On paper, the answer seems clear. The BMW M5 is said to scoot from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds when equipped with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, while Tesla says the Model S Signature Performance edition can do that in 4.4 seconds. What happens beyond that speed is anyone's guess, but it should be kept in mind that the gas guzzler's 4.4-liter V8 puts out 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque – maybe more – compared to the battery-operated sedan's 416 hp and 443 lb-ft of sizzle.
But driving doesn't happen on paper and so the similarly-inquisitive folks at Automobile magazine took one of each of these vehicles to Gingerman Raceway for a little head-to-head competition. The result? While it is possible for the somewhat lighter German machine to occasionally edge out the slippery American newcomer, the Tesla seems more adept at translating its potential energy into forward motion. You can watch the smack down for your own electric edification by scrolling below.