Naturally-aspirated versus biturbo. Place your bets!

It seems like CarWow is up to pitting the BMW M cars versus its counterparts on the drag strip. Last week, we saw the E30 M3 versus the Audi RS2 Avant face each other on the drag strip. A week before that, the Brit car magazine listened to your requests and pitted the M5 Competition against the AMG E 63 S. This week, however, is more similar to the former, as Mat Watson drove the E46 M3 CSL and went head to head against the RS4 B5 – both cars were produced by the end of the 1990s.

If this matchup is a bit familiar, that’s because CarWow has raced these cars before, albeit, in their newer skin. Of note, the newer RS4 Avant won against the M3 CS in the previous standing drag race.

However, with a different engine and transmission inside these older cars’ bonnets, will it have a different result? Let’s crunch the numbers to find out.

The E46 M3 CSL is lighter than the standard M3 by 110 kilograms (243 pounds). It’s powered by a 3.2-liter straight-six naturally-aspirated engine that can produce up to 365 horsepower, sending power to the rear wheels via a six-speed SMG-II Drivelogic gearbox with launch control.

The Audi RS4 Avant B5, on the other hand, has a major advantage with its Quattro all-wheel drive and its 2.7L V6 biturbo with 381 hp. It’s heavier by around 200 kg (441 lbs) though, and it has a six-speed manual transmission, which means its fate on the dragstrip will depend on the skill of its driver.

Watch the video on top of this page to see the results. As a bonus, Mat also drove both cars on the track and gave us a piece of his mind as to which is his favorite between the two.

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