The BMW is more powerful, but it’s also rear-wheel drive.

Having a lot of horsepower and torque on tap is one part of the performance equation. There are numerous other factors that can affect a car’s performance, like how many drive tyres there are. A new video from the Cars.co.za YouTube channel demonstrates this by pitting the all-wheel-drive Audi RS5 against the new rear-wheel-drive BMW M3 Competition in a pair of drag races. The Audi’s AWD is a benefit, but it’s down on power compared to the BMW.

The Audi sports a 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 that produces 443 bhp and 442 lb-ft of torque. Power is pumped to all four wheels. The BMW packs more punch from its twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six that produces 503 bhp and 479 lb-ft of torque. While there is a stark power difference between them, the two each hit 62 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds – at least on paper.

Gallery: 2021 BMW M3 Competition: Review

In the real world, things are a bit different. The first race – a standing start – has the Audi exploding off the line while the BMW struggled for traction even with launch control engaged. The M3 just couldn’t find the traction necessary to keep up with the Audi, and the BMW’s extra power wasn’t enough to close the gap between the two before crossing the finish line. The rolling race was much different, though, with the BMW and Audi staying neck-and-neck until just before the finish line when the BMW took a small lead, winning by a few car lengths.

The video highlights the importance of a car being able to put the power to the ground properly. Just because one car makes more power doesn’t mean it’ll be faster, especially if it struggles for traction. Mercedes even added all-wheel drive to its AMG models in a bid for better performance and year-round usability.