In this race of equals, there is a clear champion.
Consider for a moment the Audi S3. With 310 bhp driving all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, it's not a slow car. This holds true for the current 2020 model as well as the previous-gen version from 2017. In the case of the two cars featured here, it really holds true because both cars have the same turbocharged 2.0-litre mill making the same power, going through the same gearbox.
In other words, this S3 generational drag race should be a dead heat. But it's not. Mostly, anyway.
Yes, both the cars here have identical powertrains. However, the 2020 version is a bit heavier, weighing in at 1,575 kilograms (3,472 pounds) versus 1,445 kg (3,186 lbs) for the 2017 model. That's a fairly sizeable difference that, in part anyway, can be attributed to the particulate filter system used on the new car. As such, the old Audi enters this drag race battle with a distinct disadvantage in weight. You probably know what happens from here.
Or do you? This video features three races, one from a standstill and two from a roll. Yes, the action is intensely close, but to some surprise, the new Audi eventually pulls ahead of the old despite its weight disadvantage. After losing just a bit of ground at the launch, the 2020 S3 ever-so-slowly creeps forward to cross the finish line roughly a half-car length in front. It's indeed a very interesting outcome.
In such a close race there could be several factors that give either car a slight advantage, from air pressure in the tyres to a difference in fuel quality. The Carwow video concludes that, to offset losses from the particulate filter, Audi remapped the 2020's engine to provide more midrange power. That may or may not be true, but it could certainly be possible.
As for the two roll races, we'll let the video do the talking but we'll say this much. The new S3 doesn't seem the least bit bothered with a bit of extra weight around the waist.