Can the petrol-powered BMW beat the two hybrids?

Automakers continue the transition to fully electric vehicles, and hybrids are the stepping stone. Today, hybrids are available across body styles, though hybrid crossovers, including plug-in models, are proving popular. Volvo has the XC60 Polestar, and Audi has the Q5 E. You have conventional crossovers like BMW X3 M40i, too. To test the hybrids against a conventional powertrain, Carwow hit the airstrip to pit the three to some drag races.

The BMW is the least powerful crossover of the trio with its turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six engine making 354 bhp (263 kilowatts) and 368 pound-feet (500 Newton-metres) of torque. The Audi sports a turbo 2.0-litre paired with an electric motor that makes 367 bhp (273 kW) and 368 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque. The Volvo packs the most punch, making 405 bhp (302 kW) and 497 lb-ft (675 Nm) of torque.

The standing-start drag race had the BMW taking first, getting and maintaining an early lead over the other two, with a 13.4-second quarter-mile time. The Volvo took second at 13.6 seconds with the Audi 0.1 second behind the XC60. A rolling-start race had the Volvo taking first, followed by the BMW and Audi. However, a second rolling-start race with the gearboxes set to manual and the drive mode in Sport had the Audi winning with BMW taking second. The Volvo trailed the Germans.

Electric motors are great for performance, but they come at a cost – weight. That gives the BMW a significant advantage over the other two, especially when it comes to the brake test at the end of the video. The added tech in the Audi and Volvo also comes with a price premium over the BMW, though price parity between hybrids and conventional should happen in the coming years. Until then, though, those wanting quickness in their crossover have a lot of choices.