Watch the Cadillac ATS-V Battle the Mercedes-AMG C63 S on Head2Head

Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz think their newest sports sedans can topple the mighty BMW M3, but before they have the chance to take on the benchmark, Jonny Lieberman wants to find out which of the two sedans is best. On the latest episode of Head2Head, the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V sedan stacks up against the 2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 S.

The story begins at the test track, where the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V posts shorter braking distances and a quicker figure-eight lap than the 2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 S. But that’s not enough to decide which of these cars is a favorite. Lieberman likes the muscled, aggressive looks of the ATS-V on the outside, for instance, but finds the plain interior and annoying capacitive-touch controls a letdown. As for the C63 S? “From the outside, not a good-looking car,” Lieberman says, although he says it’s a, “totally different experience once you get inside this car” and appreciate the finely-built cabin.

2016 Cadillac ATS V Mercedes AMG C63 S Head2Head 2

The 2016 Cadillac ATS-V also gets dinged for the flat exhaust note from its 464-hp, 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 in the 2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 S may sound much better, but Lieberman finds the car’s optional carbon-ceramic brakes don’t impress him as much as the Cadillac’s steel brakes. That’s not to say it’s not a serious performer, however: “This car is an iron fist in an iron glove,” says Lieberman of the C63. “It’s just brutal.”

Randy Pobst takes some laps at the race track to further see how much performance separates the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V and the 2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 S. He really likes the Cadillac’s communicative chassis but finds its brakes a little soft; in the C63 S, Pobst lauds the brakes but finds the car can’t put its power to the road as well as the ATS-V. The difference is closer than you might guess, but you’ll have to watch the full video review to see which sports sedan comes out on top.