Once upon a time, the notion of SUVs drag racing was rather silly. That was back when every sport utility vehicle on the market offered all kinds of utility with just a teeny bit of sport. Times have obviously changed, as the two people-movers featured here dish up approximately 1,200 horsepower combined.
In the left corner there's the BMW X5 M Competition. In the luxury SUV world, it has few performance rivals thanks to a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine making 617 horsepower (460 kilowatts). However, one of those rivals is in the right lane for this showdown, and there's no mistaking the chunky body of the Mercedes-AMG G63. Upright and proud, it also wields a twin-turbocharged V8 albeit slightly smaller at 4.0 liters of displacement. It's also a bit less powerful with 577 hp (430 kW), and the mighty Merc is also several hundred pounds heavier. On paper, things don't look well for AMG.
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But as we all know, numbers don't always transition to real-world conditions. This YouTube video from Archie Hamilton Racing brings that point to bear, as conditions for the showdown are described as cold, damp, and even a bit icy. Internal combustion engines love cool air, but tires hate cold surfaces and this competition takes place on an unprepared runway. That could negate the BMW's power-to-weight advantage.
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In fact, that appears to be the case in the first of three runs. The heavier AMG thoroughly leaps ahead of the Bimmer off the line and stays there ... for a while anyway. Once up to speed, the X5 M charges past to claim a win but it certainly isn't a slaughter. The second race is nearly the same, though the X5 manages a better launch and doesn't fall quite as far behind at the start. As the speed builds, so does the big G's resistance to air, and subsequently, the distance it trails the BMW at the finish line.
The final battle ditches the standing start for a roll race, and you'd think the X5 would simply murder the Merc based on previous results. From a 30 mph roll, however, things are side-by-side. That is, until physics remind the G63 driver that yes, aerodynamics matter.