Typically, you don’t take a 503 horsepower performance SUV with low-profile tires and a low ride height off-road, never mind two of them. However, Carwow’s Mat Watson enjoys unusual comparison tests and this one is no different. In his latest video, Watson takes the BMW X3 M Competition and Porsche Macan GTS off-road to see which is best. The answer is shocking.
First let’s start with what these cars are. The BMW X3 M Competition packs a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six with 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. It has an eight-speed auto and a rear-biased all-wheel drive system that uses an electronically controlled clutch pack to engage it. Not exactly the idea setup for off-roading. The Porsche Macan GTS isn’t much different, with its 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6, making 434 horsepower and 405 lb-ft. It has a seven-speed dual-clutch auto and its own rear-biased all-wheel drive system. Both cars have aggressive road tires and big wheels. Neither is meant to off-road.
However, on a decently challenging off-road course, both cars completed every obstacle with relative ease. Of course, a Land Rover Defender, Jeep Wrangler, or Toyota Land Cruiser would have crushed the same course far easier but the two Germans performed well for what they are.
The Porsche was at more of a disadvantage, though. Its lower ride height and lack of power, compared to the BMW, meant that it had a worse chance of winning. Which was evident from the start. During an uphill drag race on a dirt path, the BMW X3 M beat the Macan GTS handily. Not only is it more powerful but its launch control system seemed to work better on the loose surface. Not everything went the BMW’s way, though. The Macan GTS actually comes with an off-road mode, which helps to calibrate throttle response, braking, and shift points to make it better off the beaten path.
Both cars traded wins as the tests went on but neither car DNF’d on any of them, which impressed Watson’s off-road spotter. Remember, both cars are high-performance SUVs, designed for on-road fun, not off-road trails. As Watson mentions, though, both brands call them SUVs, so if they want to use that name, the cars better be able to back it up and it actually seems that both of them car. Though, to quote a so-terrible-it’s-good ’80s movie, there can only be one. And that one that does win is actually a bit surprising.