Proof that power isn't everything.

Three cars that all have automatic transmissions and all-wheel drive competing in a drag race might seem like a fair fight, but one of them is actually very different than the other two. We’re talking about the AMG G63, which aside from the fact it lacks launch control, it also weighs just about as much as the moon. Access Mercedes’ website and you’ll find out the curb weight of the legendary off-roader is 2,650 kilograms.

Its hefty curb weight greatly affects the SUV’s performance off the line, as Mat Watson discovered when he pitted the boxy G against two relatively similar performance cars from the Volkswagen Group – the Audi RS3 Sportback and the Leon Cupra R in the more practical ST long-roof configuration. The former uses Ingolstadt’s glorious five-cylinder 2.5-litre turbo engine with 400 bhp and 354 pound-feet while the latter is an estate tuned by ABT to 350 bhp and 325 lb-ft from a 2.0-litre turbo four-banger.

Even though the mighty G had 585 bhp and 627 lb-ft and a great start, all that metal it had to carry took its toll in the drag race as the reputable SUV had to settle for second place, behind the Audi. The RS3 completed the standing quarter mile in 12.7 seconds, followed by the G63 slower by only a tenth of a second, while in third came the hot estate with a 13.1-second quarter mile.

With comfort mode enabled and the auto transmission in drive, Carwow’s long-term test vehicles then competed in a rolling race from 50 mph where the Audi shined by showing the strength of its five-cylinder engine and its lighter body compared to Affalterbach’s SUV. The lower-powered Leon Cupra was not able to keep up the pace despite benefiting from the ABT upgrade.

The test was then repeated with all cars in third gear while doing 50 mph, but the end result was just about the same. The Audi RS3 Sportback and AMG G63 were neck and neck in the beginning, but the hyper hatch eventually took the lead.

Carwow’s braking test at 70 mph had some obvious results, with the Mercedes dead last due to its hefty weight way higher than the two VAG cars. However, it wasn’t so far behind compared to the Cupra R ST, but the RS3 won this duel as well for a 4-0 result.