cars around the same time, so I figured why not take a look at both of them in the same story.
Let’s start with the MY2021 BMW M5 Competition unveiled in Imola Red. It’s quite a striking colour, especially with all the gloss black details. The first visual difference is in the front end with the new L-shaped Laser Matrix lights and the wider grille with M-spec double bars. The front bumper is a bit tweaked as well with larger air intakes. Around the back as well, the new M5 gets a redesigned rear bumper, new taillamps, enlarged quad-tailpipes and rear apron in black. Not much has changed inside the cabin apart from the new 12.3-inch central touchscreen display with the latest OS, updated upholstery and new M-mode controls in the central console inspired by the M8.
The biggest change under the skin of the facelifted M5 is the retuned chassis and new dampers based on the learnings from the M8 Gran Coupé for a more sporty driving characteristic. The M5 Competition sits 7mm lower than the ‘regular’ M5. It still gets the same 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 producing 591bhp in standard spec, upped to 617bhp in the Competition spec while peak torque stands at 750Nm in both. The M5 still has the switchable xDrive system that debuted on it in 2017 that allows it to switch from 4WD to 2WD. BMW also offers M Performance parts if you have the cash to spare such as lighter wheels, carbon fibre interior trim and a louder exhaust for the US market.
I’m looking forward to Shmee150 or CarVlogger’s video to see if they can feel the changes on the facelifted M5 when they get to review it. The facelift isn’t too drastic of a change thankfully so I don’t have much to critique, except that I’d still have an M5 in Marina Bay Blue.
Moving on from the new M5 to the facelifted version of its faster rival, the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E63. It gets a restyled front end with the AMG-specific grille with 12 vertical louvres and larger central star between the restyled multibeam headlamps. There is also the reshaped front bumper with three large, function air intakes with a new front splitter. A similar set of tweaks have been made to the rear end as well with flatter taillamps that reflect the current Mercedes design language. Overall, the E63 feels to have wider and smoother surfaces than before. Mercedes claims the cosmetic tweaks improves and optimises the aerodynamic package of the E63, including the new 20-inch 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels.
Under the bonnet, the 2021 E63 still gets the grunty 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that’s mated to a 9-speed AMG Speedshift transmission. It’s a 4MATIC+ offering with 4WD that can be switched to RWD drift mode in the E63 S version which Mercedes introduced to this segment in 2016. In standard spec, the powertrain is tuned to make 563bhp and 750Nm but that gets increased to 603bhp and 850Nm in the E63 S variant. In every drag race comparison review I’ve seen of the E63 S and the M5, the Merc’s extra 100Nm of torque always gives it the edge.
The interior looks more luxurious and futuristic than the M5. The facelift now gets the latest tech and gadgets such as the widescreen cockpit, new AMG Performance steering wheel with touch-sensitive controls and two dials with digital displays, and the MBUX infotainment system with AMG-specific function along with the digital assistant feature.
It’s hard to pick between the M5 and E63 driver’s cockpit. I like the red M buttons and the gear selector stalk in the BMW but the new flat-bottom AMG Performance steering wheel looks sportier. Which cabin do you like better as a driver’s car? Let me know in the comments below.
While I maintain that I prefer the styling of the M5 to the AMG E63, the Merc has a trump card up its sleeve — the AMG E63 S Estate. All the performance and the RWD drift mode combined with the practicality of way more luggage space. There is an estate version of the regular 5 Series but sadly BMW doesn’t offer that for the M version.
Which 2021 super sleeper do you like more – the AMG E63 or the M5? Let me know in the comment section below the gallery and don’t forget to subscribe to The Auto Loons for more cool updates from the car world.
P.S., if you really don’t want to buy a Mercedes and instead want a BMW 5 Series super wagon with M5 performance, there is one option for you – the new Alpina B5 Touring.