Track battles and lap times are cool and are what really tell you about which cars are fast and which aren’t. However, sometimes there’s just nothing like a good ole fashioned drag race. So that’s what Top Gear did with the BMW M3 Competition Package, Mercedes-AMG C63 S and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.

On paper, the Giulia should destroy the other two. With a 503 hp twin-turbo V6, an eight-speed automatic and a low curb-weight, should be the winner. The Mercedes-AMG also has 503 hp, from its mighty twin-turbo V8, and a nine-speed auto but it’s considerably heavier than the Alfa. While the BMW M3 Comp Pack is the lightest car here, and has the fastest-shifting gearbox, it only makes 444 hp, so it’s a bit outgunned. So on paper, the Alfa is king. Until you realize that the AMG has by far the most torque and more torque per kilo than the other two.

The BMW M3 does have the advantage with traction, though, as it’s the only car in the test with launch control. However, its launch control often just leads to smokey burnouts, rather than clean launches. So the M3 ends up spinning its wheels too much off the line and gets a slow launch. The Alfa gets a pretty good launch, even though it spins its wheels a bit, too. But none of them fire off the line like the AMG.

Once on the move, the AMG picks up pace like a locomotive and takes a lead it doesn’t relinquish. The Alfa starts to catch up but it can’t in time for the Affalterbach Bruiser to cross the quarter-mile first. The poor M3 is left quite far behind and in last place. While TG feels the Giulia is the better driver’s car, I guess there’s still no replacement for displacement in a drag race.