The '80s saw some of the most iconic touring cars and homologation specials to come out of Europe. There was the first-generation BMW M3, the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16,(and 2.5-16) and the Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth. However, there is another car that has slipped under the radar of most enthusiasts. It's the Alfa Romeo 75 Turbo Evoluzione, and it had all the potential to leave a mark in late-'80s touring car racing in Europe.

Unfortunately, it wasn't the case for the Alfa, as the BMW and Mercedes eclipsed the Italian in terms of success and popularity. That said, the V6 version of the 75 (also known as the Milano in the US) can still give the road-going version of the E30 M3 a good scare. Since then, the M3 has morphed into a supercar-baiting saloon, and it took Alfa Romeo decades to to play catch up. It could be said that the wait was worth it, because the result was the Giulia GTAm.

We say 'was' mainly because the GTAm is sold out. It's also interesting that no one has done a side-by-side track test with the all-new M3 Competition, that is, until now. Yes, it's the folks from Carwow once again with a head to head race. But this time around, it's not just a a straight up drag race as they're also comparing the lap times of each cars. We won't tell you which car is faster, but we'll let you guess which one finishes a lap ahead of the other by looking at the spec sheet.

Let's start with long-running BMW M3. The controversial front end aside, the redesigned M3 Competition packs a hefty punch. Its twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six is good for 503 bhp (375 kilowatts) and 479 pound-feet (650 Newton-metres) of torque. What Carwow used for testing is the rear-wheel drive version, although all-wheel drive is available.

But it's the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTAm that trumps the BMW by quite some margin, at least in the power stakes. It also has a twin-turbocharged, six-cylinder engine, but that's where its similarities end with the M3 Competition. The boosted 2.9-litre V6 punches out 533 bhp (397 kilowatts) and 442 pound-feet (600 Newton-metres) of torque.

There are some interesting observations here. For instance, the Alfa has more horsepower, but the BMW edges it when it comes to torque. That said, the Alfa is lighter than the BMW, so it should be a close race. Place your bets now. Either way, the results may (or may not) surprise you.