August 2015

It’s a tough job being a car journalist. Sure, there are some not-at-all-tough bits …

… the travelling-around-the-world-driving-fancy cars bit and, of course, the not-having-topay-for-running-costs bit. Those aren’t very tough.

The hard part – please hear me out – is being able to accurately and objectively evaluate the cars we’re required to drive. With all that travel and access to cars comes great responsibility. You’re spending a lot of money buying a new car and our appraisal and advice must be spot on. We feel that pressure at CAR.

To precisely analyse the handling, ride and performance differences between well-matched vehicles in a particular segment is a tricky business. Modern cars – relative to their price – are well-made pieces of machinery. They have to be. With so many derivatives available, it’s a buyers market and prospective owners are understandably picky.

And that means, in our line of work, there’s only one accurate way to compare and rate them … and that’s to drive them back to back.

Our two comparative tests in this issue the much-anticipated shootout between the Mercedes-AMG C63 S and BMW M3 M-DCT (page 60) and a head-to-head showdown between the updated Mazda CX-5 and Kia Sportage turbodiesel compact SUVs (page 68) – are perfect examples. Drive each vehicle even a few days apart and you’d battle to discern the subtle differences between them.

Drive one and then get out and drive the other, however, and those differences are crystal clear … how much more front-end grip the M3 has … how much more pliant the CX-5’s ride quality is. It never ceases to surprise me.

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CAR magazine

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