BMW knows variety is the spice of life and offers the new M3 sedan in rear-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive configurations with a choice between manual and automatic transmissions. You don’t have these multiple choices when buying an Audi RS5 Sportback because Ingolstadt’s performance car comes exclusively with Quattro and two pedals.

Daniel Abt, whose family owns German tuning company Abt Sportsline and the namesake racing teams DTM and Formula E, had the opportunity to line up Bavaria’s fast sedan against Audi Sport’s five-door liftback for a few drag races. The two cars are comparable in many ways as they both weigh roughly the same and have 3.0-liter six-cylinder engines, the obvious difference being that the M3 Competition has an in-line six while the the RS5 has a V6.

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Looking strictly at the power, torque and weight figures, the M3 sedan has the edge in this duel. It develops an additional 60 horsepower and 50 Nm (37 lb-ft) while being 40 kilograms (88 pounds) lighter. Those numbers should theoretically make it faster in a drag race against the Sportback, but the BMW’s lack of xDrive negates all of those advantages over the Audi with all-wheel drive.

In both drag races – the first with cold tires and the second with optimum temperature rubber – the M3 Competition had no chance against the RS5 Sportback. The Audi was significantly faster off the line thanks to a more optimal distribution of power to the wheels. If this had been the xDrive model offering the much needed grip, the outcome would probably have been very different.

2018 New York Auto Show Pictures Audi RS5 Sportback 6 830x623

We can see the M3 playing the catch-up game in both drag races, but it still wasn’t fast enough to negate the RS5’s advantage at the start. The BMW managed to win a fight as the two cars faced off in a rolling race of around 60 km / h (37 mph) in which traction did not play such a big part. The M3 Competition won from the start and the Sportback couldn’t keep up.

[Source: Daniel Abt / YouTube]