Will the turbocharged, naturally aspirated, or supercharged engine come out on top?

Automakers may offer products that compete in the same segment, but each goes about delivering a product in their own way. Just look at these high-performance German estates – the BMW M5, Audi RS6, and Mercedes-AMG E55 – which Carwow assembled for a drag race. One is naturally aspirated, while the other two use forced induction – one turbocharged and the other supercharged. But which has the best hardware combo to win in a drag race?

The three are wildly different in how they deliver their power. The Audi RS6 sports a twin-turbocharged 5.0-litre V10 making 579 bhp and 479 lb-ft of torque. Power routes through a six-speed automatic to all four wheels. The BMW M5 packs a 5.0-litre V10, but it’s naturally aspirated, producing 507 bhp and 383 lb-ft of torque, with power going to the rear through a seven-speed gearbox. The Mercedes has a larger supercharged 5.4-litre, but it’s only a V8. It makes 476 bhp and 516 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed auto delivers power to the rear wheels.

Gallery: 2021 Audi RS6 Avant: Review

It’s an eclectic set of powertrains, but there can only be one winner. The first race is awash as the Mercedes hits its speed limiter before the finish line, though the second race shows where the three land. The Audi is unbeatable in the first three standing-start races, completing the quarter-mile in 12.5 seconds. The Mercedes came in second with a 13.1-second time, with the BMW taking last at 13.9 seconds.

The rolling race from 50 miles per hour with the cars set to their sportiest settings sees the BMW break from last place for a second-place finish ahead of the Merc, though both trailed the Audi. A brake test at the end was won by the Mercedes, the lightest of the trio.