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BMW 3 Series vs The Internet: Which is faster?

What’s the fastest way to send a very large file a very long way? Conventional logic says you should use the Internet. It’s fast, it’s convenient and you don’t even have to get out of bed to use it. But unconventional logic says you should drive the data there yourself using a BMW 3 Series.

Is the Internet the fastest way of transferring large files, or is it faster taking it there yourself in a car?
Is the Internet the fastest way of transferring large files, or is it faster taking it there yourself in a car?

To settle the debate, we organised a race. We sent the contents of an 8.5GB dual-layer DVD from its physical location in Malaga, southern Spain to London using the World Wide Web. While this was happening, our intrepid wheelman Rory drove the same data from Malaga to London in the latest BMW 3 Series. Whoever transferred the files first would be crowned the winner.

In theory, the race would be a very close run event. The file transfer was carried out over broadband connections that utilised a 768Kbps uplink in Malaga and a 10Mbps downlink in London, both of which are pretty average speeds in their respective countries. In theory, the upload would take 26 hours and the download just two hours.

The drive, meanwhile, an epic 1,500-mile trek, would take a total of 24 hours, according to the 3 Series’ sat-nav. But this didn’t take into account things such as refuelling stops, toilet breaks or the basic human need to rest.

Ultimately, there could only be one winner. We won’t spoil the result, but you can watch the journey, complete with its ups, downs, thrills, spills and inevitable police stops unfolding in the video below.

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