This is an unusual comparison but one I’m thankful Autocar did. For ages, if you wanted a fast, do-it-all performance car that could be used year round, you bought an Audi. Audi Sport models, such as the new Audi RS3, were always the best Swiss Army Knife, all-season weapons and the cars of choice for enthusiasts that live in rough winter climates. However, now that the BMW M3 sports xDrive all-wheel drive, those same customers can choose BMW. But, the real question now is: which is better?
In this new video from Autocar, we get to see the new BMW M3 Competition xDrive take on the Audi RS3 Sedan, which is the newest sports car from Audi. While the two cars don’t exactly line up, as the M3 is more expensive, more powerful, and bigger, they both do the same thing — go very fast, all the time, even when the weather is rough. So which is best?
First, let’s talk specs. The BMW M3 Competition xDrive makes 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque from its 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged I6 engine. The Audi RS3 Sedan makes 401 horsepower and 369 lb-ft from its 2.5 liter inline-five. The Bimmer uses an eight-speed auto, while the Audi gets a seven-speed dual-clutch. BMW’s xDrive is a rear-wheel drive-based system that can switch its front axle off if the driver so chooses. While the Audi RS3 uses an all-new front-drive-based all-wheel drive system, with a very clever rear diff, that has a Drift mode which can send 100 percent of the power to the back axle.
Both cars are quick and both cars are fun. What’s interesting is that the RS3 can actually sort of challenge the M3, now. A comparison like this a couple of years ago would have been laughable but Audi has made the most fun driving RS3 ever and it actually handles with a rear bias.
Obviously, the M3 has a natural advantage; it’s built on a more premium chassis, has a more premium cabin, and is rear-drive biased from the start. The RS3 is a punchy little thing, though, and certainly punches above its weight grade. Plus, it’s cheaper. So which one wins? Watch the video to find out.