The new Mercedes-AMG C43 made its debut more than a year ago but we are yet to get used to the fact it doesn’t have a six-cylinder engine under the bonnet. For the 2023 model year, the performance saloon switched to four-cylinder power as opposed to its German rivals – both the BMW M340i and Audi S5 still rely on internal combustion engines with six cylinders. But is that enough to beat the more powerful C43? It’s time to find out.

Throttle House’s latest drag race puts against each other the three mid-range performance cars. Each one of the trio sits below the range-topping models of their respective families, the C63, M3, and RS5. These are still serious machines with a 0 to 60 miles per hour acceleration in less than 5 seconds. But which one of them is the quickest off the line? Let’s find out.

Gallery: 2023 Mercedes-AMG C43

But first, the numbers. As mentioned, the C43 has a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with an output of 402 bhp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Power reaches all four wheels through a nine-speed multi-speed automatic transmission. The saloon weighs in at 1,856 kg (4,092 pounds), which makes it the heaviest of the trio.

From Munich comes the BMW M340i with a 3.0-litre inline-six cylinder turbocharged mill under the bonnet. It is good for 382 bhp and has the same peak torque of 369 lb-ft. The Bimmer tips the scales at 1,792 kg (3,951 lbs). Last but not least, the S5 has a 3.0-litre V6 turbo engine with 349 bhp and – you guessed it – 369 lb-ft of maximum torque. It weighs 1,780 kg (3,924 lbs), making it the lightest of the three performance saloons. 

So, which model will win this drag race? See the answer in the video at the top of this page.