Drag racing a car that’s over 20 years old with one of the most powerful hot hatches you can buy today doesn’t seem like a terribly good idea for the old timer, does it? And yet, the guys from CarWow did exactly that with incredibly surprising results. They pitted a BMW E36 328i Coupe against a Hyundai i30 N, two cars that couldn’t be more different, with over 20 years between them.
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We should mention that the BMW was tuned but not to extreme lengths. Back when it was new, the 328i’s 2.8-liter 6-cylinder engine used to make 190 HP and 280 Nm (210 lb-ft) of torque. Those were decent figures for the late 90s and that was the most powerful non-M E36 you could get. Over the years, that power figure would’ve dropped but with the ECU tune the car received, it now pushes 228 HP according to CarWow and the dyno run they put the car through.
On the other side of the drag strip we have a bone stock 2018 Hyundai i30 N. The hot hatch is FWD unlike the BMW, has a 2-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine good for 275 HP and starts off with the first chance here. The problem is, both cars are manuals and the way the drivers change gear will play an important role here. Matt’s gearbox work could’ve been better if you ask me, while the BMW simply shoots off the line.
In the other two tests, the E36 didn’t do so well. The rolling race was won by the Hyundai thanks to its higher torque while the braking test also made the Korean car a winner. Nevertheless, for a car that’s 20 years old and was never sold as a ‘high-performance’ model, the BMW E36 328i did admirably, being ever so slightly behind the i30 in all the tests, including braking.