BMW knows variety is the spice of life and is offering the new M3 Sedan in both rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations with a choice between manual and automatic transmissions. You don’t have these multiple choices when buying an Audi RS5 Sportback as the performance car from Ingolstadt comes exclusively with Quattro and two pedals.

Daniel Abt, whose family owns the German tuning company Abt Sportsline and the namesake DTM and Formula E racing teams, had the opportunity to line up the speedy sedan from Bavaria against Audi Sport’s five-door liftback for a couple of drag races. The two cars are comparable in many ways as they both weigh just about the same and have 3.0-liter six-cylinder engines, with the obvious difference being the M3 Competition features an inline-six whereas the RS5 has a V6.

Looking strictly at the horsepower, torque, and weight figures, the M3 Sedan has the edge in this duel. It packs an extra 60 hp and 50 Nm (37 lb-ft) while being 40 kilograms (88 pounds) lighter. These figures should theoretically make it quicker in a drag race against the Sportback, but the BMW’s lack of xDrive cancels all those advantages over the AWD-equipped Audi.

In both drag races – first with cold tires and the second with the rubber in optimal temperature – the M3 Competition didn’t stand a chance against the RS5 Sportback. The Audi was substantially quicker off the line thanks to a more optimal distribution of power to the wheels. Had it been the xDrive model providing the much-needed grip, the outcome would’ve likely been a lot different.

We can see the M3 playing the catch-up game in both drag races, but it still wasn’t fast enough to cancel the RS5’s advantage at the start. The BMW did manage to win one fight as the two cars competed in a rolling race from around 37 mph (60 km/h) in which traction did not play such an important role. The M3 Competition pulled ahead right from the start and the Sportback was unable to keep up the pace.

[Source: Daniel Abt / YouTube]