The BMW M3 has never really been considered a good winter driver. Throughout M3 history, high-powered engines and rear-wheel drive layouts have made them a tricky to drive once the weather gets cold. Instead, customers in cold climates preferred to buy Audis for their winter sporty needs, due to their Quattro all-wheel drive. However, now that the BMW M3 is offered with all-wheel drive, is it a new favorite winter weapon? Top Gear recently put the M3 up against some interesting competition to find out.

In this very interesting four-way comparison, Top Gear took the BMW M3 xDrive, Audi RS3 Sportback, Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS, and — for punishment — a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ. While the latter might be incredible on a dry road or circuit, just thinking about driving one on freezing mountainous roads is giving me anxiety.

All four cars in the test were all-wheel drive but had very different engines and layouts. The BMW M3’s 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged inline-six, with 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, made it the second most powerful car in the test, only behind the Raging Bull. Despite that, though, it was one of the slowest vehicles on the UK’s twisty winter roads. While it’s performance is immense on a dry road, and its all-wheel drive system can turn you into a hero on a track, it’s just not capable of wrangling all that power on light snow and freezing pavement, even with winter tires.

Instead, the Porsche 911 and Audi RS3 were the two best winter weapons up in the mountains. Of those two, it was actually the Audi RS3 that was deemed the best to drive. Its unflappable grip, reasonable amount of power, and compact size made it far more confidence inspiring than the other three cars. And while its steering was number than the Porsche’s it wasn’t any less engaging than the Bimmers.

It’s great that BMW offers xDrive on the M3, as it does make it usable in all year long. However, don’t expect it to be a proper winter performance weapon, it’s just not there yet.

[Source: Top Gear]