2011 BMW M3 vs 2011 Mustang GT: Cheap David vs Pricey Goliath [w/Video]

2011 BMW M3 2011 mustang GT slide

In the past the idea of having a track comparison between a BMW M3 and a Ford Mustang GT was about as logical and fair as asking “The Rock” to compete against Jet Li on the Ninja Warrior course. The Rock may be strong, but his agility is lacking. Since its birth the BMW M3 has been known for its handling. It came standard with neautral balance and execellent turn in, with oversteer optional. The Mustang built its name on acceleration. If the muscle car Hall of Fame existed, Ford’s pony car would get early admission. But with its live axle, big V8 motor and American upbringing teaching it success lies at the end of a drag strip, it was never seen as a competitor to the Bavarian acrobat. Recently the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 was suggested as a worthy competitor for the M3, but that’s a special model that’s meant for the track. Surely the plain Jane Mustang GT wouldn’t stand a chance.

The good people at Motor Trend beg to differ. They think the 2011 Ford Mustang GT is a very good car. So good, it may have the skills and tools necessary to venture into the ring with a competitor that no one would expect: the 2011 BMW M3. This is a fight that has never happened. Some called MT crazy for even suggesting the Mustang even good enough to park next to an M3. Is the new Mustang that good, or was Motor Trend just trying to sell some paper? Make the jump to watch the video, and see who is left standing.

2011 BMW M3 slide

When we hear an idea that our brain labels “crazy” we usually stop listening to the supporting evidence. I’ve been told humans can live without breathing oxygen, but can survive by absorbing air through our skin. The second I heard “without oxygen” my brain put on some soft music to pass the time while this moron continued speaking. It didn’t matter what evidence they may have offered, my brain had put on it’s internal noise-cancelling headphones.

People probably did the same when Motor Trend mentioned this shoot-out, which is too bad, because the evidence is startling. Think these cars have as much in common as Kobe Bryant and Clay Aiken? Check out the stats: Both have aluminum V8s with DOHC. The M3 makes 414hp, the Mustang makes 412hp. The M3 makes 295 lb-ft of torque at 3900 RPM, while the Mustang makes 390 lb-ft at 4250 RPM. Despite this difference in yank, both go from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds. This is because their power to weight ratio is damn close; 8.6lb/hp for the BMW and 8.8lb/hp for the GT. As I said, damn close.

2011 Ford Mustang GT blue

Of course there’s bound to be some differences. That extra torque helps the Mustang beat the M3 to the 1/4 mile by a tenth of a second. You’re probably thinking, “Wow, the Mustang won the drag race. Shocker.” Well, it also won the braking contest, stopping in 108 feet vs 110 for the BMW. Still not surprised? It has more grip. I’ll say it again, the Mustang GT has more grip than the M3. It attained .96g (compared to .95 for the BMW) around the skid pad. If that doesn’t make you pay attention, have your pulse checked by a doctor.

Of course, BMW prides itself on being “the ultimate driving machine” and people like to think that as valuable as numbers are, on a track when “it all comes together” the result will be nothing like the clinical trial. Right? Watch to find out…

So there you have it. Now, Motor Trend is right when they said “A win is a win.” Technically the M3 won. But, it didn’t win by a mile as it has in the past. The time between the 2011 BMW M3  and the 2011 Ford Mustang GT was only .09 seconds. What you have to ask yourself is, is that nine one-hundredths of a second worth $30,000?

Source: Motor Trend