As electric technology continues to reach performance milestones that we never before thought possible, many enthusiasts have begun to question the future of gas-powered performance, and more importantly, how long our brutally loud, Munich-bred monsters will rely on internal combustion for motivation. While we have seen BMW push towards a new electrified image through their iNext and Vision Next 100 campaigns, it seems as though the German automaker isn’t ready to completely abandon their gas-powered performance legacy just yet. Sometimes, a peculiar drag race between a good ol’ gaz-guzzling BMW M model and an EV is the eye-opening experience you need. Is it scientific? Hardly. A true engineering benchmark? Who knows. But is it well worth a watch? Absolutely.
This isn’t the first time BMW has been pitted against an all-electric luxury performance niche brand like Tesla—the F90 M5’s legacy as a hard-hitter in the high-performance utility segment has led it to be compared to the Tesla Model S P100D on multiple occasions, both on and off track. While it seems that BMW may soon be taking the fight to Tesla through the creation of a recently rumored 1,000-horsepower all-electric M5, it seems as though the brand still isn’t too keen on standing idly by until then. Sometimes an outlandish comparison such as this can become an enlightening experience for all brands involved, and BMW could certainly have had a worse representative than a 700-plus horsepower G-Power X6 M.
The drag race, which features an unlikely pairing between a heavily-modified G-Power X6 M and a Tesla Model Y equipped with the Performance package, may seem like an unfair fight, given the SAV’s 700+ horsepower twin-turbo V8 over the Tesla’s 456 horsepower—but the competitors are more closely matched than they might seem
While the claimed 750 horsepower power statement made by the video’s creator remains invalidated, the second-generation of the range-topping X6M, when re-worked by G-Power, includes modified turbochargers, downpipes, catalytic converters, suspension, body kit, and the addition of forged wheels, among other things. Fitted with engine mapping software specific to the Bavarian tuning company, the stock top speed restriction is removed, giving the monster BMW grocery getter a whopping 723 pound-feet of torque that is good for a 11.5-second quarter mile time and a 186 mile-per-hour top speed. Though we speculate that the X6 M in this video is likely an older, 2012 Typhoon variant, the differences in power figures between the two models remain marginal, with the 2012 Typhoon reaching the same top speed as the newer model, but with 725 horsepower and a 4.2-second zero-to-sixty time instead.
Where the Tesla’s tarmac prowess shines, as we know, is its instant torque. The all-electric competitor in Performance trim sports a 456 horsepower dual-motor setup, capable of 497 pound-feet of torque and a MotorTrend estimated 3.5-second zero-to-sixty time. The Tesla’s overall lower curb weight means that its 9.7-pound per horsepower power-to-weight ratio trumps the X6 M’s estimated power-to-weight ratio of 7.4, allowing it yet another advantage on the strip. Throw it on a longer strip, however, and the Tesla’s 11.9-second quarter mile time and 155 mile-per-hour top speed may start to become disadvantages in the face of its competitor.
While I won’t spoil the outcome for you all, I will say that the race results can act as an interesting benchmark for electric technology. It will be interesting to see how Tesla, along with similar all-electric brands, will adapt their performance figures to best BMW at higher speeds, longer distances, and other environments besides a straight line. Likewise, it will be fascinating to see how BMW continues to revise the technology of its existing lineup to match or best the performance and efficiency of its competitors, along with seeking to evolve their current flagship models into completely new electrified versions of themselves. If BMW does indeed stay true to its old Ultimate Driving Machine motto, it seems as though enthusiasts will be able to brag about their BMW’s performance for years to come, gas or electric.—Malia Murphy
[Photos courtesy G-Power, Tesla, ConceptCarz.]