It’s easy to take for granted how cars have changed over the last 20 years. In the early 2000s, the BMW M3 E46 dominated the street and the track with its straight-six engine and rear-wheel-drive attitude. But today, the hopped-up hot-hatch Toyota GR Yaris can easily surpass BMW’s performance ability. To show this, a new Carwow video pits the two dissimilar machines against one another in a series of drag races.
The GR Yaris packs a turbocharged 1.3-litre three-cylinder engine that makes 261 bhp (194 kilowatts) and 265 pound-feet (360 Newton-metres) of torque. Power routes to all four wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and two limited-slip differentials. The M3 has double the number of cylinders that help it produce 343 bhp (255 kW) and 269 lb-ft (365 Nm) of torque. A six-speed manual pumps the power to the rear wheels. The Yaris is 190 kilograms (418 pounds lighter).
Gallery: 2020 Toyota GR Yaris
The GR’s all-wheel drive gives it a clear advantage in the standing-start drag races, beating the BMW off the line twice. The Toyota’s best quarter-mile time was 12.5 seconds, while the BMW did it in 13.2. Things were a bit different with the rolling races as the Yaris couldn’t get a sizeable lead, allowing the BMW to pass it in both races just before the finish line. The BMW’s larger horsepower and torque figures don’t allow the Yaris to get away from it.
The final test between the two was a brake test, which is yet another win for the lighter Yaris. The big brakes certainly help stop the three-door hatch. The races show how the idea of what a performance car is has changed since the E46 first arrived in 2000. Today’s vehicles are more capable and powerful than some of yesteryear’s best sports cars, and it’s easy to forget how much progress automakers have made.