BMW M3 vs. Audi RS5….BMW M3 vs. Mercedes C63 AMG….BMW M3 vs. Cadillac CTS-V. And the list could continue. What these cars have in common? A lot of things and therefore automotive journalists have been having a field day comparing them in the past few years.
Therefore, we have nothing but admiration for the folks at MotorTrend who stepped out of their comfort zone and planned a head-t0-head showdown between the 2011 BMW M3 Coupe and the same year’s Ford Mustang GT.
Did we mention it was all done on the race track?
Despite losing to the M3, we have to hand it out to Ford, the GT is a true contender and an exceptional sporty car.
Let’s have a look at an excerpt from MT’s review.
“Now are you high or just stupid? An M3 against a Mustang GT? On a racetrack? Seriously, son, which one is it? High or stupid?”
Yes, we know how this sounds. And had we suggested this matchup just a few months ago, we would deserve more withering scorn than can be found in a week-long Judge Judy marathon.
Why? Because this Munich versus Motown matchup has never been done before. Not even considered because it just didn’t make sense. Sure, the M3 went V-8 in 2008, but that’s not the issue. The truth is, the Mustang GT was never good enough to challenge Bavaria’s finest. That is, until now.
Your doubt is understandable, but check the specs. For 2011, both rear-drive, four-seat coupes use all-aluminum V-8 engines with double-overhead camshafts tickling 32 valves. The M3’s 4.0-liter carryover makes 414 horsepower at 8300 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque at 3900 rpm. The Mustang’s all new 5.0-liter V-8 cranks out 412 ponies at 6500 rpm and 390 pound-feet at 4250 rpm. But the most compelling number is 0.2: the difference in power-to-weight ratio between the two. The Mustang carries 8.8 pounds per pony to the M3’s 8.6. And yet, at the test track, the 5.0 equals or betters the M3 in every performance category we measure. Both hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, but the Mustang is faster to the quarter mile by a tenth of a second and 0.7 mph-12.7 seconds at 111.6 mph. It also stops two feet shorter from 60 mph-a tie as far as we’re concerned-and the GT really shatters the M myth on the skidpad. America’s original ponycar manages to outgrip one of Germany’s most iconic sports cars to the tune 0.2 second through our figure eight and by 0.01 g in lateral acceleration.
For the definitive answer, we go to Randy’s times: 87.67 seconds in the BMW to 87.76 seconds for the Ford. That’s right, the difference between the fastest laps of the M3 and Mustang GT is, literally, less than an eye blink: 0.09 second, to be exact.
1ST PLACE: BMW M3
Did you blink and miss the M3’s onionskin advantage over the GT? Here’s a hint: It’s in the chassis, not underhood.
2ND PLACE: MUSTANG GT
Never has a loss felt so much like a win. From not once considered to full-blown contender, 5.0 officially puts the world on notice.