E46 BMW M3 CSL Drag Races Audi RS4 B5, the Gap Is Brutal

E46 BMW M3 CSL Drag Races Audi RS4 B5, Gap Is Brutal 4 photos
Photo: YouTube screenshot/Carwow
E46 BMW M3 CSL Drag Races Audi RS4 B5, the Gap Is BrutalE46 BMW M3 CSL Drag Races Audi RS4 B5, the Gap Is BrutalE46 BMW M3 CSL Drag Races Audi RS4 B5, the Gap Is Brutal
We all know how the current M4 compared to an Audi RS5, but good drag races between the originals are pretty hard to find. Today, we're going to look at a classic E46 M3 and a B5 version of the RS4. Wow, what legend!
"Wait, haven't I seen this before?" we hear you say. But you haven't. Carwow previously raced the original M3 against the RS2. But these are a lot more modern while still retaining significant differences to 2019 models, like not being burdened by toys and emissions tests.

Out of these two, the E46 M3 is the biggest icon. It's the first car you think of when mentioning modern classic German sports cars. Everything from the way it rusts to the upgrades it has over the E36 model is well documented.

But this late-90s baby is presented here in its most coveted flavor, the CSL. This super-light special is about as good as it gets when it comes to balancing and feeling connected to the road. Of course, it doesn't hurt that it sheds 110 kilos over the standard model, but the 3.2-liter straight-six engine's 365 horsepower is not to be laughed at.

In theory, the RS4 is at a heavy disadvantage, producing only about 15 more horsepower while weighing about three passengers' worth more. But if you've spent any time in either of these cars, you'll know that launching is not as easy as flooring it and holding on.

On that note, we have to mention the AWD and manual gearbox of the RS4 are going up against RWD and a SMG-II in the BMW. The gear changes in the BMW are rough, but the launch is epic, while the Audi can't do the same shenanigans as its modern counterparts, so the M3 CSL shoots off into the distance. No wonder it's such a legend!

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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