This is the first generation of all-wheel drive M3 and the BMW purists are still in their acclimation phase. While cars like the BMW M5 and M8 — which are all-wheel drive-only — did help BMW fans get used to the idea of all-wheel drive M cars, the M3 is sort of a sacred machine for the M Division-faithful. It’s supposed to be the pure M car, the one dedicated to drivers who care about chassis balance and precision above all else. However, this new BMW M3 xDrive, while admittedly not the purest M3 of all, is a brilliant performance machine, as evidenced by this new video.
In the video, YouTuber Joe Achilles pits his own rear-wheel drive BMW M3 Competition against the all-wheel drive BMW M3 Competition xDrive in a drag race. We all know which car is faster — it’s the M3 xDrive. With its extra grip, the M3 xDrive can launch far better than the standard car, so it’s no surprise that it’s faster. It’s seeing how much faster that’s surprising.
Both cars have identical power specs. They both use the same 3.0 liter twin-turbo I6 to make 503 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. They also both use an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The main differences, obviously, are their drivetrains but also their weights. The xDrive model is a bit heavier, due to the added running gear, but its added grip is able to overcome that weight advantage.
In addition to its added traction, the BMW M3 xDrive has another advantage in drag races — gearing. In the rear-wheel drive car, launch control starts in second gear, as just the rear tires alone can’t handle all of the torque on launch in first gear. The xDrive car can handle first gear, though, which allows it to launch far harder. And that’s noticeable in this video.
No offense to Achilles’ rear-drive car but it got lunched by the BMW M3 xDrive, which seemed to sprint away from it. It honestly wasn’t even fair. Achilles, though, is a great sport and laughs as the xDrive call pulls away with ease.
Of course, drag racing is only a very small aspect of BMW M3 ownership, as most M3 owners typically prioritize handling and dynamics. However, the performance of the xDrive model is undeniable, purist or not. Click below to also see our own drag race between the BMW M4 RWD and M4 xDrive.