There’s going to be a debate about which G80 BMW M3 Competition is best for some time — rear-wheel drive or xDrive all-wheel drive. Being the first-ever M3 to be offered with all-wheel drive, there’s some natural hesitancy among old-school enthusiasts that feel all-wheel drive will ruin the purity of the M3. However, more open-minded enthusiasts appreciate its higher levels of grip and performance. Determining which is best can be tricky, especially when trying to sway any minds. In this new video from Joe Achilles, we get to see both cars and try to determine a winner.
What’s interesting about this test is that Achilles actually owns the rear-wheel drive BMW M3 Competition in this video. He ordered it before the M3 even went on sale and took delivery at launch. He’s also spent several thousands of miles in his car in a very short time, so he knows it very well. So can xDrive all-wheel drive sway his mind?
Both are are almost identical under the skin. They both use the exact same 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged inline-six that makes 503 horsepower (510 PS) and 479 lb-ft (650 Nm) of torque. That engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, as it’s the only transmission available for both cars. Obviously, their drivetrains are different — one has xDrive all-wheel drive and the other is rear-drive only. The only major difference, mechanically, is that, during launch control, the rear-wheel drive model launches in second gear, as first gear is too much for just two tires, while the xDrive M3 launches in first.
From driving the standard rear-drive M3 Competition for so long, Achilles wondered why an xDrive model would even exist, as the standard car has so much traction. Having driven it myself, I mostly agree — even the standard car has a ton of traction. However, the xDrive M3 just finds traction where the rear-drive car doesn’t, allowing it to be far quicker in most circumstances. Yet, it never feels any worse and has the exact same steering feel and balance. So which does Achilles prefer? Check it out.