Of course, Germany would never accept a drag race involving its automobiles unless (at least) one of the Unholy Trinity founding fathers was involved. I am, of course, talking about the reciprocal adversaries from the ABM club: Audi, BMW, and Mercedes (enumerated in strict alphabetical order here).
Mat Watson has a unique "German-only day at the track" type of event this time. It stars all three of the aforementioned piston-pounding brands. To make it four, the trio gave a wildcard to the German-most brand of automobiles in the world: Volkswagen. (It would be a sacrilege to have a Saxon engineering convention – read "full send drag race" – without holding a spot for the company that gave the world the illustrious Beetle).
The already steroid-fed compacts have undergone various stages of tuning, so each has a much more impressive specs sheet than the factory sprouts from which they spawned. Going from the most heavily tuned to the least modified, here are the four contenders.
The VW Golf R - a hot hatch that bets it all on the time-proven two-liter inline-four turbo engine. Factory rated at 320 hp (316 PS) and 310 lb-ft (420 Nm), a Stage 3 tuning job took the engine to 530 PS and 630 Nm (523 hp and 465 lb-ft). To top all that off, the all-wheel drive VW Golf R weighs only 1.55 tons.
While those thoughts wash away, the BMW – driven by carwow's host himself – is second on the tuning hierarchy of the day. Its three-liter straight-six – which naturally yields 369 hp and 369 lb-ft (374 PS and 500 Nm) – also got a mechanical spell cast upon it. Not yet proven by the dyno, the new performance sheet estimates 454 hp (460 PS) and 480 lb-ft (650 Nm).
Eight speeds in the automatic serving, a torque converter, and all-wheel running abilities would make the BMW a serious sprinter. Unfortunately, it skipped its diets, and it happens to be the heaviest of the quartet, at a hair under 1.7 tons.
But there's more than just factory settings under its hood: mechanical wizardry (of which we'll mention just the methanol injection) boosts the firepower to 496 hp and 465 lb-ft (503 PS and 630 Nm, respectively). Also, it weighs almost 1.6 tons, just shy of the Golf's lowest body mass index.
Last on this list is the least special-prepped racer of the day; the AMG A 45 S received just a software tweaking of the ECU. But let's not forget it started from the highest factory peak power rating – 421 PS and 500 Nm (415 hp and 369 lb-ft). The AMG heritage runs through the hot hatch's body with two liters, four pistons, eight speeds, two clutches, and a permanent four-wheel-drive system.
But drag racing also considers the vilest variable of them all – the human factor. A car is only as good as its driver. Calculations are worth a mathematical zero if the element between the seat and the steering wheel falls short.
Given all the above information, the unanimous opinion would be that the Stig-Golf R pair would nullify the contest. However, because Ben Collins somehow managed to push the wrong buttons at the wrong moments, the father-of-all-hot-hatches Volkswagen manages to not only finish last on more than one occasion but also come desperately far behind everyone else.
The pleasant surprise of the event is arguably the BMW – whose power is not scientifically determined – that stays very close to the rest of the bunch despite its overall size and low power rating. And it is the quickest off the line in all the races, thanks to that massive torque.
As for the RS3, the company's (in)famous inclination for not giving in to anyone is more than apparent in the roll race – it pulls away at the top end as if the race is just getting on. Something even Ben Collins appreciates, especially after the RS3 and the Golf R make it personal and keep pushing long after they blast across the finish line. I won't spoil the result for you; click play below and see what the result of that heated in-house German affair was.