Top Gear: BMW M3 Competition Package vs. Audi RS5

BMW M3 | February 21st, 2011 by 45
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The famous car show Top Gear gives us the moment we have been waiting for quite some time now. A comparison between the 2011 BMW …

The famous car show Top Gear gives us the moment we have been waiting for quite some time now. A comparison between the 2011 BMW M3 Competition Package and the Audi RS5. This has been one of the most popular car comparisons in 2010 and several magazines took the time to review two of the fastest sporty premium cars out there.

The optional Competition Package for the E92 M3 Coupe was released in early 2010. The package lowers the M3 by about ten millimeters and offers a new set of 9 x 19“ alloy front wheels and 10 x 19“ Y spoke rear wheels. The upgraded M3 Coupe presents not only a leaner look, but chassis electronics modified specifically for even greater optimisation of dynamic response in both longitudinal and transverse directions. For a balanced whole, the EDC, including a specially developed sports mode, is tweaked precisely to these chassis modifications by both the grid controller and the DSC.

In the U.S., the ZCP Competition Package is available on the Coupe and Sedan models for $2,500.

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Before jumping into the entertaining video, let’s enumerate some of the technical specs of these two vehicles.

The M3 is powered by the S65B40 engine, a naturally aspirated, high revving 4-liter V8 (based on the S85B50 5-liter V10 that powers the E60/E61 M5 and the E63/E64 M6 to date) delivering 414 horsepower (309 kW; 420 PS) at 8,300 rpm and peak torque of 400 Nm (300 lb-ft) at 3,900 rpm.

Based on the A5 coupe, RS5’s 4.2-liter V-8 makes 450 hp at 8250 rpm – coincidentally, about 30 horsepower over the 4.0L V8 of the M3 – and maximum torque is 317 lb-ft, available between 4000 and 6000 rpm. The hand-built engine is direct-injected and closely related to the 420-hp V-8 which powers the R8 supercar.

Top speed is electronically governed at 155 mph or 174 mph, spec’d to your order.

Fast scroll after the 4:00 mark.

The result? The BMW M3 Coupe is still king and at about a second faster than the RS5, it remains the first choice among enthusiasts looking for the ultimate thrill which can still be found in the ….Ultimate Driving Machine.

45 responses to “Top Gear: BMW M3 Competition Package vs. Audi RS5”

  1. BMW_M3_Comp_owner says:

    BOOM. Sorry about that Audi. M3 still reigns supreme.

  2. Tom says:

    “the m3 is the best, and thats the end of it” < yep, that sounds about right. awesome videos!

  3. “The M3 is the best and that’s the end of if!” Love the M3 ZCP! Great vids!

  4. Laszlo says:

    the Audi could have been faster driven by a professional driver, but nevertheless it did under-steer like a pig. I hate understeer and unless you opt for an M models, thats all you get in a BMW as well.

    the Audi looks and feels more modern, more of a street ride but the M3 can beat it with the less weight and better suspension geometry. Does it matter on the street ? Absolutely not. tenths of a seconds only matter to professionals. Most drivers will leave both cars in auto mode and roll in the traffic at 55-65mph and dream about going 100-120mph. in this case totally pointless both of them.

  5. Auday says:

    Typical Clarkson, just to prove his point that the ZCP is not worth it, he doesn’t mention that the M3 lap was in dry while the ZCP was in wet.

  6. Les says:

    Looking at the video. Both cars cross the line at the same time. For a 1 second difference, at 70mph, Thats a distance of 70 feet.


    • Heddlu_Cymru M5 says:

      They’ve edited the video actually, so that Jeremy can commentate on what’s going on and how’s the car reacts between each other through the corners.

  7. Les says:

    Both cars are fantastic. In my head there is no clear winner but personally, i prefer the AWD to RWD.

    I am trading in my BMW for an Audi because i am tired of hair raising wet cornering and being stuck in the snow. Audi has a higher quality interior, less common and even the video shows, barely anything between them (despite the dubiously claimed 1 second difference, even though both cars are neck and neck).

    Go and watch the Auto Express video comparison of the M3 and RS5.

    The M3 may remain king in Clarksons eyes, and heck i might even trade the RS5 in for one later in the year. But thats fine for me. As it’ll keep the M3 fanboys from switching over to Audi!

    • Heddlu_Cymru M5 says:

      Every people has their own opinion, not many likes the Audi and not many likes the BMW. You like it, you get it. If it suits your driving style or local condition, go and get it. Easy… As you’ve stated, you prefer AWD more than RWD so go and get an AWD car that suits you. This is very easy ;)

    • FreudeKing says:

      You are an idiot.

    • Mateo says:

      I saw that vid! RS5 has carbon brakes! btw. RS5 costs 10000 euros more than M3!!!

  8. peter says:

    Was there ever any doubt the M3 would rule.

  9. Daniel Hoang says:

    Even when the RS5 has more power and AWD, The M3 continues reign around corners.

  10. Roland Renno says:

    BMW builds the best cars, Audi should shut up and bow.

    BMW Power

  11. Dennis says:

    I’ve said it before and say i’ll say it again… BMW. IS. KING.

  12. Otto says:

    “the 420-hp V-8 which powers the R8 supercar”
    The R8 V8 has been upgraded and is now 430 bhp.

    I can’t watch the video due to “copyrights bla bla”. Was the RS5 fitted with the optional rear LSD?

    • wazon8 says:

      10 hp more? Most likely they’ve simply written new software for this engine. Mechanically it could stay intact. It’s reasonable to say that it’s the very same engine. Or you know something about a bit more extensive changes.

      • Otto says:

        I’d say it would be more about exhaust collector or pipe rather than new software as the torque figures remained the same.
        I would have expected more torque with same hp, cause the 420 version lacks a bit of it at low revs. And that’s something software can do better than just optimising the exhaust flow.
        In another hand the max hp was obtained at 7800 rpm in the 420 version and it’s now 7900 in the 430 one.

  13. fredy schiftan says:

    Audi VW why do they compare ? BMW has been for more than 40 years the inventor of the sport Sedans( Audi what audi ?)as soon VW bought them they have followed BMW all the way Models, car numbers and so many things, we loose track of them , we have to remember the real brand that started it all, and practically saved them by inventing the Sport Sedan !! I wish they had put a patent on it !!!!

    • Otto says:

      You’re smart.
      Could you please explain why BMW introduced AWD 20 years after Audi in its sedans and why Audi has better petrol engines (total hp or yield) than BMW?
      Ok, BMW has better Diesel engines…
      Please explain also why Audis have better built quality than BMW and MB.

      • wazon8 says:

        Since when has Audi had better pethrol engines than BMW?

        • Otto says:

          RS3 : 2.5L, 340 bhp 1M : 340 bhp but with 500 more cm3
          RS5 : 4.2L, 450 bhp M3 GTS : 450 bhp but with 200 more cm3
          RS6 : 5.0L 580 bhp M5 5.0L 507 bhp (ok, the RS6 is a twin turbo, the M5 is NA)

          You could compare the S6 (435 bhp) with the M5 but the Lambo V10 has been deliberately debuffed. It was worth 520 bhp in the Gallardo for the same displacement as the M5.
          I agree that the dying BMW I6 NA in his 272 bhp version still rules but for how long?

          • wazon8 says:

            Comparing Gallardo with M5 is at best inapt. 13 hp makes nearly no difference when you have over 500hp engine. And it’s even better for BMW, since they had to create a car with some amount of reliability. After all some of M5 drivers treat this care as everyday car. It’s not what Lambo had to care about too much. Average milage per year of Gallardo is surely smaller than that of M5. BTW, it’s well known that one can up to 50hp by changing software and exhaust in M5 with no ingeration into engine mechanics.

            You talk about engines as if they reduced to ratio between capacity and max. output. That’s crazy. Other important factors are max. torgue, range between max. torgue and max. output, max. rev. speed, smoothness of engine and its resposiveness.
            So, let me back to 4.2 450hp Audi RS5 engine and M3 GTS’ 4.4 litre. Same max. output. That’s true. But there is small difference (10Nm) of max. torgue in favour of GTS, wider range between max. torgue and max. output by 300rpm goes to M3 GTS eighter. I haven’t heard that RS5’s engine is the most responsive in its class, have you? But I have heard number of times that M3’s V8 is such an engine. So, M3 gives you (a little bit) more torgue, wider range and better responsiveness. Do you still want to claim that it’s better because of producing the same amount of power, while having 200ccm less?
            As for Inline 5 turbo charged RS3’s engine vs. 1M 340hp inline6: first thing to notice here is that inline6 in 1M has artificially limited max. output. The reason is pretty simple. With above 370hp engine this car would be too close to M3 and could steal some buyers of more expensive M3. But we’ve learned here that this inline6 exists as test version for next M3 and produces 450hp. In your terms, 450hp from 3000ccm. But still I maintain that 1M’s as it is right now engine is better than RS3’s engine. Why? 1M’s engine has 50Nm of toruge more thanks to overboost function. Moreover, in 1M’s engine turbo lag is reduced, contrary to that Audi has chosen to install one big turbo charger that produce 1.2 bar of pressure and suffer from turbo lag. And finally, there is a huge difference between inline5 and inline6. First runs rough, second is smooth, has no free moments. So, you prefer an engine because of its better max. output capacity ration, I prefer 1M’s engine as it’s, because of more toruge, unnoticable turbo lag and smootheness of run.

      • Mateo says:

        bmw xDrive exist in e34 and e30 bmw’s! that was almost 30 years ago!
        petrol engines are made with Lambo!
        better build quality is TRADEMARK OF VAG group!

  14. Otto says:

    wazon, I’m not comparing Gallardo and M5, I’m comparing engines.
    Btw, do you really believe that a car twice the price of a M5 would be noticeably less reliable than the BMW?
    You right about torque range though. I’ll be test driving and RS3 soon, I’ll tell you.
    1M and M3 GTS have higher torque due to higher displacement (I picked up the GTS cause of similar output despite that GTS is a limited edition).
    Note that having a RS3 more powerful than a S4 didn’t bother Audi. Not to mention that the I5 is seen more and more in Concept cars with 408 hp (e.g. Audi Quattro Concept which might go to production soon).
    Finally, about turbo lag, I’ve read that the 1M suffers – a bit – from it, just like every turbo charged engine, unlike the supercharged ones.
    Now how many drivers would enjoy the tad bit extra of whatever figures when comparing a MB, Audi or BMW? and where? On their way back home?
    Just to say that indeed the choice between them is more emotional than objective and that BMW is not alone at the top anymore.

  15. Artmic says:

    I find that the m3 is better than the rs5 on the track, no wonder the 335 was better than an S5 on the track, how can you compete with an overweight car? THey should have slimmed down the audi by 200+lbs and made sure it doesn’t have weird torque steer moments.

  16. Merlin says:


  17. Ill take the Audi. Its better made better looking and drives very well too.

  18. CARFAN says:

    more than half the people that buy these cars dont know how to drive them, they have no problems doing only 70mph on the motorway pity these cars are sold to those types of guys who will never use them properly.

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