CarWow holds a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s the ludicrous, sometimes-pointless drag races, or the sibling-like rivalry between co-stars Mat Watson and Yianni Charalambous, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a dull moment in any of their videos. They’ll drag-race just about anything, whether its an unlikely pairing or not. On-road or off-road—it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you share the same “what if” mentality, and that you’re curious enough to stick around to see the results.
The comedic duo recently put two of their biggest contenders ever to the test at their local (and conveniently abandoned) airstrip: a Porsche 911 Turbo S and a tuned and modified 1,000-horsepower F90 M5.
Okay, sure, the 911 Turbo S may be bone-stock, but this doesn’t mean that there’s no competition here. The Porsche, equipped with a 3.8-liter twin-turbo flat six, has its power sent through an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission, driven by a refined all-wheel-drive system and governed by Porsche’s legendary Launch Control. With 650 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, the 992 generation of the 911 is capable of a blistering 2.2-second zero-to-60 time and a 10.1-second quarter-mile time in coupe form—power figures that prove that this pairing is not inappropriate. Although the drop-top version is racing here in this video, its 10.3-second quarter-mile time could still classify it as an everyday supercar, and its track record on CarWow has yet to be disproven; there’s a reason why the 911 Turbo S remains CarWow’s resident “drag race supremo.”
But while the 911 Turbo S cab has mass on its side, weighing in at roughly 507 pounds less than its challenger, it still has to face a bigger and badder German contender.
Although the F90 M5 in question started life off in Competition trim, the triple-digit power figures proved to not be enough for its owner, Imran Arshad, from Evolve Automotive. While its out-of-the-box power performance isn’t too far off the 911 Turbo S on paper, Arshad decided to further slim down those margins with some modifications. Initially transformed with a “stage two” tune and fitted with a new exhaust, downpipes, and ECU remap, BMW’s range-topping performance sedan not only had 150 more ponies under the hood, but also more than enough power to demolish a Ferrari 488 Pista in a drag race (and scare the pants off of Mat Watson in the process).
Now, nearly $39,000 later and re-tuned to stage three, the fully built 4.4-liter twin-turbo S63 M V8 with its forged pistons, strengthened internals, hybrid turbos, and methanol injection puts out a monumental 1,000 horsepower—a number that has this M5 rumored to be the fastest of its kind in the U.K., and perhaps in the world.
With Mat behind the wheel of the M5 and Yianni piloting the Turbo S, the ceremonial burning of rubber commenced, under the guise of “warming up the tires.” Prior to the first race, Mat mentions that the significant power advantage that the M5 has could also prove to be a huge disadvantage off the line, especially with road tires—a hypothesis that later is later proved to have some merit.
As expected, the lighter and more agile Porsche rockets away at the start, leaving its heavier yet more powerful opponent clawing at the tarmac for grip. Although Mat states that he didn’t use launch control on the first run for fear of further inhibiting the BMW’s search for grip, the hefty sedan finally hooks up and smokes the Porsche toward the end of the quarter mile, creating a gap of roughly two car lengths at the finish line.
A second race confirms the M5’s grip handicap, but the monster sedan still manages to best the Porsche, despite its acceleration mode set to efficient and its shift aggressiveness fixed at a softer setting.
The best run, however, comes toward the end of the clip, when the two competitors line it up on a roll, a decision that allows the M5 to find grip almost instantaneously and go on to take the win. With the turbos already spooling in third gear and all performance settings at their peak, Yianni watches as the M5 sails past the 911, continuing to pull away well after the speedometer reads 180 mph, until Mat decides to lay off at 200 mph—ten car-lengths away. Not too shabby for a modified luxury sedan which can still seat five, to say the least.
The results? A flat ten-second quarter-mile time for the M5, and a well-deserved crowning ceremony as the new CarWow drag-race champion.
However, while the Porsche may have been dethroned, it’s not like it didn’t put up a resounding fight; there’s a reason why the 911 Turbo S is feared by other cars in its class, and its performance prowess goes undisputed. But we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The F90 M5 is a four-doored force to be reckoned with, and one of the best BMWs for your money right now.—Malia Murphy
[Photos and video courtesy BMW AG, CarWow, Evolve Automotive, Porsche AG.]