2020 BMW M4 vs. 2019 Mercedes SLC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The M4 offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The SLC only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the M4 and the SLC have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

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The M4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the SLC’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the M4 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the SLC.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 9 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

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The M4 has more powerful engines than the SLC:

Horsepower

Torque

M4 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

425 HP

406 lbs.-ft.

M4 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

444 HP

406 lbs.-ft.

SLC 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

241 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

AMG SLC 43 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

384 lbs.-ft.

AMG SLC 43 3.0 turbo V6

385 HP

384 lbs.-ft.

Transmission

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The M4 offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The SLC doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The M4 offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The SLC doesn’t offer an SMG.

The M4 Automatic’s optional launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The SLC doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the M4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the SLC:

M4

M4

SLC 300

AMG SLC 43

Front Rotors

15 inches

15.7 inches

12.7 inches

14.2 inches

Rear Rotors

14.6 inches

15 inches

11.8 inches

13 inches

The M4’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the SLC 300 are solid, not vented.

The M4 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The SLC doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the M4 has larger standard tires than the SLC (F:255/40R18 & R:275/40R18 vs. F:225/45R17 & R:245/40R17). The M4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the SLC (F:265/30R20 & R:285/30R20 vs. F:235/40R18 & R:255/35R18).

The M4’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the SLC 300’s standard 45 series front tires. The M4’s optional tires have a lower 30 series profile than the SLC’s optional 40 series front and 35 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the M4 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the SLC 300. The M4’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the SLC.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the M4’s wheelbase is 15 inches longer than on the SLC (110.7 inches vs. 95.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the M4 is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the SLC.

Passenger Space

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The M4 has standard seating for 4 passengers; the SLC can only carry 2.

The M4 Convertible has 41.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the SLC (89.9 vs. 48.8).

Cargo Capacity

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The M4 Convertible has a much larger trunk with its top down than the SLC with its top down (7.8 vs. 6.4 cubic feet). The M4 Convertible has a larger trunk with its top up than the SLC with its top up (11 vs. 10.1 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the M4’s trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The SLC doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

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The M4 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The SLC doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

On extremely cold winter days, the M4’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The SLC doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The M4 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the SLC.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW M4 offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The SLC doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The M4’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The SLC doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The BMW M4 comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Mercedes SLC isn’t available as a coupe.

Economic Advantages

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The M4 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the M4 will retain 54.18% to 57.02% of its original price after five years, while the SLC only retains 44.39% to 47.67%.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/21

The 4 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2014. The SLC has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The M3/M4 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 13 of the last 23 years. The SLC has never been an “All Star.”

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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