Both cars have the same horsepower, but the Jag gets AWD grip.
On paper, this coupe battle should be a spectacular neck-and-neck race. The BMW M2 CS and Jaguar F-Type are both luxury coupes, and in this particular challenge, the F-Type is a First Edition model packing the 450-horsepower version of Jaguar's 5.0-liter supercharged V8. The Bimmer also offers 450 hp from its twin-turbo 3.0-liter I6, and manufacturer statistics have both cars reaching 62 mph (100 km/h) in the mid-four-second range.
So yeah, that sounds like a recipe for an outstanding drag race. The action is courtesy of Lovecars, but as motoring legend Tiff Needell points out in the clip, real-world performance doesn't always match what you see on paper. This is especially true for these two cars when you look beyond the acceleration figures – the BMW enters the battle with a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive, versus an eight-speed automatic with all-wheel drive on the Jaguar. The advantage seems to fall towards the F-Type, but the bigger cat is also more than 400 pounds heavier.
As with most drag races, it ultimately comes down to the launch. We've seen time and again how lesser-powered cars can romp horsepower monsters by getting a better launch, and though BMW lists the M2 as being slightly quicker than the Jag to 62 mph, it's much harder to find the perfect launch combination piloting a RWD manual compared to an AWD automatic. Then again, that added challenge is what makes manual-equipped cars so exciting for enthusiasts.
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In any case, that's the situation Needell finds himself in behind the wheel of the Bimmer. And you know what? Even for a seasoned pro, nailing the perfect launch isn't easy. The race actually sees the M2 launch just ahead of the Jaguar, but the small advantage is quickly erased by the F-Type's all-wheel-drive grip. At half-track the Jag is clearly in the lead, but the lighter M2 starts closing the gap. Can it overcome the less-than-perfect launch to claim a win? Hit the video above to find out.