Three 3.0-litre diesels in a straight-line acceleration test.

Diesel fuel may not be hugely popular in some markets such as the U.S., however, it still accounts for over 40 percent of new car sales in the UK and even half in Germany, France, Spain, and other countries. When it comes to performance, of course, not many of us think diesel but there are compression ignition models on the market that are quite potent. And here are three of them in a direct drag race.

Carwow’s latest video features three of the most powerful mainstream diesel cars on sale today. These are the BMW 840d, Mercedes-Benz E400d, and Audi A8 50 TDI. While the designations seem pretty different, all three cars rely on 3.0-litre diesel engines.

But let’s see the numbers in detail. The Bavarian grand tourer comes with a straight-six unit with 320 bhp, while the two-door Merc has an identical engine type delivering 340 bhp. The A8 is the only saloon in this comparison and the only car to use a V6 engine from the trio – it has “just” 286 bhp. All cars are all-wheel drive and have automatic gearboxes.

Well, on paper, it doesn’t sound pretty exciting. However, the high levels of torque all three cars have make the drag race pretty interesting. And, what’s even more surprising, the exhaust sound these machines produce is quite nice.

Of course, we are not here to ruin the fun of watching the action from the video at the top of this page. We’ll just mention that more power doesn’t always mean better acceleration times – as we all know, several other factors play a major role in these kinds of races.Watch the video and tell us in the comments section below do you find the diesel power attractive.