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All-wheel drive and a stout amount of horsepower can create a compelling package. Cars like the VW Golf R, Audi S3, and BMW M240i are performance superstars that wrap fun and affordable into one. The three are close in price and aimed at enthusiasts, but which is the best in a drag race? A new Throttle House video finds out with a two races – one from a dig and one with a rolling start.

The cars aren’t exact equals, though they are similar enough to make the pair of drag races exciting. The BMW has way more power than the other two, making 382 horsepower (292 kilowatts) and 369 pound-feet (500 Newton-meters) of torque. The VW produces 315 hp (234 kW) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm), but it weighs 3,481 pounds (1,578 kilograms) while the M240i weighs in at 3,871 lbs (1,755 kg). The S3 is the least powerful of the trio at 305 hp (227 kW) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm), though it falls in the middle with its weight at 3,538 lbs (1,604 kg).

Gallery: 2022 BMW M240i: First Drive

The BMW’s extra power and superb all-wheel drive give it a massive jump over the other two in the first race. It’s a gap neither the VW nor Audi can close. The BMW crosses first, with the VW in second, and the Audi in third. The rolling race negates the BMW’s launching abilities, though the other two can’t overcome the M240i’s more powerful powertrain. The three cross the finish line in the same order, though in a much tighter formation than the first race.

The BMW had a clear advantage, especially with all three models rocking all-wheel drive. The results came down to power and putting it to the ground, and both VW Group models struggled to beat the BMW off the starting line. However, the BMW is the priciest of the three, too, so that extra performance comes at a cost some might balk at paying.

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