Carwow often provides some fantastic drag races between motorcycles and cars. This time we have two BMWs. A 1000 horsepower M4 up goes against BMW’s flagship M1000R.
The four-wheel drive BMW M4 is a popular high-performance saloon car. As stock, they produce around 470 horsepower and 406 ft/lb.
They are nothing short of rapid, with 0-60 mph times of around 3.80 seconds, 0-100 mph in 8.30 seconds, and a quarter mile time of 12 seconds flat.
Non-restricted they will hit a genuine 180 mph.
The car today is the Competition xDrive.
It is a little more powerful and quite a bit faster than the stock BMW M4.
It can hit 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds, and blast through the quarter-mile as fast as a typical Supersport 600 at 11 seconds with a terminal speed of 125 mph,
Stock, there are still plenty of motorcycles that will walk away from a stock M4 and even the stock Competion, but considering this is a regular high-performance car, its pace is very impressive.
Modern turbo-equipped cars are extremely tunable too. Simple ECU and exhaust upgrades can yield several 100 horsepower. It is a scary thought if you’re a motorcycle rider!
This BMW M4 Competition xDrive has likely had extensive mods carried out and produces a whopping 1000 horsepower.
In the two-wheel corner, we have the BMW M1000R. It’s stock but looks like it has had the BMW parts catalogue thrown at it.
The machine prduces 212 horsepower at the crank which will equate to 195 horsepower at the wheels. It’s basically as fast if not a little faster than a stock S1000RR.
Cars have come a long way in recent times when it comes to effectively launching.
They are equipped with sophisticated launch control systems that allow for their power to be put efficiently to the ground.
Even big power rear-wheel drive cars can now hit sub-three-second 0-60 mph times, while AWD cars are often very much below the two-second mark.
Tune the above cars and amazing times can be had, even making even non-Supercars like the 1000 horsepower BMW M4 featured a true Superbike killer.
Motorcycles on the other hand have also benefited from clever electronics. They have launch control systems comprising anti-wheelie and traction control.
Contrary to popular belief, motorcycle launch control systems are no way near as effective as their four-wheeled counterparts at yielding optimum and consistent times.
In most cases, motorcycle launch systems can yield slower times if directly compared to a very skilled rider with a lot of familiarity with the motorcycle they’re testing.
For the most part, motorcycle launch control systems are comprised of Traction Control (TCS) and anti-wheelie.
Some machines are also equipped with an rpm limiter that is often set at 8000 to 10000 rpm depending on the motorcycle.
The rpm limiter allows the rider to pin the throttle with rpm not going above a set point until a certain speed is achieved.
For the most part, there is no real advantage to using this feature over the throttle control of a skilled rider with familiarity with the motorcycle.
And of course, the clutch remains manually operated and is the most influential part of launching optimally.
It’s for this reason that at Motostatz we elect to turn off all TCS, anti-wheelie, and any launch control option if available.
To confirm this you will often see Chris Northover achieve better launches and quarter-mile times with the bike set as analog as possible.
BMW M4 vs M1000RR from a Dig
The BMW M4 took the win.
It is no surprise that with 1000 horsepower, AWD, and a clever launch system the car will always be difficult to beat despite this particular car suffering some gremlins on the first, and second runs.
On the first run the BMW M4 had some issues and wouldn’t change gears. Chris on the bike just ended up coasting and took the win.
We can all agree that the win didn’t count because the car through a tantrum.
On the second run, the BMW M4 launched very well, while it appears Chris on the M1000RR had slow reactions despite launching ok.
The BMW M4 gapped Chris at the start but in the end, the M1000R started to real in the BMW M4, and was a car length or two behind at the end of the quarter mile.
As often with tuned cars and their fueling and auto gearboxes, the BMW M4 had some more gremlins that meant it still was not 100 percent and could go even quicker despite beating the M1000RR on the second run.
The third run was an easy win for the car as again, Mat had much better reaction times, and Chris could on the M1000R could not reel in the car.
AWD cars with sophisticated launch control features will almost always get very close to their optimum launch times launch after launch.
Motorcycles on the other hand require a lot of seat time and familiarity with a competent pilot to get anywhere near close to their optimum times.
It is also worth noting that Mat Watson had better reaction times at the launch.
To note, with a car that is so effective at the start, a competitor just being a fraction slower with reaction times will result in several car lengths instantly.
Chris Northover is a highly skilled rider but in the cold, and perhaps with not enough seat time could only manage a 10.40 second quarter mile against the 1000 horsepower BMW M4s 9.90 second time.
Knowing how capable motorcycles are, it can be very frustrating watching these car vs motorcycle videos because more often than not the the motorcycles never lay down their optimum times.
Again Chris is a great rider, and with more time I am sure he could crack the 9s on the M1000R but it is not easy,and especially on a hard concrete runway.
As motorcyclists, we all know that the BMW M1000R can achieve sub 3 second 0-60 mph time while also cracking sub 10 second quarter mile times approaching 150-155 mph terminal speeds.
It’s just that launch (60 ft) time that is very important and difficult to nail consistently on a Superbike.
BMW M4 vs BMW M1000RR Roll Race.
Now the roll race is where the motorcycles fair much better because it takes out the inconsistency of having to optimally launch.
Despite the BMW M4 making 1000 horsepower I had my money on the M1000RR as probably many of you did also.
Chris’s choice of using second gear at 30 mph is a little questionable in my opinion.
I think the BMW M1000RR is a little lower geared than a stock S1000RR but second gear is still a 120 mph gear at the rpm limiter.
I know that the S and M1000RRs make big power and torque low down.
As stock and due to emission restrictions in the ECU, the S, and M1000RRs are a little messed up down low with gaping holes in their power and torque curves.
This may not be the case so much with euro-spec machines, but definitely, the US-spec machines have much more restrictions in the ECU that kills power.
Either way, Chris would have had the M1000RR at around 4000 rpm in second gear which is not where it makes peak thrust/torque.
First gear would provided more acceleration but it would have been a battle to control wheelies.
Also, in the cold wheelspin could have been an issue too in first gear despite tyre warmers on what is a bad concrete surface.
So I reckon Chris was playing safe and going for consistency and predictability which is fair enough and perhaps the smarter move.
In second gear, the initial opening of the throttle would have yielded less explosive acceleration than if in first gear.
It would not have taken long for the BMW M1000R to have woken up and driven through second gear and into the meat of peak torque/thrust, with Chris having an easier time controlling wheelies and wheelspin as a result.
But surprisingly the BMW M4 darted off, maintained a gap, and won, with the BMW M1000RR not getting a look in.
When Chris pulled up after the run the M1000RR didn’t sound great. I would guess that the M1000RR was not happy during the roll-on, and that’s why it did not perform as well as expected.
I would predict that the BMW M1000RR with an optimum launch would at least match this 1000 horsepower BMW M4 in the quarter mile but would have a higher terminal speed.
The BMW M1000RR would still be slower for the first 60 ft but would just have enough power to slowly reel the BMW in.
But in the real world and for most riders, from a dig, this 1000 horsepower BMW M4 will win almost every time due to the consistency of the launch control and grip that AWD provides.
From a roll, the BMW M1000RR should have slowly walked away from the 1000 horsepower BMW M4 but it was not to be due to the bike suffering from engine problems.
In the real world, this would be a good match-up.
Right up top of course the 1000 horsepower BMW M4 would pass the BMW M1000RR eventually.
Love it or hate it, these modern performance cars can give the fastest motorcycles a run for their money even from stock when it comes to launching.
Unless we are talking Hypercars and some Supercars, up against stock performance cars such as the BMW M4, Superbikes have enough power and acceleration to reel in and pass them even if the bike does not launch so well.
And from a roll, the stock M\BMW M4 has no chance.
Let’s face it, performance cars can launch amazingly, and consistently time and time again, while motorcycles still require lots of skill to get the best out of them despite having their electronic aides.
Put some power into these cars with some tuning, and not only do they beat motorcycles most of the time from a dig, but they often present danger from a roll too, and will disappear once speeds get silly.
Depending on the weight of the car, 800-1000 horsepower and dancy launch control, and AWD will almost always beat a bike from a dig most of the time, and from a roll be slightly slower, match or beat the latest Superbikes.
If we are looking at older Suerbikes or 600s, we’re in trouble.
It’s fun messing with cars but gone are the days of the guaranteed win if you are on two wheels.