As great as the iconic BMW M3 has always been over the years, it’s never really been a Porsche 911-fighter. While it’s always had similar levels of power and performance, the M3 was always much less expensive, more practical and usable (even the Coupes), and easier to live with everyday. The Porsche 911 is a bespoke sports car that historically delivered driving thrills above the M3’s capability, which is why it was always far more expensive. Now, though, the price gap between the two cars is closer than every before, so what happens when they go head-to-head?

In this new comparison test from Car Magazine, the BMW M3 Competition takes on the Porsche 911 Carrera S. Of course, the BMW M4 would be the closer competitor to the 911 but the M3 is mechanically almost identical to the M4, so this should be a fair comparison either way. Yes, the 911 Carrera S is still more expensive but, with options, we’ve seen the M3 exceed even the 911’s price tag. So the two are closer than ever before.

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On paper, the BMW M3 has more firepower. Its 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged inline-six makes 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Compare that to the Porsche 911 Carrera S’ 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged flat-six with 443 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. Both cars used automatic gearboxes in this test; the BMW’s an eight-speed ZF auto and the Porsche’s an eight-speed dual-clutch; and both were rear-wheel drive. Though, the 911 is available with a manual and no loss of power, while the manual BMW M3 only comes with 473 horsepower and isn’t even available in some markets.

While the M3 has a power advantage, the Porsche 911 has an inherent chassis advantage. Not only is it several hundreds of pounds lighter but it has more mechanical grip at the back end, due to its rear-engine layout, and it’s built as a bespoke sports car. The M3, remember, starts life as a humble 318i. However, the new BMW M3 is closer to the 911, in terms of driving dynamics, than ever before. Sure, the 911’s steering is a bit sweeter, its gearbox is more enjoyable to use, and it’s every bit as fast as the M3, despite being down on power.

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So which one is deemed to be the better driver’s car? Check out the comparison test from Car Mag because it’s not only worth your read but it has a surprising ending.

[Source: Car Magazine]