If the brand-new F90-generation BMW M5 didn’t already prove the merits of all-wheel drive, this video might do it. When it comes to straight-line speed, all-wheel drive cars simply have an edge over any two-wheel drive car. They can put more power to the road, therefore are almost always faster off the line. That’s precisely why BMW went all-wheel drive in the new M5, as it just has too much power for just its rear wheels. But that doesn’t mean that only massive horsepower cars can benefit from all-wheel drive. In this drag race between the BMW M2 and Audi RS3, we learn this.
The BMW M2 is a fast car. With 365 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque from its turbocharged 3.0 liter I6 engine, the M2 can get from 0-60 mph in just over four seconds. However, it isn’t the fastest car in the segment. That title belongs to the Audi RS3. While it makes more power, 400 hp from its turbocharged 2.5 liter I5 engine, it makes less torque, with 354 lb-ft. And being that torque is really what gets you off the line, the reason the RS3 is faster is not because of what’s under its hood but how much of its power and torque are getting to the road.
As a proper M car should be, the BMW M2 is rear-wheel drive. So all 365 horses are transmitted to the road via just two patches of rubber. That means it spins its wheels quite a bit, wasting time. However, the Audi RS3 is all-wheel drive, which allows it to make the most of its power.
With both cars sporting dual-clutch gearboxes and launch control, they set out on a drag race. With a proper racing driver in the BMW and Cars.co.zo’s Ciro De Sienna in the Audi, they both do their best launch. In the first run, the RS3 beats the M2 by a pretty significant margin. However, the Bimmer had a weird launch and its launch control is frustrating to us. So they lined them up again for a second go. The BMW was launched at a lower rpm the second go-around, in the hopes it would spin its wheels less.
While the second launch was better for the BMW M2, it still lost the race by a decent margin. The second time around, the BMW M2 hit 0-100 km/h in 4.3 seconds and did the quarter-mile in 13.17 seconds. Comparatively, the Audi RS3 ran a 4.1 second 0-60 mph time and a 12.9 second quarter-mile. So it’s quit a bit faster.
The second test for these two cars will be a handling test on a circuit, which is likely where the BMW M2 will make up some ground. However, in terms of which car is fastest in a straight line, it’s the Audi RS3.