Is Tesla Model 3 Performance Version A BMW M3 Rival?

MAY 21 2018 BY STAFF 67

Model 3 versus M3…which one wins?

At the moment, there’s only one powertrain setup for the Tesla Model 3 sedan. A single electric motor drives the rear wheels with 258 horsepower and 317 ft-lb of torque. That makes the Model 3 good for 0-60 mph in around 5.6 seconds, which is perfectly on par with the BMW 330i. However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has just announced that a dual-motor Model 3 will be debuting in July and there will be two versions, a standard and a “Performance”.

Related – Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor And Performance Versions Revealed

We already know quite a bit about Teslas and its Performance Dual Motor Cars. The Tesla Model S P100D is the fastest accelerating sedan of all time. So we know they can be quick. This new Tesla Model 3 Performance Dual Motor is supposed to be able to clock 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, which is faster than the BMW M3 Competition Package. Musk also claims that it will cost M3 Comp Pack money, around $78,000.

Now, we know that it’s a bit of a stretch to compare the two but Musk is insistent that the Model 3 is a 3 Series competitor. So it only stands to reason that the fastest Model 3 would rival the fastest 3 Series.

So can this dual-motor Model 3 really be an M3 competitor? In a straight line, it will torch the M3.

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67 Comments on "Is Tesla Model 3 Performance Version A BMW M3 Rival?"

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Not just a straight line. Musk also tweeted that it will beat any car in its class on the track.

Very smart from Musk, cause what is its class? BMW i3? or Volt? But sure not a gasoline car. Or maybe overhyped and overpriced cars?

The logical thing would be to assume ‘price class’. And yes, knowing Musk, he means any car: ICE, PHEV, EV.

And I guess it would be fair to only count factory standard cars. Not modded ones.

To be yet more precise ‘in its class’ would mean a sedan in the same price class.

Electric would be the class.

Musk has always made it a point that his cars can compete with, no, be better than its ICE counterparts. When he says other cars in its class, he includes ICE’s.

What you think it should be or what it can achieve is not the point here. It’s what he meant with his tweet.

“Even though the comp-pack M4 we tested broke the 4.0-second zero-to-60-mph barrier with relative ease (in 3.8 seconds), the M3 reviewed here did not. Reporting a lack of launch adhesion, our test driver clocked the sprint in 4.0 seconds flat on the way to an impressive 12.2-second, 120-mph quarter-mile. While that’s a tad slower than a Cadillac CTS-V (3.6 seconds) and a Mercedes-AMG C63 S (3.9 seconds), it’s comparable to a Corvette Grand Sport, a Shelby GT350R, and a few of the current Camaro SS cars we’ve tested. The M3’s most impressive feats were hustling to 160 mph in 26.1 seconds and beating the aforementioned Vette to 150 mph by two seconds.”

That excerpt is from car and driver. Sounds like the TM3 will be competitive.

BMW M3’S are simple to mod for an instant +100HP. With an electric car you risk severe battery deterioration, overheating wiring, and possibly things catching on fire. Things that aren’t happening to the BMW’s with 100hp tunes on them. As far as stock, I think there is a fat chance of any Tesla today competing with the M3/M4 on a road course. For those of you that don’t understand what the M4 is all about, watch this video. The AMG and RS5 have more horsepower than the BMW. They finish within .22 seconds of each other. Yet the BMW beats them both by almost a full second!–audi-rs5-vs-bmw-m4-cp-vs-mercedes-amg-c63-s—part-2/44954/

And like I said, I just did instrumented testing on the P100D this weekend. I was startled that a new modified M4 can turn in just as quick a 0-60mph time.

“think there is a fat chance of any Tesla today competing with the M3/M4”’re talking about competing on a track. I’m talking about competing in the market. I would posit that the percentage of owners that are actually going to modify either is rather small.

Agreed. The “track” most consumers care about is their local street system. And I don’t see many people buying this level of car and wasting their warranty with aftermarket mods.

Overhyped and overpriced. I’m assuming that it’s the BMW M3 you are talking about.
Even so it’s a pretty fair rival to the Model 3 even though it has some ancient flaws.

Midsize Sedan. That is the class that the Model 3 is in, based on EPA classifications.

Technically, the BMW M3 is classified by the EPA as a “Compact Car” with interior volume of 108 ft3, and the Model 3 is rated by the EPA as a “Midsize Car” with interior volume of 114 ft3. So the TM3 beats the BMW M3 in interior space too.

The model 3 was designed to beat the 3 series, while being similar size and better cost. As such, that means that its class is the same as the 3 series. And if you look at sales for both Tesla model 3 and BMW’s 3 series in America, it is obvious that it is destroying the 3 series.

Now, here is a vehicle that obviously can out accelerate it on the road, when/where it matters. Likewise, Tesla, not just Musk, is claiming that it can out handle the M3.
We will see shortly.

Words are meaningless unless those claims can be backed up by actual lap times.


RE: “track” Musk went there, so I’ll take the down votes, too. It isn’t that TM3 has the bones to handle better. It’s that Elon Musk advertised the same AWD and Performance specs, and then tried to make something of “lot selelcted” motors in the “P” version. Really, to step up to $78k clams? He didn’t even talk motor power ratings, in a “performance” reveal. He didn’t talk about brakes, or maybe a pad that doesn’t melt. No Model 3 has been seen testing at a real track, and the virtue of the induction front was expressed as efficiency. PM cools more easily, which anyone having used a Model S at the track knows is the first heat problem you’ll run into. He could’ve talked about a motor inter-cooler, or more power-dense rather than energy-dense cells. The list goes on, and on, if we’re talking about the track. The company, Tesla, doesn’t have the resources, or the interest, to go producing track-centric EVs. Such a clean-sheet HAS to lead to a different result. People need to understand what blows away ICE technology on the street, is short-lived on the track. You either deal with that (in, say, a 9 minute… Read more »

Have to watch those newer BMW M3s. Plenty with simple mods that beat Z06 Corvettes. The quickest time I got on the Dragy user group data base was the 2.83 sec 0-60 mph while testing the P100D. That is without a 1ft roll out. I was a bit surprised a guy in a newer modded BMW M got a 2.82! And my run is the quickest of the many Tesla’s listed. And of course top end or road course, the BMW would dominate.

“with simple mods”

As I said in my reply to James above: I guess it is fair to only count factory standard cars.

We have yet to see what Tesla’s will do with mods. That day will come.

People have already modded GM Volt’s to perform much better than than stock, and we’ve already seen people retrofit Tesla Model S drivetrain parts into other cars (even with other battery packs) that produce very high performance.

I am certain there is more power to be found in the Model S and TM3 for drivers willing to push the limits the same as they are willing to push the limits modding ICE cars.

Of course it will be a rival. Now whether or not it’s quicker or faster on the track is a different question, but it has similar specs. Considering 99% (estimate) of BMW’s and Tesla’s are driven for daily driving, the gap between the two will likely be negligible.

Can it really be a rival if it’s vastly superior? :evilgrin:

Obviously, it’ll take out an M3 at a drag strip, but I’m skeptical of the track claims.

Low CG and better acceleration might be a huge advantage round corners and while coming out of corners. It will be a close competition. We will know in a few months since that is the first thing buyers will do… pit the performance model3 against the M3.

Tesla will need to offer a $5000 suspension upgrade to touch a modern day M-Car ‼️

1320 feet (1/4 mile) only, then the BMW M3 will kill the Model 3 no doubt about it.

The BMW is about a 12 second 1/4 mile car, so I don’t think it necessarily KILL it.


0-60 in 3.5 sec is super quick though I will give it that.

And the current Model 3 reportedly clocks in at < 5 s 0-60 while the official specs say 5.1. The performance version might even beat that 3.5 s.

As Tesla did with the P version of the Model S. They started with 4.2 s and then monitored their cars and increased performance by software updates. I think the same will happen to the Model 3 P, they start at 3.5 and after some monitoring they send an update to improve upon that time.

When Tesla first rolled out the initial Performance version of the Model S is was much slower 0-60 than the most recent P100D version. I fully expect the Model 3 Performance editions to similarly evolve.

Will the very first performance version of Tesla’s midsize EV that Tesla has ever made crush the BMW M3 that has gone through half a century of development and refinement? The fact that anybody is even talking about it is already a MASSIVE achievement, considering that half a decade ago everybody was convinced that EV’s were slow glorified golf carts. But Tesla has already changed that misconception so radically that now we’re talking about competing against the BMW M3.

The more interesting question is whether the TM3 will beat the BMW M3 after a few years of continued evolution, like the Model S performance line. The answer to that is purely how many years, not if it is possible. My guess is that BMW will have to resort to some type of AWD performance hybrid like the i8 for the BMW M3 in order to compete and still keep an ICE engine in the M3

The current M3 is almost done. The new M3 will be faster. The new M5, for comparison, can do 0-60 in less than 3.0 seconds, but it is more expensive than Tesla Model 3 and more comparable to Model S price wise. Ultimately 0-60 is not the ultimate performance measure. I doubt this generation of Teslas can keep up with a BMW M3 on autobahn or on a track. Maybe the next generation.

The question is rather if the M3 is a rival to the Model 3. Plenty of people will look at both the Model 3 and BMW M3 and choose the Model 3 but will there be any people seeing both and choosing the BMW? I doubt many will do that.

BMW will keep many of their old clients, but they will have a hard time getting new clients with a 20th century car.

Article title: “Is Tesla Model 3 Performance Version A BMW M3 Rival?”

Answer: YES

Will be interesting to see what Alex McCulloc (professional car driver & BMW enthusiast) thinks of the dual motor Model 3P. Here is his past comparison of RWD (single motor) Model 3 to BMW M3:

“…The steering, brakes, and balance were all on par with my expectations of a sport sedan—think [BMW] E46 M3… This car is a game-changer; it will be relatively attainable compared to its predecessors, and it was even able to satisfy the driving bias of an old-school BMW-lover like me. I really didn’t want to like it, but I found little to complain about…” source:

It’s like comparing a Ford Focus to a Lambo something just because they both have 4 wheels. TM3 is a cheap (or no-longer-so-heap…) low-end car for ordinary people while the M3 is a premium car for people that loves driving. Musk seems desperate…

@Johan M said: “It’s like comparing a Ford Focus to a Lambo…”

That’s harsh… BMW M3 is no Ford Focus.

M3 is a car with a lot of plastic buttons.

And a dirty gas guzzler…$3 gasoline is on the way LOL CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS

YES also for Mercedes AMG C 63 S Coupe, & Audi RS5.

All other EV makers want to be Tesla killer. Only Tesla go after bigger fish, beat ICE cars.

M3 is the handling benchmark.

We have to wait and see how close the Model 3 gets to matching the king of Neutral Handling.

Another Euro point of view

If it would beat the BMW M3 on the Nurburgring we would have seen it tested there yet. If it was not tested odds are it won’t beat it. The Nurburgring is so curvy that it is the best appraisal of the efficiency of a car on the track, I understand other tracks are just so much less challenging as far a handling is concerned (but am ready to be proved wrong). If it would beat the BMW on the ring without even being tested there if would be an amazing, but really amazing feat. Realistically I think chances it does are 1 on 20 but who knows…

NO american cars are tested at Nurburgring. Listen to interviews with the head of Ford Performance. German tracks don’t matter. Nobody buys an American car to drive it on a german track!

Have they solved the cooling problem or is this a half lap car? I haven’t seen anything to indicate battery/motor cooling is any better or different than the S.

There have been multiple Model 3s taken on track days now. Not a single one has gone into thermal protection during the outing.

That’s because the brakes wore out after a few miles

The problem for Teslas on the track is brake pad failure not motor overheating. Better competition brake pads would be a simple fix/option for Tesla to add. If they do add it, it will be a sign that they intend to be a rival to the M3, not just the regular 3 Series.

I’m not too worried considering that Model 3 Performance prototypes were spotted testing at a racetrack, and the person who saw them described the brakes as massive Brembos.

There are a lot of people waiting for the $35 version of the Model 3 but also for the AWD version and also for the performance version as well. I think with Tesla reaching 5K/week before July and making the higher margin offerings of the 3 will playout well in the 3rd and 4th quarters financially. After all Elon is not stupid.

Both just toys for the wealthy.

Maybe get a better job instead of complaining about what you’re unable to achieve.

Listen evshopper camped on his/her parent’s couch instead of getting an education and now regrets it LOL CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS

I’m not wealthy but will pay $800 per month for a model 3 and use it as a daily commuter. CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS

In day to day driving the Tesla P3 will be the total winner. On a race track it sounds like the BMW M3 will not be challenged too much by the P3 (disclaimer, I have no experience with race tracks), simply because the P3 is not intended to be a race car, Tesla just put some better components in a family car (easily matching a few BMW M3 specs on paper). As a daily driver, the P3 will always have better acceleration from a stop, and better reaction acceleration when in motion because the M3 has to have gears (odd and old limitation of combustion engines). The P3 will always be smoother, gallant, while the M3 will sweat like an exhausted hound always close to having an engine attack – for someone looking from the side, the M3 will soon appear and be perceived as “dated” technology. The P3 will be so economical compared to M3, the M3 will become an even smaller niche. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars more in 10 years to fuel and maintain the M3, when you get similar performance with a P3? (assuming you use the cars for commuting too). On a race… Read more »

Because M-Cars are special.

Soon enough we will be able to buy an electric m-car.

The model 3 will complete directly with the 3 series. There is no clearer competition. Just like the model S competes with larger jaguars.

The Model 3 is a clear jab at BMW as intended. And the pricing structure is extremely similar. Go figure.

The BMW M3 has always been the car to match or beat, because of it’s precise handling. That’s what makes it such a benchmark in the first place.

On a race track with several laps – no. Even though the M3 has a 3 in the name – it is a smaller car then the Model 3 btw. If they should compare it to a BMW, they should go up a class. Just as some people like to compare the Mercedes S class with a Tesla Model S. . . and just compare how quick it is, as that is the only important feature of a car.. With proper motor cooling, battery cooling and solid breaks – an EV should at least be as quick as an ICE car. In real world, the cooling is probably made more for normal driving, and the breaks may be undersized due to normal breaking is done by regen. We had a Model S from work on the autobahn, and when driving a bit fast for a fairly short while, it lost power. Probably due to prevent damage to motor, power electronics or the battery. I would think a similar thing would happen to a Model 3, when pushing it for a while on a track. In the US, where after market parts is BY FAR the largest in the world –… Read more »

Model 3s have been on track and they never went into thermal protection mode.

If they can drive it hard on a track, for many laps – it will be a HUGE win for EVs.

Then customers can just add better after market breaks.

The feeling you get, when the Model S lost power, and super cheap cars zipped past us.. kind of depressing.

Looking forward for testing, and hope it is balanced well too.

It can be competitive in a single lap race, but anything with significant duration and Tesla will overheat. Tesla is a good sprinter but has no stamina.

Incorrect, Model 3s have been on track and they never went into thermal protection mode.

That is the regular model, tested in winter. Wait for the performance model which requires much higher output, and in high temperatures.

Certainly they are rivals but in both cases make sense only for adolescent brained people with lots of money. They have no reasonable or safe use on public roads beyond the abilities of the models from which they are derived and are poor values compared to those models.

It would be interesting to know the degree to which these get cross shopped once both are readily available, quite a lot I would guess.

Clearly a sports car is not your bag

People have different prefrences. For some, it would be a plus, if they can bring it to a track on track days – but that is of course only for the few.

I’m in a track club, since I don’t want to punish my cars that much – and I would have extra expensive maintenance on my cars too.
I just want my cars to work all the time.

The track club have different cars I can rent, for a fair sum of money.


Oh I don’t know seems like the German machine wins at …
– going around in circles on a closed track.

Seems like the American machine wins at
– gas mileage (shell mpg challenge)
– nhtsa crash-test ratings
– darpa self-driving car challenge
– quietness (GM is trying to make the gov’t outlaw quiet EVs in 2020)
– 0-60 times (3.5s)
– cargo volume
– sunroof

Nothing that ANY self-respecting car-buyer would care about !!

It some sense It might beat m3
but as it is a tesla then
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