Automatic E92 BMW M3 GTS Spanks Manual Audi RS4
Take a trip back to the start of the 2010s with this Teutonic battle between the E92 M3 GTS and RS4.
What was happening in 2010? Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel wins his first championships for himself and for Red Bull in Abu Dhabi. The Burj Khalifa opens its doors as the world’s tallest tower. The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics to claim what would be their last NBA Championship to date. And The Social Network premiers at the New York Film Festival.
2010 was also the year when two Teutonic titans rolled into their respective showrooms: the E92 M3 GTS, and the Audi RS4 B7. And today, Mat Watson of the YouTube channel Carwow pits the M3 against the RS4 in England to determine which of them is the best of the best.
“I’ve got a 4.4-liter, naturally aspirated V8 with 450 horsepower,” says Watson of his orange M3 GTS. “He’s got a 4.2-liter, naturally aspirated V8 with 420 horsepower. [The RS4 has] Quattro all-wheel drive, but it’s a manual. [The M3 GTS] is rear-wheel drive, and it’s got an automatic gearbox with launch control.”
Sounds like the M3 GTS will smoke the RS4 wagon, then, right? Perhaps, but Watson’s launch goes literally sideways for most of the quarter-mile run, losing by a car length and a tenth of a second to the Audi.
“Now, we’re gonna have a rolling race, 50 miles an hour in third gear. I’m locked in third, he’s in third. I’m gonna count it in, and then we’re gonna floor the throttles,” says Watson.
This time, the M3 GTS leaves the Audi in the dust, thanks to both the big V8 power under the hood, and the lighter weight due to not having an all-wheel drive system. As Watson later explains, though, “there’s more to these cars than just driving them in a straight line.”
“[The M3 GTS is] much lighter, 75 kilos lighter than the standard M3,” Watson says. “I say it’s a lot lighter than the four-wheel drive Audi. Just feels so different. Much sharper steering. It’s a track car; this is why you buy this: for a track, not really road use. You can really feel what it’s doing underneath this thing. So agile, so responsive.”
The RS4, meanwhile, is “a little bit on the heavy side” when it comes to taking the corners, and “things happen slowly in terms of the way the car responds.”
“If it was raining, I think, if I was on the road, unfamiliar surroundings, I won’t want to be in [the M3 GTS],” Watson says. “If it’s a good day, you know what you’re doing, BMW rear-wheel drive, it’s where you want to be.”