The G80 BMW M3 is surprisingly fast. Why do I say “surprisingly” when it has 503 horsepower and a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic? Because even with its impressive claimed horsepower, it records performance metrics that seem like they should come from a car with at least 100 more horsepower. So what happens when someone puts it up against a car that does have 100 more horsepower—the BMW M8?
In this new video from Edmunds, the G80 BMW M3 50 Jahre takes on the BMW M8 Competition Coupe. On paper, the M8 has a bit of an advantage. Its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 makes 617 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. It’s about 300 pounds heavier than the M3 but it makes far more power than the M3’s 3.0-liter twin-turbo I6 with 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft. Both cars use automatic transmissions and all-wheel drive, though.
Edmunds’s test is interesting, too. They call it the “U-Drag” because it’s a drag race in the shape of a “U.” Simple enough. The cars first do a standing quarter-mile drag race but then, after crossing a quarter-mile, the have to pull a big U-turn and fire back down to the original starting line. That conducts four different tests in one: a standing quarter-mile, hard braking, grip/handling, and a rolling quarter-mile. So it helps get a better idea of which cars are faster, rather than a typical drag race. The test was also conducted twice, with a driver and lane swap, to ensure fair results. And the results are interesting.
In the video, you get a fully breakdown of both cars’ performance. Edmunds provides 0-60 mph times, quarter-mile times, lateral grip, and full race time figures. So you can see where each car’s strengths and weaknesses are, just how well each one performance in each phase, and why the winner won.
There’s no question that the BMW M8 is more powerful but is it actually faster in reality. It weights about 300 pounds more, which should affect both speed and braking, and it has a longer wheelbase so a tight turning circle is more challenging. So, since the BMW M3 is such an overachiever and seems to have an advantage in those other areas, this actually does seem like a very interesting race and the results might actually shock you. However, there really isn’t much of a loser here, as both cars are astonishingly quick and the races were both pretty close. I don’t know what BMW is feeding its Bavarian horses but they’re plenty strong.