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-to-pay-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.