While both BMW and Audi have hotter and faster compact cars in their respective lineups nowadays (read M2 and RS3), their M135i and S3 still hold up on their own.
The only way this drag race was any fairer was if the S3 also showed up in hatchback form, but in terms of performance, on paper, this race looks balanced, so let’s set aside the exterior dimensions and focus on power, torque and weight.
First, let’s run through these exact versions, shall we? The facelifted M135i in question comes with the 8-speed automatic transmission yet without the xDrive system, which generally shaves 0.2 seconds off its 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time.
The S3 Sedan, on the other hand, is backed up by its quattro system and also features an automatic transmission, namely the 6-speed S tronic – not as quick as what BMW has going for it, but not too far behind either. Power-wise, the BMW has a slight edge with 326 PS to the Audi’s 300 PS, but a not so slight edge in the torque department. In fact, it’s a pretty big one at 450 Nm (331 lb-ft) compared to the S3’s 380 Nm (280 lb-ft).
So what else? Ah, weight. Here we’re looking at a tie between the two, both tipping the scales at roughly 1,520 kg (3,350 lbs), which is good for building up suspense when it comes to drag racing. The problem is that the BMW looks to have a clear advantage, despite the Audi’s all-wheel drive system.
Without giving too much away, let’s just say that that slippery tarmac on the Killarney Raceway does weigh into the equation quite heavily.
Also, while both cars get off the line using launch control, this race quickly becomes a battle of grip as both these cars try to dart towards 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds.