Last nights thread about 5th Gear RS3 v BMW 1M test sparked my interest in the debate about which of these cars is quicker and better once again. The German car magazine Sport auto Audi RS3 Sportback im Supertest: Kompakt-Sportler mit riesigem Spaßpotenzial - SPORT AUTO do the most comprehensive tests I've seen so I've compiled the results from each test and the key comments (via Google Translate) to share with you here. This sparked my imagination anyway so I thought it might be of interest to you too.
It's all about the tyres
Although this test is about the RS3, TTRS, 1M and M135i I'm going to start with the Audi S5 Supertest results because they show just how much the choice of tyre is in the final result.
Audi S5 - Hockenheim Short
Sport auto quote "How much the tires will affect the driving dynamics, this is particularly evident. Compared to the first, driven with Dunlop tires measuring round is now at the second attempt with Michelin Pilot Sport improvement in lap time of 1.6 seconds - compared to 1.18.8 1.17,2 minutes. In both cases it was einunddasselbe vehicle. The improvement is significant with the mitigation of previously complained to establish strong understeering tendency."
Fitting Michelin Pilot Sport tyres reduced the lap time of the S5 by 1.6 seconds on the short 1.6 mile circuit. Note how they also say the Michelin tyres help neutralise the understeer felt on the Dunlops. This is important for later as you will see the results the TTRS and 1M achieve are on Michelin Pilot Sport tyres (I'm assuming Pilot Sport 3's given the date of the tests) and the M135i is wearing Pilot Super Sports, something the reviewers are clear to mention. I'm a bit of a track addict so I realise these times will matter more to me and less to others! The RS3 is, in my opinion, hamstrung on the standard Conti 5P's, which are great on the wet test but in the dry quickly overheat.
You'll see the times for the tests that follow and I will leave you to draw your own conclusions about how different the results might have been had the RS3 been fitted with Pilot Sport or the even better Super Sports as standard.
Round 1 - Nurburgring Nordschleife
Audi TTRS - 8:09, 7/10 Sport auto rating on Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, an exceptional lap time just a set of sticky tyres and a remap away from the sub 8 minute mark. The TTRS is quicker throughout the lap and achieves a much higher top speed than the hatchbacks here. If I didn't need the practicality of the RS3 I'd buy one in a heartbeat.
BMW 1M - the 1M manages a lap time of 8:15, 6/10 Sport auto rating again on Michelin Pilot Sport tyres. As people have said before the 1M is more rightly compared with the TTRS as coupes with similar weights.
BMW M135i - the M135i laps the ring in 8:18, 5/10 Sport auto rating and importantly on Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres which is why the time looks so good compared to the rest. The Sport auto article makes this difference clear,
Audi RS3 - the RS3 completes the lap in 8:20, 6/10 Sport auto rating because it is both fast and composed. They put the 11 second difference to the TTRS down to the extra 145kg weight but I think it's as much to do with the quickly overheating Conti's.
So round one at the 'ring belongs to the TTRS and Michelin Pilot Sport tyres.
Round 2 - Hockenheim Short Circuit
BMW 1M - the 1M produces a storming 1:14.1 lap around the Hockenheim short circuit, 8/10 Sport auto rating. It's extra agility means it is quicker through the tighter turns and also reaches a higher top speed on the main straight. "nonetheless to be enjoyed with caution...the driver needs sensitive hands at the limit", quite.
Audi TTRS - the TTRS manages a lap in 1:15 again with an 8/10 Sport auto rating. Here the times were identical on both the Michelin Pilot Sport and Conti 5P's they noted that there were considerable handling differences between the two tyres and that the Conti's were far safer.
Audi RS3 - the RS3 makes the lap in 1:15.4 and 7/10 Sport auto rating, the testers note the "accuracy suffers greatly with increasing tire warming".
BMW M135i - this seems a little strange as the M135i laps in 1:15.7 with a 5/10 Sport auto rating on the Michelin Pilot Super Sports. It seems even the tyres can't make up for the lack of a limited slip differential here.
Round 3 - Wet Handling Track
Audi S5 - another special mention for the S5 which skates to a wet lap of 1:29.8 and the Supertest says it best "The outstanding, enabling the quattro drive traction, coupled with adequate wet grip properties of the tire are a total guarantee for a very soothing and safe driving behavior. It is noteworthy that the border area is always indicated in the wet on the front axle. Before the four-wheel drive so wants to break back before he pushes easily but firmly on the front wheels outward - can not get any safer."
Audi RS3 - 1:30.7 Sport auto rating 9/10 - I will let the quote from the magazine explain "Rarely the fun in wet handling was so pronounced: super grip, perfect traction, balance, a slight but constructive "steering-linked" Heck, particularly when braking and last but not least, a perfect ABS coordination with barely noticeable, yet effective interventions. The particular pair of Conti tires - front 255/35 ZR 19 and rear 225/35 ZR 19 - seems to be extremely open-minded these to conditions"
Audi TTRS - 1:37.2 Sport auto rating 2/10, oh dear it seems there were some issues for the TTRS in the wet. Sport auto say "This thesis is based of four-wheel drive TT RS is like no other.Stoically pushed through the front wheels while the TTS at these low coefficients of friction and so even gave the possible advantage to the weaker, front-wheel-driven two-liter variant, shows the current TT RS is a completely contrarian image. The abrupt breaking the rear axle with low friction values is sometimes not only high demands on the driver, but also brings the strong coupé time seriously behind. It lacks almost five seconds for the TTS. It is not advisable to disable the ESP in the wet."
BMW M1 - as Sport auto put it:"Neither the technical layout to another in terms of qualifying tires can be spoken by a specialist for low friction - that is the distance traveled on the wet handling course from time clearly. An initial push through the front wheels replaced after a bit too much gas with abrupt oversteer on what not continuously or simply designed to drive at the limit. The driver can thus preferably the ESP turned on, regardless of the strong performance loss that inevitably sets in due to the then permanent control interventions."
BMW M135i - they didn't do the wet handling test for the M135i we can only guess why...rearrange hedge, through and backwards for my guess.
So a clear win for Audi there and that means a clear 2:1 win to Audi overall. Fast, secure and safe, even on the wrong tyres, can't say fairer than that.