Spoiler: the BMW wins.
Drag races are the ultimate comparison test between two vehicles. While we usually see races that oppose cars to cars or bikes to bikes, sometimes, we’re treated to a little crossover. It can be truly amazing to see how superbikes and supercars perform next to one another. It’s even cooler when a manufacturer has a wheel in both industries and you get to have a little brand on brand competition.
The team at Car Expert got their hands on a shiny BMW M8 Competition, a car considered to be BMW’s most powerful production car on the market. After walking us through all the car’s features and specs and putting its 0-to-60 abilities to the test, Car Expert decided to test its drag racing chops on the quarter-mile strip. What better opponent for BMW’s most powerful car than BMW’s most powerful motorcycle?
That bike is the BMW S1000RR, armed with a 999cc inline-four engine that unleashes 205 ponies for a mass of 450 pounds—a worthy adversary for the M8 beast.
The two BMWs’ three runs ended with varying, interesting, and above all surprising results. The S1000RR finishes the first race with promising results as it not only finishes ahead of the car but it also records its fastest time on the quarter-mile strip with 11.2 seconds. There’s a chance the bike would have performed even better had the front wheel stayed on the ground instead of up in the air like it did on the first few hundred feet.
On the second run, the host explains that the rider will use launch control to try and help with the wheel lift. Despite what looks like a sloppy start, the bike reaches the finish line in 11.5 seconds, still ahead of the car, but only by a few feet. It also reaches its fastest speed yet at 228 km/h (142 mph) versus 224 (139) at the end of the first run.
For the third race, the S1000RR’s launch control settings are further adjusted (the system offers two settings but they don't specify which one is used). Despite the adjustments, the rider achieves its worst results with an 11.5-second time (yet again) and a top speed of 139 mph. Those aren’t shabby performance numbers—they’re simply not as good as the ones recorded during the first two runs.
In addition, you can see that the S1000RR’s front wheel hovers over the tarmac as the rider speeds his way down the track trying to catch up to the car.
Ultimately, this time around, the M8 manages to stay ahead of the S1000RR and take the win. No wonder the car is able to give a superbike a run for its money. The M8 (the BMW 8 Series' performance version) uses a 4.4L twin-turbo V8 engine and it produces a staggering 616 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. The car might be heavier but it has plenty of juice to make up for its disadvantage. The S1000RR won two races out of three and is ultimately the winner but the M8 didn't go out without a serious fight and that's impressive for a sedan this size.
So, what has this taught us? That the BMW S1000RR is not a drag racing bike (duh) but that should you choose to tackle the challenge yourself, it looks like a wheelie is less time consuming than an invasive launch control.