2013 Tesla Model S Beats 2013 BMW M5 In Straight-Line Drag Race

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There’s no denying that electric cars have lots of torque from standstill, meaning they can out-accelerate most cars in the stop-light derby to 30 mph. 

But what happens beyond that? Could a car like the 2012 Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA] Model S Performance beat the sporty, race-bred 2013 BMW M5 in a 0-100 mph drag race, for example? 

Automobile Magazine’s Ezra Dyer decided to find out, with a straight-line drag race.

On paper, the 2013 BMW M5 looks to be the clear winner: it is almost 300 lighter than the 2013 Tesla Model S, and produces both more power and more torque than the all-electric luxury sedan. 

In reality, the instant 443 pound-feet of torque at 0 rpm gave the Tesla Model S Performance a clear advantage off the line, smoothly accelerating away while its gas-guzzling competitor scrabbled for traction. 

By the middle of the 0-100 mph dash, there was a clear car length or more between the quietly humming Tesla and the snarling M5. 

As the end of the race approached however, the M5’s 4.4 liter, twin-turbocharged, V-8 started to close the the gap, crossing the finish line  a few feet from the Tesla’s rear bumper. 

From the video, it’s clear to see that the M5 didn’t get the cleanest of starts, possibly due to its notoriously difficult-to-engage launch control.


2013 BMW M5

2013 BMW M5

Enlarge Photo

And had it continued beyond 100 mph, the M5 would have continued to close the gap, with its 155mph electronically limited top speed easily beating the Tesla Model S’s electronically limited 130 mph. 

In everyday--or legal--driving, however, the Tesla Model S wins hands down. 

With both cars costing roughly the same, which would you choose, and why? 

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below. 


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Comments (15)
  1. Nice :-)

  2. I thought the Model S would win and now I know it's true. It's very impressive that Tesla was able to make an M5 beater so soon.

  3. I would choose Tesla of course :) silent power :D

  4. Model S Performance is 5K cheaper. 84.5K vs. 89.9K

  5. Tesla for sure.

  6. I just played with the US BMW "build your own" process and the M5 configures at $97,747. The Model S Performance as I anticipate configuring mine for delivery mid-2013 comes in at around $101,000, but then receives $10k in tax credit and California rebate, so it is actually a bit less than the M5. PLUS with free charging on the Tesla "Supercharging" system...and free home charging (Solar PV here) compared to the M5's likely 15 mpg in actual use......

  7. I love all the BMW fans saying the tesla had a Second Head start the man Driving the BMW cannot drive And the BMW should had launch control on but launch control Means that you're not controlling the car the computer is launch Control is a helper and if you use Launch control Six Times the M5 Clutch will burnout and the $106,000 M5 would Be going home in a trailer lol o The tesla model S Doesn't have launch control lol the Factors is Electric motor give you Torque straight away The Minute you Hit the pedal Hit the Pedal on a combustion engine Always has s delay it has to mix The petrol Air Then as explosion Then you Cylinders goes up and down Drives the shaft That Spins the Wheels
    Launch control Would be Unfair Because The t

  8. Please come back when you have figured out what sentences and periods are...

    "and if you use Launch control Six Times the M5 Clutch will burnout and the $106,000 M5 would Be going home in a trailer lol"

    Uh, source...? I previously owned an M5 and that was certainly not true for mine, much less likely true for a more recent edition with system improvements since I bought mine.

    Tesla, probably, if I were convinced Tesla will survive long term. But the M5 is a monster, although I'd actually prefer an M3. Not over the Tesla, but over the M5.

  9. This was a six speed which is much slower than DCT and yes you can launch more than 6 times in a row.

  10. Well asking this question on GCR isn't exactly fair. :)

    With gas currently at almost $5. I would choose Tesla S.

    Not to mention the fact that in real world driving, it will do even better due to the fact that there are NO lags with electric drive train. No engines to rev up and no transmission to downshift. You get the 100% torque on demand.

    But I still love the M5. I wonder how they perform against each other in salom course or on windy roads...

  11. Here is where the Tesla Model S really wins 89mpge vrs 17/22mpg for the BMW M5. Meaning you can get 4 times your driving pleasure for an equivelent fuel cost. The Tesla is more efficient than a Prius and a whole lot better to drive every day than one too. Add solar and you can do even better after your panals are paid for

  12. Here is the reality this m5 was a six speed. the DCT with launch control is much faster. secondly, hate to break it to everyone but those performance number for telsa are on a full charge. At 75% it can be up to a second slower and at 50% charge closer to 2 seconds...great first try but M5 is still king for now...

  13. DCT with launch control has been tested at 3.7 to 3.9 with launch control consistently and yes you can launch more than 6 times in a row. Only limitation is that car must be driven a few miles before you can engage.

  14. If one person pushes the pedal of the M5 and another pushes the pedal on the Tesla, guess who's going to win? I don't need or want a computer driving for me. The M5 has far more hp and torque. I'd expect it to be faster.

    Most people drive less than 35 miles in a day, meaning, that you will rarely deplete the battery below 75%.

    You also forgot to mention the terrible efficiency of the M5 vs. the amazing efficiency of the Tesla. Also, the Tesla is quicker, smoother, quieter, has much more cargo space, and is more convenient.

    You can charge up while you're sleeping, waking up to a full charge everyday; instead of being late because you had to go to the gas station.

  15. Try this Model S on a 75% charge, M5 on a full tank.
    Run back-to-back continual drags until one of them can no longer continue.
    Who wins?

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