Watch these two German sports cars go head-to-head in a race that's closer than you'd think

German car publication Auto Bild (owned by Business Insider’s parent company Axel Springer) has a pretty extensive catalogue of groovy content on its YouTube channel, including numerous white-knuckled, head-to-head showdowns between — naturally — German high-performance automobiles.

This video features two of our absolute favourite Teutonic rockets: the ultra-peppy BMW M235i and the BMW M4. We spent some quality time with the M235i last year and were deeply impressed. We also sampled the M4, and were impressed for different reasons.

It’s not a true apples-to-apples comparison. Yes, both are two-door machines. But the M235i comes to the contest with 320 horsepower, while the M4 has … 420. The M235i also isn’t a true M Sport car, but rather more of a kinda-sorta M car that landed ahead of the true M2, which arrives this year.

The M235i is lighter, but the M4 isn’t exactly heavy, giving up only a few hundred pounds (depending on configuration) to the sprightlier bimmer.

Interestingly, in Auto Bild’s race, the M235i gets a better jump off the line and has the M4 playing catchup … until the 100 km/hr barrier (62 mph) is breached. At that point, the M235i is tapped out, but the M4 has more to give.

Still, the M235i’s performance to more or less the legal US speed limit shows you that you don’t always need to have the biggest, baddest motor to feel like you’re going fast. Sometimes, you’re actually going faster than the guy with the bigger, badder motor.

It’s a little something called power-to-weight ratio.

To be honest, we could see the result of the Auto Bild test coming. In our experience, the M235i was like driving a Sidewinder missile, while the M4 was like saddling up on an angry dragon. The Sidewinder just goes. The big ‘ole firebreather takes a bit longer to get properly motivated.

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