Compact crossovers don’t often excite the amygdala, but automakers have attempted to sprinkle them with a bit of pizzazz. That’s how we get things like the Volkswagen T-Roc R, Audi SQ2, and BMW X2 M35i. They’re otherwise ho-hum family vehicles, but a few tweaks and more power turn them into compelling offerings. The three feature similar specs, so Carwow pitted them against each other in a series of drag races.

All three use a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine. The Audi and VW both make the same 300 bhp (223 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-metres) of torque. Those two, which share the same underpinnings, pair the mill with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and all-wheel drive. The BMW’s engine makes a bit more power, 306 bhp (228 kW) and 331 lb-ft (450 Nm) of twist. It, too, has all-wheel drive, though an eight-speed automatic transfers the power.

The similarities in performance check out on the concrete – all three completed the quarter-mile race in 13.4 seconds. However, it didn’t start as an even one. The BMW got the best start off the line, taking an early lead, but slowly the Audi and VW reeled it in before the three crossed the finish line. A pair of rolling races, starting at 50 miles per hour (80 kilometres per hour), highlights the differences between the models. The VW takes an early lead only for the BMW to reel it in at 130 mph (209 kph), which takes the W and leaves the Audi in the dust.

One differentiator between the three is their price. The Audi and VW are close – £37,370 and £38,450, respectively. But the BMW is far more expensive at £44,234. Yes, it’s a smidge quicker than its competitors, with a bit more power, too, but the three recorded the same quarter-mile time. Also, how often would one cruise above 130 mph, where the BMW shines? Not often enough where one should use that metric as the deciding factor when buying a car.