- The BMW M2 narrowly beat the Audi RS3 in the drag race, despite the RS3’s initial acceleration advantage. The S58 M2’s more powerful power unit allowed it to overtake and win.
- The 2023 BMW M2 G87 uses the same S58 engine as the M3 and M4, but with a few tweaks. It makes 453 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, and offers a manual transmission option.
- The Audi RS3 stands out with its unconventional five-cylinder engine that produces 401 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. It also comes with Audi’s Quattro AWD system as standard for better traction and control. Both cars are competitively priced, with the M2 starting at $63,200 and the RS3 starting at $61,700.
German sports cars have created a legacy of their own, as have automakers BMW and Audi giving us some of the best cars ever.
Their next generation iterations of iconic models heat up compactness sports cars segment. The Audi RS3 has long been one of the few high-performance cars that can be a daily driver. BMW recently released the highly anticipated 2023 M2 G87, the latest in the M series. Fueling the rivalry, Audi launched a new Performance RS3 variant right after the release of the new BMW M2.
Recently, two compact sports cars were spotted in a drag race and the results were impressive.
The BMW M2 beat the Audi RS3, but just barely
Motorsport magazine shared a video on their YouTube channel pitting the BMW M2 against the Audi RS3 in a drag race. The RS3 lurched forward from the start, with all-wheel drive making the most of its capabilities. A lower curb weight than the M2 also helped the RS3 edge out its rival.
As the race progressed, the BMW M2 made quick headway and wasted no time in making up for the slight advantage the RS3 had. While it was an exciting watch, it wasn’t a surprise as under the hood of the M2 sits an S58 powerplant that produces 453 hp. That’s about 52 horsepower more than the Audi RS3.
Interestingly, despite the RS3 not only catching but winning, the M2 only narrowly won. It showed just how evenly matched both of these German sports cars are.
The BMW G2 has the same S58 engine as the M3, M4
Before diving into the finer details, let’s take a look at what the new 2023 BMW M2 G87 will bring. The M2 is most likely the last M car with a pure internal combustion engine, as future models could be either hybrid or all-electric.
Under the hood The M2 G87 has an S58 twin-turbo 3.0-liter straight-six engine. You’ll see the same powerplant in the M3 and M4, although it’s slightly tweaked for the M2. In the basic configuration, the 2023 M2 produces 453 hp. and 406 lb-ft of torque.
Speaking of transmissions, American BMW M2 models come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, which may impress purists. It is one of the few sports cars that still comes with a manual transmission option. Elsewhere, a six-speed manual transmission is optional along with a standard eight-speed automatic. Whichever you prefer, there’s no power penalty and you can enjoy 453 hp. regardless of the transmission selected.
While many sports cars are switching to AWD, the 2023 BMW M2 sticks to its rear-wheel drive roots. BMW hasn’t officially promised an AWD M2, but it could be a possibility. The M2 has an Active M rear differential that helps distribute power to the rear wheels.
The Audi RS3 has an unconventional engine
Audi has a reputation for producing high-performance cars, and the 2024 Audi RS3 lives up to that. What sets this mean machine apart is the choice of a five-cylinder engine at a time when most cars minimize the number of cylinders under the hood. With that, you get a 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbo engine with aluminum blocks and dual overhead cams capable of 401 ponies and 369 lb-ft of torque. That’s only up 1 hp, but about 15 lb-ft of torque over the 2022 RS3.
To harness all that power, Audi offers a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that allows it to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds. The RS3 has a governor-limited top speed of 155 mph, but when it hits the limit, it can hit 280 mph. The five-cylinder engine gives the RS3 a truly unique sound.
Audi has set itself the goal of providing all powerful cars with Quattro all-wheel drive. The RS3 comes standard with Audi’s torque split all-wheel drive system along with summer tires. But for adventure lovers, Audi suggests opting for the Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R track tires.
Both the Audi RS3 and the BMW M2 perform equally well
The manual M2 sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, while the automatic can do the same in 3.9 seconds if you opt for the M Driver’s Package. The speedometer needle can reach 155 mph, but the M Driver’s Package can increase that top speed to 177 mph.
Compared to previous generations, the new M2 is longer, wider and lower. Despite extra features like a carbon fiber roof, this car is still heavy, weighing in at around 3,700 pounds. The BMW still delivers an almost perfect 50-50 weight distribution.
The main attraction of the M2 is its cabin. The cabin looks sportier with carbon fiber elements, and it features a 12.3-inch fully digital, customizable digital unit and a 14.9-inch touchscreen to help the driver get all the information.
As for the interior, the design language of the Audi RS3 is consistent with its siblings, the A3 and S3. The RS3 interior is decorated with soft-to-the-touch premium materials, with the only difference being the front seats with more aggressive support. A projection display comes standard with high-mounted air vents located on the sides of the dashboard.
Standard equipment Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit displays relevant performance data thanks to the new RS Runway design. Additionally, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit also features overdrive, lap times, and acceleration from 0-60 mph, 0-125 mph, quarter mile, and eighth mile.
Both the M2 and RS3 are competitively priced
The M2 and RS3 are pretty much the same in the affordability department. The base price of the 2023 BMW M2 G87 is $63,200, which is a sweet deal considering its performance. This is much less than other performance coupes. The However, the 2024 Audi RS3 has a slightly more comfortable starting price of $61,700..
There is one more important remark. BMW M2 G87 rear-wheel drive. But this setup can be a bit temperamental, especially in these harsher winters. This is where the Audi RS3 gains another advantage over the M2 thanks to its Quattro All-Wheel Drive (AWD) setup.
Not only does this AWD magic help you get off to a quick start, as we saw in that race, but it also provides better traction. AWD distributes power to all four corners, providing better traction. So when the roads get icy or slippery, the RS3 helps you stay stable and in control.
In the M2 vs. RS3 battle, price is on their side. But ultimately the choice may come down to the type of driving thrill you’re after. You have BMW’s muscular inline-six mated to a manual gearbox against the symphony of the RS3’s five-cylinder engine with all-wheel drive. The conclusion about which of the two is better will be subjective in this case.