It seems the press is bent on brewing up a rivalry brewing between the BMW 1 Series M Coupe and the Audi RS3. As you may recall, AutoExpress recently pitted the pint-sized Germans against each another in a drag race. Now, Fifth Gear lined up both machines for a one-lap battle with Tiff Needell driving the 1M and Mark Higgins piloting the Audi RS3. Higgins recently set a four-wheel lap record around the Isle of Man TT course (and pulled off one of the hairiest saves we've ever seen in the process).

The 1 Series M Coupe packs 335 horsepower channeled to the rear tires as God intended, while the Audi RS3 comes equipped with 340 horsepower and the sure-footedness of all-wheel drive. How did the battle turn out? Let's just say that the winner spanked his competition by nearly three full seconds. Hit the jump to see the fight for yourself.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 102 Comments
      Alterego
      • 3 Years Ago
      I know both these cars would be tough to perform any serious mechanical work on, but I'll bet the Audi would be the bigger nightmare. Have you seen how they're packaging things under the hood lately? You've practically got to tear the car apart to perform anything but the simplest maintenance. Sure, you can say it doesn't matter, or that's my mechanic's problem, but it matters to me.
        iimprezu
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Alterego
        BMWs are really easy to work on (especially the straight six BMWs--which is basically most of them). The BMWs have tons of room under the hood. I do basically ALL the work on my E46 3-Series. Very easy. You're right on the Audis though--total nightmare as everythings jam packed in with the AWD stuff.
      Hotsuye
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Audi TT RS is about $10,000 more than the 1M. Which would place the price a lot closer to the M3 in comparison. For about 47,000 there is the Series 1M and the Audi RS3; only other car I think of is the GT500. I thought it was funny when autocar compared the 1M to the Cayman R, which is $66,300. Too bad the 1M is going to stop being sold by the spring of 2012.
      Dane Grant
      • 3 Years Ago
      I would take the Audi.... Smarter all around... You can get to the store fast, fill it up with the goods and get back home in record time....
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        1STH
        • 3 Years Ago
        LOL @ the Fast & Furious wannabe.
        clquake
        • 3 Years Ago
        You really should not compare tuned cars to stock. The only real limit for tuned cars is money. Manufacturers have to balance performance, price, and durability.
          Bamboo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @clquake
          Ummmm.....you do know the M, RS, EVO, and STI are all tuned cars and far from stock.
        Justin Campanale
        • 3 Years Ago
        Maybe so, but these cars are MUCH more refined and luxurious than the EVO or STI. Everyone loves those two cars, and they are some of the best handling cars around, but face it; they are not easy to live with; they have harsh rides and budget-grade interiors. The RS3 and 1M can keep up with them on the track while being easier to live with on a daily basis.
        zeus
        • 3 Years Ago
        did you mean..."I could never afford this so I'd stay with my Evo (which wont sell here in the states) or an STI (which out of the box is still inferior) don't worry I'm sure the 3 1 M you get in Colombia will be sold out by the time they hit land.
        flanders2520
        • 3 Years Ago
        oh yeah...a stage 3 Dodge Neon SRT8 will blow away your rice cookers and be more reliable to boot. I would say my comment sounds just as ridiculous as your comment. There is more to some cars than speed. I do not know many people, given if all these cars mentioned cost exactly the same, would take a Neon SRT8, STI, or Evo over an 1M or RS3
          Krishan Mistry
          • 3 Years Ago
          @flanders2520
          I dont know about you, but a Neon with a 6.1/6.4L HEMI V8 would be pretty badass. A Neon SRT4 is cool too. But lightyears behind either of these cars.
        Kyle Potter
        • 3 Years Ago
        Oh look it's this guy again! (He purposely goes into the BMW topics to nag on and on about how amazing the NSX is).
        Stefan
        • 3 Years Ago
        Fun to drive? Reliable? What are you smoking?
      wallstreet
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is getting boring. We dont need another comparo against a BMW.....nothing beat them before and nothing beats them now...especially anything coming from Audi! I cant wait for the next gen M3! I think the media needs to change the way they do comparos so each manufacture has a chance....here are my suggestions: Toyota vs Nissan vs Honda vs Hyundai vs Kia Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge Lambo vs Ferrari vs Porsche Lexus vs infiniti vs Acura BMW vs God Audi vs Tank vs 18 wheeler carrying concrete slabs
      Kris
      • 3 Years Ago
      If the RS3 was FWD it would've be much better. I hate when VW Group puts that hideous Haldex AWD system in sports cars to improve their performance and all it actually does is to make it worst. The Haldex is basically FWD which can send up to 50% of the torque to the rear wheels. Meaning by the time the electronics and hydraulics engages the clutches to send power to the back it's already late, the car understeers and sending only 50% to the rear is just no enough. Now if they remove this stupid Haldex and put a Quaife diff up front with proper suspension setting, this could be very, very good car to drive fast (reference: Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R, Honda Integra Type R etc.). But nooooooo! The "Quattro" badge sells more. Who gives a f**k if the car handles like s**t on the limit. Most of the time the hipster owner will just pose with her and if he by accident tries to show off and drives the car fast understeering is much safer than oversteering. The one demands experienced driver with fast reactions and good control over the throttle and steering to catch the slide, the other can be handled by panicked teenager who's first instinct would be to lift off the throttle (and start crying about mommy, probably). So until Audi starts to embed a bit of a "fun factor" in their cars, they are going to loose to BMW every time.
        flanders2520
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kris
        Two different companies producing two different types of cars. 99% of people will never be able to drive the 1M at it's potential and it most real world conditions the RS3 is probably a better car. Would love to have seen a wet track for this test as well. It would show a great real world comparison and then let people see the real numbers of both cars in conditions people really drive in
        1STH
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kris
        LOL! you're kidding right? Haldex is WAY superior to any FWD system around. It's amazing how uneducated many of you sound. I should have expected less.
          Kris
          • 3 Years Ago
          @1STH
          Maybe in the winter on icy roads when you don't want to get stuck in the snow. But on the track... things sit differently fanboy.
        1STH
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kris
        it's also hilarious to watch you try and explain Haldex. It's like a cockroach trying to explain the anatomy of a bird.
          Kris
          • 3 Years Ago
          @1STH
          I would love to read your explanation.
        LW
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kris
        Ha, wiki educated would know the terms, but not understand the concept behind it. Maybe you should start there as part of your primary school education since you are talking out of your ass. Driving those cars like EVO or GT-R is not driving, but is like playing a video game. You point, it goes. You don't drive the cars.
        LW
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kris
        As said, the haldex unit will pre-engage before you need it, so for all purpose like hitting the corners, four wheel drifts, etc, it is effectively AWD. And with the haldex sports controller and the externally controlled switch, it will allow one to select Race mode, which besides reacting faster, will keep the AWD engaged so engine braking could be applied to all 4 wheels. As to explaining what you should have learned in school, torque is the application of force on an axis. And if there is no force to be applied to the front wheel, then the torque applied will be zero. To give you an example (which you would have gotten if you had taken any basic physics course), if the front wheels are on a low grip surface and the rear are on a high grip surface, they could both be spinning the same rate, but the front tires are not applying any force to the road, thus no torque is being transferred to the road. The rear tires, on the other hand, is pushing on the road and moving the car forward, thus all the torque of the engine are going to that axle. If you cannot get that through your head, or thinks that is not real, assume a car has 100 NM of torque at its idling RPM, and the tire grip on a dry surface is 60 NM per axle. If both front and rear tires are on a dry surface, then the car cannot spin its tires because it will take 120 NM of torque to slip them. But now if you have the front tire on a low grip surface. Now the front tires will spin freely and the rear tires are putting 100 NM of torque on the road and you will start spinning the tires.
          Kris
          • 3 Years Ago
          @LW
          That only shows how well read are you and how little you know about real world driving. What you said is exactly right, but the result is the engine keeps to apply 50% of it's torque to the front wheels, but they don't have the traction to apply it to the road so you can say the rear tyres are applying more than 50% of the torque sense they have more traction. And all that gives you that so lovely UNDERFUCKINGSTEERING!!! In similar conditions smart systems like Mitsubishi EVO's would adjust the torque bias of the center diff according to the tyres traction. So the front wheels won't try to apply more torque that their traction can handle. The result no understeerig! Torsen center diff does the same thing since it's torque sensitive diff and it can sense the amount of torque that can be applied thru the wheels and adjust its bias according to that. Now Mr. educated continue your reading and don't mind me, but leave the real driving to those who know what they are doing. All ask you again - do you have ever driven a Haldex equipped sports car or you are just another smartass troll?
        LW
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kris
        Mr Know nothing. Torque sensitive differential does not vary the rotational rate of the different axles. That is what open differential does, and open differential will always try to split the torque evenly. Thus when one axle is on a low grip surface, the wheel will spin up to compensate for the decrease in torque applied to the road, thus alot of wheel spinning and the car going nowhere, thus the decreased torque also applied to the axle that is on the high grip surface. A torsen differential, or any other type where the gear bevel angle does not allow for the reverse turning of one gear to the other (in a load bearing application). So in the above case, the gears will lock up, thus even though the front axle is spinning, the rear could also spin at the same speed, thus driving the vehicle forward. You throw alot of insults, but back it up with nothing, absolutely nothing.
          Kris
          • 3 Years Ago
          @LW
          Yeah, I'm done with you. The fact is you are Wikipedia educated, but you have no idea what happens in the real world. Let's agree to disagree. When you grow up, go drive some cars and when I'm telling you the Haldex sends too much torque to the front wheels you'll know what I mean. And when I'm telling you Mitsubishi EVO's (gen VIII+) active electronic diffs don't do that you'll know what I mean. And downvoting every my comment is really, really childish!
        Krishan Mistry
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kris
        You do realize FWD results in far more understeer? And very little traction. The Audi problem is that it is too FWD biased. Do you really think by sending zero power to the rears they will fix something? The Focus RS (similar size, hp, tq) would understeer a lot more, but the drivers know its FWD and thus are careful with the throttle, entering corners much slower/or lifting the throttle massively to rotate the back. Im not defending the snooze worthy and boring safety engineered into the quattro, but it is fixable with some simpler engineering tweaks (defeat stability control, send power rearward 100% of the time, have a 40/60 F/R torque like big Audis instead of maxing at 60/40). The Hondas have a lot less power and torque, thus can be balanced much better.
          Kris
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Krishan Mistry
          The big Audi's have proper center diff like every other performance oriented AWD system (Mitsubishi, Subaru, etc.). The Haldex system is FWD most of the time but lacks one very essential key element for good FWD handling and that is limited slip diff on the front axle. Cars like Ford Focus RS which are only FWD, but with proper FWD setup and LSD have much more traction. You don't believe me? Watch some Focus RS reviews. You won't see it understeering. If anything it oversteers and it is FWD. I drove Focus RS Mk 1 and Integra Type R Mk 1. Both cars have Quaife diffs and both cars have better handling than any VW Group Haldex based AWD system. My experience is with Golf IV R32 and Audi S3 Mk 1. They SUCK big time!!!
        LW
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kris
        What a bunch of BS. And Gen I Haldex of the MkIV is a world apart from Gen IV Haldex, especially one that is aggressively tuned. FYI, Haldex is not FWD until you need it. Haldex calculates the steering angle, throttle depression rate, rotational difference, speed, etc, and from all that information, will determine whether to transfer torque to the rear wheel and how much to transfer, all before there is an wheelslip. Gen IV also has rear clutch based diff, it is not implemented on the Audi, but is on Saab's. All recent cars with traction control can simulate that. Plus newer cars are implementing torque vectoring electronically, like VW, Porsche and McLaren. And to get torque and power mixed up, just shows you just read crap but doesn't understand it.
        LW
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kris
        Sorry, Mr Don't Know What You Are Talking About. In a car with a differential based AWD, when one of its wheel and axle encounters a low slip condition, it will lock the differential, resulting in what I just described. Unless you have a drivetrain that could independently control propel the front and rear axle, then there is no way you can propel the different axles individually. After all that explanation, it seems you still can't grasp the concept of torque, power, force, etc. Not sure why you are on autoblog.com instead of dimwit.com
          Kris
          • 3 Years Ago
          @LW
          It seems you have no idea what is active, or torque sensitive differential. You may not be that well read after all. Go back to studying now and leave the talking to those who know what they are talking about.
        Jeremy Cripe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kris
        Do you know that the new haldex's can send up to 90%, and I don't know of any of the haldex systems that only do 50%....maybe you should study before you post!
          Kris
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Jeremy Cripe
          Really? Now how is that working? I don't need to study 'cause I've seen it taken apart. That bulls**t that VW' CEO said about Golf R and that it can send up to 100% to the rear is complete fraud. It's marketing trick. I can explain it to you what he meant, but in the moment I'm not feeling like writing a whole article. I'll say only one this. The front wheels of the Haldex AWD are directly connected to the engine 100% of the time. There is no mechanism that can takes torque from the front axle and send it to the rear. Meaning the best case scenario when the Haldex clutch engages to a 100% it can only send 50% of the power 'cause the front wheels are still connected and they get the other 50%. It's like using a spool diff in the center. If you know how Haldex actually works, you wouldn't write your comment. Maybe you should study before you post!
      Ryan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Meh, I'd still rather have the RS3, and I'm not ashamed to admit it, either.
      TheLeadFoot
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd much rather have the RS3. The BMW is garish to me and in poor taste. It's clearly a brutally well engineered machine but that's nothing I could drive around without wearing a hat and sunglasses.
        Stefan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @TheLeadFoot
        Fail. Drive what you want and stop caring what other people think!
      Jomer
      • 3 Years Ago
      i don't see any hatches.. i see a 2dr coupe vs a 4dr avant. silly 5th gear. how about they put the m5 vs the rs5 instead.
        Peter T
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jomer
        you mean the M3 vs RS5. and that has been done.
        sooperdooper
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jomer
        Definitely not a fair match up. RS5 vs M5 would be cool to see but not on 5th Gear.. on TOP GEAR UK w/ the STIG behind the wheel!
          Krishan Mistry
          • 3 Years Ago
          @sooperdooper
          I dont know, I like Tiff. An ex racing legend with fantastic ability, like the Stig, but we know who he is and he can give good commentary. Not Jezza wit, but more relevant and refreshing. Though he does babble a bit when gunning a nice car... old age?
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @sooperdooper
          RS6* The RS5 doesn't compete with the M5. The RS5 competes with the M3 Coupe and C63 Coupe.
      torqued
      • 3 Years Ago
      Anyone else bothered by the fact that they were driven by different people? Is it possible Tiff is just a better driver (or better at driving the BMW than Higgens was at driving the Audi)? No disrespect to Higgens, but Tiff is a great driver...
        Saracen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @torqued
        I wouldn't say better....it's apples to oranges. But I agree, lap times are only relevant to me when comparing cars like this when it's the same driver, on the same day.
        Peter Middleton
        • 3 Years Ago
        @torqued
        Tiff is a great driver?? He wasted ass loads of time being sideways. IDK. I think Higgens racing accomplishments place him above Tiff, fastest car around the Isle of Mann ever is kind of a big deal...
        bytor42
        • 3 Years Ago
        @torqued
        Yep....that's the first thing I thought when the host got in the BMW. I'd think you'd have the same driver, whoever it may be, drive both cars.
        boehrdi
        • 3 Years Ago
        @torqued
        I had the same thought and was a bit dissapointed of fifth gear...
        Hazdaz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @torqued
        First thing I thought of was, "ok, cool they have a professional driver to take both these cars out"... then when Kiff jumped in the BMW, I was thinking "what's the point of the guest driver, if he only drives the one car?!" I actually thought the video was quite fun - usually ones with Kiff in them tend to be - but it would have been lots better for comparison's sake if both drivers got to drive both cars and then compared all those numbers.
      Andre Lavoie
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love both cars, but I'd have to go with the BMW.
      1STH
      • 3 Years Ago
      BLAH BLAH BLAH. i'd MUCH rather have an RS3. The 1M is just media hype----the RS3 is a true rocket as a daily driver. oh and nothing sounds as fantastic as that Audi 5 Cylinder Turbo------
        zeus
        • 3 Years Ago
        @1STH
        Media hype? He just showed it was faster then the RS3...please explain !
          1STH
          • 3 Years Ago
          @zeus
          oh really....so being faster around a track is everything? I think we live in a world where people read a few articles and think they understand what cars are all about....brilliant.
        zeus
        • 3 Years Ago
        @1STH
        So you do understand what cars are about correct? 2 cars which i am willing to be you have never driven. 2 cars which are designed to go fast. and yet to you the slower one is the "best" one. yeah you are brilliant. If you like the RS3 better then the 1M more power to you sir. But saying that the 1M is just media hype is complete ignorance.
        Zoom
        • 3 Years Ago
        @1STH
        You definitely have no clue.
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