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Drag Race: BMW M3 Competition v Volkswagen Golf R

September 28, 2021 by

A fully-fledged sports saloon versus a hopped-up hot hatch? Sounds like no contest, but this may not be as one-sided as you think…

The latest BMW M3 has shown that while BMW’s design team may persist with controversial styling elements, the M division engineers are on a total hot streak. The latest M3 saloon is not only searingly quick but it offers the kind of driving experience that sets it apart from just about any of its direct rivals.

But what about indirect rivals such as the new Volkswagen Golf R? In its latest iteration it pumps out 320hp and 420 Nm of torque. That’s only slightly more then the old car’s figures but VW’s incremental improvement strategy has resulted in a car that drives better and feels way quicker than these figures would suggest.

VW claims it’ll do 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds, but Mat’s already achieved a 0-60mph time of just 4.0-seconds. The addition of an electronically controlled limited-slip differential and grippy all-wheel drive clearly gives the Golf R immense traction off the line.

This is especially apparent when you compare it to something heavier, more powerful and rear-wheel drive such as the BMW M3. In Competition trim it produces 510hp, and while the impressive M differential will help you hold drifts for days on end, even it will struggle to put down the 650Nm of torque on offer off the line. It also weighs in at a not inconsiderable 1815kg – that’s 261kg more than the Golf R.

The 8-speed automatic in the BMW is no longer a dual-clutch unit (as it is in the Golf R), but it still offers very rapid shifts and the official figure for the 0-62mph sprint is pegged at 3.9-seconds.

With a standard VW Golf R costing £40,025 before options, the BMW M3’s starting price of £74,250 is in a completely different league, will its performance in a drag race justify the additional outlay? Let’s find out…

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