It’s the age-old question: BMW or Audi? We’d argue there is no generally accepted right answer since some will always go with an M car from Bavaria while others will prefer the RS from Ingolstadt. A quick drag race isn’t enough to accurately demonstrate which car is faster, but we’ll be honest and admit we are suckers for a good ol’ quarter-mile showdown.

For its latest car shootout, South African magazine CAR decided to line up the M5 against the RS6 at the drag strip to see which one is quicker off the line. Some would argue the two cars are technically not direct rivals since it would’ve made more sense for the M5 LCI to fight the RS7 Sportback rather than the wagon.

In a perfect world, the journalists would’ve been able to borrow an M5 Touring from BMW, but that car sadly died many moons ago with the E61. At least, we are finally getting an M3 Touring later this year, so not all hope is lost.

Mind you, this is no ordinary M5 but rather the hotter Competition specification. It’s substantially lighter than its adversary with the Four Rings badge by carrying around 180 kilograms (397 pounds) less if we’re comparing their unladen weights (without driver). Both rock V8s, all-wheel drive, and automatic transmissions, but there are some differences in terms of horsepower and torque.

The twin-turbo 4.4-liter of the M5 Competition produces 617 horsepower and 750 Newton-meters (551 pound-feet) of torque. How does it stack up against the RS6 Avant’s smaller twin-turbo 4.0-liter unit? The BMW has a substantial 26-hp advantage, but it’s down on torque by 50 Nm (37 lb-ft) compared to the Audi.

Juicy numbers aside, an M5 going up against the RS6 is always worth our time, even though the drag race’s outcome is predictable to some extent. There’s not much of a competition (get it?) between the two as the Bimmer was significantly quicker off the line thanks to its launch control system, and continued to gradually extend its lead before crossing the finish line.

With Audi suggesting the RS6 Avant will be going down the plug-in hybrid route while reports state the next M5 will also be a PHEV, future duels between the two could be substantially different due to the electric boost. In the meantime, those who can afford the midsize luxury machines from Germany can enjoy their “pure” V8s.

[Source: CAR / YouTube]