If this can match an Audi RS3, what will the new M2 be like?
At the beginning of July last year, we saw the reveal of the all-new and all-wheel-driven BMW M240i. Just a couple of weeks later, Audi responded by unveiling its latest iteration of the five-cylinder legend that is the RS3. Fully loaded, the former costs just over $60,000, but over at Audi, if you don't even choose a single option on the RS3, you'll be spending similar money. Does that higher asking price mean that the Audi is a better performance car? After all, it has a dedicated drift mode. Well, Sport Auto decided to let the hardware do the talking on track, comparing the two sports cars against the clock at Hockenheim, in Germany. Place your bets.
For reference, let's run through the claimed figures of each. BMW claims that the 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six under the hood of the M240i develops 382 horsepower, with this sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. This, says BMW, results in a 0-60 mph sprint time of just 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. Real-world tests have shown even more impressive figures, but let's turn our attention to the Audi now.
The RS3's 2.5-liter five-pot turbo develops a claimed 394 hp and powers both axles through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Thus, 0-60 is to be dispatched in 3.8 seconds, and if you tick the right box, its top speed jumps from 155 to 174 mph.
Interestingly, both cars offer 369 lb-ft of torque, but while the Bavarian weighs 3,871 pounds, the four-door Audi sedan barely tips the scales - relatively speaking - at 3,472 lbs.
Despite a 400-lb weight deficit, the results are almost identical. Astonishingly, both cars set a time of two minutes dead, with the Audi completing a lap one-tenth of a second quicker, at 2:00.3 while the Bimmer managed a time of 2:00.4. So how did the heavier, less powerful BMW come so close to claiming victory? Well, it seems that grip is the answer. The M240i was not running on its standard run-flat rubber, instead being shod with a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. The RS3, on the other hand, was NOT wearing its available Pirelli P Zero "Trofeo R" tires, with Bridgestone Potenza Sport rubber taking its place and causing a screeching racket throughout the hot lap.
Still, Audi will not be happy to see how close the mid-range performance Bimmer got. When the full-fat M2 arrives later this year, Ingolstadt may need to respond with an RS3 Plus. We live in hope.