The BMW M2 is an incredibly fast, incredibly powerful small high-performance car that some view as the second coming of the BMW E46 M3. Likewise, the Audi RS3 is an incredibly potent sports saloon that feels like a direct link to the original Audi Ur Quattro. That's why when the opportunity came up to pit them head-to-head, Throttle House jumped at the chance.
The latest iteration of the BMW M2 has a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 that puts out 460 bhp. It's a special car capable of 0 to 60 mph runs of 3.9 seconds and "will obliterate your local curvy road," as we said in our first-drive review.
Gallery: 2023 BMW M2: First Drive Review
As the 2022 Best Performance Vehicle Star Award winner, we liked the Audi RS3 "because it was nearly the quickest, most agile, and most engaging, all at the same time." The turbocharged 2.5-litre inline-five engine produces 401 bhp and also runs from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Compared to the BMW M2, it's down on power by 59 horses. However, it's also around 180 kilos lighter and has all-wheel drive.
Previously we saw the Audi RS3 match up with a BMW M240i xDrive and beat it in a drag race. The BMW was quick, but the Audi was quicker thanks to a slight power advantage and 180 kg less weight. Now that the new M2 is out, it's time for a rematch.
Off the line, the Audi RS3 leaps ahead of the BMW M2, thanks to the all-wheel drive making the most of its power. The M2 quickly hits its stride and begins to run down the RS3, but not quickly enough. With a rolling start, the tables are turned, and the M2 walks away from the RS3.
With both cars claiming a victory, the only thing left to do is compare lap times. Wearing Michelin Cup 2 tyres, the BMW M2's fastest lap was 1 minute, 11.2 seconds. The Audi RS3 on Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres managed a lap in 1 minute, 11.9 seconds.
It's an outright win for the BMW M2 and an impressive effort for the Audi RS3. But what's most impressive about these two cars is how fast and capable they are, and how evenly they are matched.