Tesla Model 3 Performance (With Price Cut) Compared To BMW M3


How does the electric Tesla stack up against one of the best high-performance gas sedans?

For every vehicle that even remotely wants to call its self a performance machine, it’s always going to be compared with the ultimate performance sedan: the BMW M3. After all, the M3 is one of the best high-performance machines money can buy and the BMW M3 has held that title for several decades.

However, with the advent of the Tesla Model 3 Performance, the M3 may no longer be the only option if you’d like to go with a high-performance sedan for your daily driver.

Below, you will see a chart by SacEV that gives us a rough idea on how these two stacks up against each other. While some of our readers will bring out the torches and pitchforks over this item, the comparison shown below isn’t fair to the BMW M3. After all, the outgoing BMW M3 is a vehicle that was envisioned and released almost 5 years ago. And that, in the automotive world, is considered ancient history.

However, the comparison does paint a pretty good picture on how an electric mid-size sedan stacks up against this ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) performance powerhouse. Clearly, the Model 3 is a newer car and sheer data thrown around doesn’t paint a complete picture. But, overall, it provides us with a solid look at where the world of mid-size performance machines is headed. And with that recent price drop, the Model 3 Performance with standard Upgrade Package now appears even more enticing.

The outgoing generation BMW M3 is powered by a 3.0 liter BMW TwinPower Turbo engine. It delivers 425 horsepower and 486lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a 7-Speed DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) system, allowing for speedy gear changes and impressive power delivery. The M3 can sprint from 0-60mph (0-97km/h) in just 3.9 seconds with some journalists even achieving even lower acceleration times. Overall, the M3 is the benchmark in its price category, as this is one of the best handling cars that money can buy.

The Tesla Model 3 Performance is what most consider a truly electric performance machine. It’s powered by two electric motors, featuring a Dual Electric Motor setup, allowing the Model 3 to sprint from 0-60mph (0-97km/h) in 3.3 seconds. The battery pack will afford the owner with a 310-mile range and the Model 3 will make things interesting both on and off the track.

For the Model 3 Performance, the true test will come once the Bavarian carmaker releases the new BMW G80 M3, slated for a 2020 reveal. However, Tesla is one of the most compelling arguments for a small and nimble battery-powered high-performance machine. And with potential upgrades, it could well be a worthy competitor even for the new generation of the ultimate driving machine later on. Maybe in a few years, we’ll get to crown a new, electric king of performance driving.

That being said, we can’t wait for the Bavarian answer to everything Tesla. Let’s hope it comes soon in the form of a high-performance electric Bimmer.

Tesla Model 3 Performance
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Tesla Model 3 Performance Tesla Model 3 Performance Tesla Model 3 Performance - Dual Motor Badge Tesla Model 3 Performance


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115 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Performance (With Price Cut) Compared To BMW M3"

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Good stuff, you may want to include weight in the table. M3 1,621 kg (manual gearbox) 1,647 kg (M-DCT) vs Model 3 1,847 kg. 200 kg difference is less than what I had expected – it will still make quite a big impact on driving dynamics. With adding some carbon parts you could get closer..

Hold on to your driving dynamics. The weight in the Model 3 is centered far lower than the BMW. This difference means that the Model 3 driving dynamics should outperform the high centered BMW.

True! But looking at the difference I think we may be just a couple og yeard away of reaching parity in weight. And as you have mentioned the much lower centre of gravity will mean it will have better dynamics even with more curb weight. The other thing is of course overheating issues (battery/controller/motor). That may also be solved soon. Then gas mobiles are dead for all people not just ev enthusiast!

“The weight in the Model 3 is centered far lower than the BMW. This difference means that the Model 3 driving dynamics should outperform the high centered BMW.”

Citation needed…

For both the CoG and the “outperform the driving dynamics” as if CoG is the only thing that influences driving dynamics.

If the Model 3P is better, great! But, let’s not just take one speculative EV talking point (CoG) and then extrapolate that one thing to say, oh, it’s that means it has better driving dynamics!

CoG on all Tesla’s means being able to spring and damp less, for those slalom transitions. With less suspension, Teslas stay flatter, and less punishing for daily use. I’d still lower, firm and sway M3P, but am not surprised if people find its “dynamics” better than the BMW.

What’s sad is seeing the spreadsheet, above. Did Tesla release “Track mode”, yet? Can we get off the paper? Didn’t mountain pass just reach the heat cut, on the track? These are serious considerations, even if only for those going through the paddock gate. That M3P customer pressure is almost zero, for track mode, tells me most commenting on the Tesla’s greatness aren’t hard core drivers.

As a DD, I’d be hands down for the Tesla, but walk away from the ergonomic interior sins Elon Musk was warned about. Especially if we’re talking “driving”, the whole mission of Tesla shows in its layout and controls. No matter how good the CoG, I wouldn’t fault anyone not picking it as a “driver’s cockpit”.

“CoG on all Tesla’s means being able to spring and damp less, for those slalom transitions”

That doesn’t make any sense.

It does make sense. Think of CoG as a lever when braking or turning.

A high CoG is like having a long shovel handle against a spring and putting all your weight against it. The spring resisting your weight has to be stiff and strong to keep from diving/rolling as you simulated braking and turning.

A low CoG is like having a short tooth brush handle and putting all your weight against it. You don’t have as much leverage, so a much lighter, softer spring can resist the forces you can apply through a short handle while simulating braking and turning.

Low center of gravity is better, all else equal, but less mass is also better, all else equal. Here nothing else is equal, and more mass loses — because physics. The truth is having a low center of gravity doesn’t actually help much with slowing down or changing the direction in which that mass is moving. It does help with body roll and therefore how planted the vehicle feels. Having the mass more centralised, especially having it within the wheels instead of outside, makes it much easier to rotate the car — it’s rotational inertia is lower the more centralised the mass. But high or low doesn’t impact this. And it’s one thing to point the car in another direction; for the mass to start moving in the other direction rather than the tyres just skid along the direction the car was already traveling, the tyres must overcome the momentum of inertia, in which having a low center of gravity again makes zero difference whatsoever. It’s definitely a good thing to keep the mass low and central. And it’s definitely nowhere near as good as not having the mass. I think it doesn’t matter, because the Model 3 is able… Read more »

Actually a lower CG does increase grip by reducing weight transfer. Tires traction is nonlinear with regard to normal force, so the more heavily loaded outside tires are less efficient.

Yes, the lower CG creates less of a “Moment of Inertia”. That means less chance of braking the tires loose and sliding.

It also helps braking by reducing the weight transfer to the front axle, allowing the rear tires to contribute more to braking.

The weight difference isn’t that great. Tesla could easily get the weight down if it wanted. But the model3 is set up as a family saloon not a dedicated high performance saloon. Even the performance model has to contend with a heavy body that is over engineered to be the safest car on the road. The fact it is as good shows that the ICEV is finished.

To really see what Tesla can do with electric performance we must wait for the Roadster 2

Rubbish, nobody who has experience with different cars on a track or on curvy mountainroads would say that. Its way more than just the center of gravity. Equally as important is the quality of the setup, dampers, stiffness, feedback of pedals and steering wheel, downforce, weight, grip…
Why is every Tesla inferior on the track to even non-performance editions of smaller BMWs? Why do Tesla fanboys never brag about times on popular racetracks? you should compare the TM3 to a standard BMW 3, not to the M3.

Why is every Tesla inferior on the track to even non-performance editions of smaller BMWs?

The only ones saying that, are those that hate Tesla. A number of reviews have rated TM3 above BM3, and yes, that is on the track.

And with most of the 200 Kg “Below” your Butt, you can be sure Body Roll will be less for the Model 3!

Metal roof rather than a glass panaramic roof is the difference in weight between the cars.

I don’t think either of them have a metal roof?

Read the Road &Track review of the perf Mod 3 with track mode enabled.

The BMW M getting 20 mpg?
Sure, if you put it in Eco-Pro mode.
And how many BMW M drivers do that?

I’d like to see Consumer Reports do a REAL MPG test on these performance cars. It wouldn’t surprise me these cars get 50% less than EPA when driven in a “spirited” manner. And that’s on Premium Fuel.

I’ve spoken with Tesla drivers getting substantially less efficiency with “spirited” driving. Oh gosh, what a horrific waste of perfectly good sunbeams 🙂

I drive a new m3 and average about 23mpg with my lead foot. My rear tire life is a good gauge for my driving style. On road trips at 85mph I average 26mpg. Not what you would call great by any means but above the 20mpg you think is unattainable.

Let’s not forget the driving dynamics of the engine roar of a floored car, downshifting that takes time, and notifies everyone your about to get moving.

I prefer not letting everyone know I’m passing.

I remember someone in a BMW i3 blitzed past me on the freeway, going in the passing lane while I was in the eco-pro lane. I heard nothing, saw an amber blur, and thought “what are his skinny tires rated for?” It was impressive. It made me grin. If only BMW made an electric vehicle that could compete with the Tesla Model III Performance on all factors.

BMW i3 tires have a Q speed rating, or 99 mph max. The maximum speed of an i3 is 93 and the i3S, 99 mph.

Yeah it would have been nice to throw in 60 to 0 stopping distance and maybe some kind of metric about turning just to throw the BMW a bone.

E46 M3 was more than 200 kg heavier than the E30 M3. Are you trying to say the E30 M3 was better than the E46 M3?

Note to staff: City/Hwy consumption for the BMW M3 are switched.

It may be that the BMW is 5 years old, but we also know that Tesla continuously updates its cars. So some time from now the comparison against the new BMW M3 might show the same picture because the Model 3 will have evolved as well.

The thing about the BMW design now being 5 years old is a double edged sword.

Yes, a new M3 is on the way, but lots of hardcore BMW fans think that BMW keeps going the wrong way each time they come out with a new model. There are lots of E46 M3 fans who will still swear it is better than the new model.

They keep getting bigger and fatter, so there is no guarantee that the next version will be better.

Great job with the article. I especially like the comparison table!

Why the constant comparison to the M3? I’ve seen a lot of TM3-P comparisons and every one is against the M3. The Alfa Giulia QV,
new Audi RS4, Caddy ATS-V and especially the AMG C63s are all superior cars to the M3 in one way or another. This generation M3/4 is overrated and IMO not the best car in the class.

All of those have ICE engines, so Model 3 is superior to all of them in the most important way.

Please read my comment again, I wasn’t talking about the Tesla Model 3.

But to answer your comment anyway, my choice would be the C63s, purely because it manages to mix excitement and comfort in a way nobody else can.

Your pocket will get excited every time you have to fill up that gas tank with Premium gas ,and take it for its scheduled maintenance.

Yes, that is part of the ownership of a high performance car. I’m a little confused why you are telling me this, have you only just discovered this for yourself or something?

Nothing comes close to the fun of driving a model 3 perf in its price range, not looking dumb and outdated in public is just a side bonus.

It depends what your idea of fun is.

Maybe because you can own a high performance car in a Tesla and still get outstanding energy efficiency unlike with the legacy, LICE crap?

That doesn’t answer the question of why the TM3-P is only ever compared to the BMW M3 and not the QV, AMG or RS4.

Because the BMW M3 has always been the handling benchmark to beat.

The next M3 is just around the corner and will feature AWD.

Not sure what you are ranting about. Motortrend compared the Model 3P to the Alfa in an article a couple of weeks ago.

It’s called history.

The Alfa is new and wunderbar.

BMW M3 was used as a benchmark to develop the Alfa.

The upcoming M3 will send Alfa back to the drawing boards.

So what’s your business here? You strike me as the type who would have more fun reading some GTO magazine.

I like cars, all cars, and that includes EV’s just as much as ICE. I guess you could consider me an enthusiast.

You don’t seem to see added value in electric drive beyond performance so I still think you would be better off reading all about Tesla on mainstream carblogs than on more environmentally, social responsibility oriented blogs like this one.

I don’t get it, I ask a question about why the Model 3 Perf is always compared directly to the BMW M3/4 and never against the AMG, QV or RS4 and all I get is general disdain and people trying to tell me how the Model 3 is superior. That’s not even close to answering the question I asked, so I’ll try again…

Why is everyone so obsessed with comparing the TM3-P to the BMW M3 when the AMG, QV and RS4 are IMO superior to the BMW M3?

I think BMW’s 3 Series is the closest ICE competitor of Tesla’s Model 3, both sporty lower luxury class that (will) sell 400-500K/year globally. So when it’s time to pit a super sport Model 3 against a super sport lower luxry ICE equivalent it makes sense to pick M3.

The BMW M3 has been considered for decades to be the benchmark for the market segment. Call it short-sighted, or just call it tradition, or whatever, it is what it is. It is a long held tradition of the automotive news industry, whether you like it or not, or whether BMW deserves it or not.

I just bought a Performance Model 3 4 days ago. It is awesome and costs nothing in electric to romp on compared to antiquated gas mobiles. Plus the Bimmer fully loaded is closer to $12k more with competition package do similar options. Plus no EV tax rebate ($7500 plus $2500 state) so like $22,000 more lol. No comparison.

True but you currently cannot lease a Model 3 so when that happens then Tesla will seriously have my attention.

You can’t lease one yet.

But soon enough.

But not yet.

@ approx. 60 liters X $1.30 Canadian Loonies for premium gas it is almost $80. to fill up any BMW with fossil fuels.I don’t think it cost more than $20 of electrons for a Tesla.

In Quebec, premium costs like 1,55$/L so 93$ to fill and it costs about 9$ at home for model 3.

Wow, almost a 💯 bucks each time….


Go Kenny G Go Kenny G keep cutting and pasting that same music note… 🎶

Try a little harder I’m sure you can come up with something new.

My comment is relevant to the article BELIEVE ME

The only thing missing from the Model 3 performance is an appearance package to distinguish it from the base Model 3’s. I’d love to see a Model 3 with a bit more aggressive body work, slight fender flares, and more sporty seats. I would sacrifice a bit of range for that. Otherwise, I don’t see why you would choose an M3 over the Model 3 (and this is coming from a long time M3 fan).

Agree, I think there’s definitely an opportunity here beyond the 20″ wheels, painted calipers, and spoiler.

OTOH I can understand Tesla’s view on performance styling is not the same as BMW’s “vents on top of vents on top of vents” approach.

That is what aftermarket tuners are for 🙂
Only thing you will be missing are add-on fat exhaust pipes…

If I had a Tesla Model 3 performance, if I ever went to the track I think it would be hilarious to hang a temporary big fat fart-pipe on the back just to mess with people.


It needs an interior and driver cluster that invites involvement from the performance oriented driver . That car can drive itself. It’s interior screams as much. It doesn’t need or want you working the controls.
If they did a better interior that isn’t austere for design sake I’d take one tomorrow.
I don’t want to feel like I’m bellying up to an apple genius bar or went to the Ikea showroom when I sit in my performance car. I’m not working on spreadsheets on my laptop.

Please heavens no. Leave the scoops and fender flfes to the Viagra crown driving AMGs, vettes, BMW M cars, etc. An EV doesn’t need the aero being wrecked by silly intake holes.

Hardly a ‘performance’ test…more like a spec comparison. Those who are shopping for M3/4 are likely looking for a daily driver that is equally as comfortable at the track.

Lets see how they compare on the track.

A very, very, very small percent of owners ever take their M3/4’s to the track.

How many track laps do you complete each day on your own personal daily commute?

I take my M3 to the track multiple times per year. How many hours or laps would a TM3 last at a track day?
I can fill the tank in minutes and do it all over again. That is precisely why I can’t buy an electric car!


You clearly didn’t read my post.

Your response is like if I said that left-handed green eyed people over 7 foot tall are a very, very, very small percent of the population. And then having you say “I’m 7 feet tall, and have green eyes and I’m left handed”, as if that proved me wrong.

All you have done is prove that the exception to the rule proves the rule. Sadly, you will never understand anything I’ve just said.

Looks like the BMW is about $5000 more expensive than the Tesla when both are maxed out (not counting taxes), and they have similar performance stats. Makes sense why Tesla is taking BMW’s market share.

Are you sure? BMW typically has hundreds of options.

Correct and the M3 comes standard with about $5000 worth of suspension components on it to.

Did you include “BMW Individual” options when maxing out the BMW M3? Or did you just look at what is on the BMW website?

BMW has a lot of off-menu options that can rocket the price even higher.

Love the performance potential of the Tesla 3.
But they have a lonnnnnng way to go to match BMW on an engaging drivers interior.

Guess if you prefer retro…

watch the video of m3 vs bmw i8 (a clearly better EV than the Tesla if price were no object). the m3 just eats it up on a road course. its all about weight and weight distribution. stoplight wars, thats another thing; go with the EV

The i8 is definitely not better than a Tesla, regardless of price point. It’s pretty, if you like that sort of styling.

Fred Lambert ghosted my account on Electrek because I was critical of his actions in regards to this price drop. He chose personal gain over the advancement of EVs, then basically called anyone who disagreed with him a mindless Tesla cultist.

Let me try to be as helpful as possible. If you don’t like a certain website or a certain writer, I would suggest not clicking on that content. That’s pretty much how the internet works, you choose what you are interested in with where you choose to visit.

It seems like hundreds of folks let him know they didn’t agree with him who still have their posts up over there. If you got banned it is likely because you did a much, much worse job at communicating your thoughts than all those other folks who didn’t get banned. That’s also how the internet works. If you do a horribly bad job of communicating on a site, you will be chosen to go too.

Most folks don’t want to hear you rehash your argument with some other site just because you got banned somewhere else. Heck, most folks don’t even want to rehash people who get banned here.

I’m not familiar with your name, have you posted here before? Having your first post here being about getting banned somewhere else isn’t exactly a great start.

I want a model 3 more than any of the other cars in this class. But I won’t buy one. Why? It’s not money, I have it. It’s not range anxiety, I have none. It’s not performance, the model 3 has it.
It’s the interior. That interior is atrocious. It’s a styling exercise in austerity just because it can.
The other players interiors are leagues better.
Tesla needs to step this aspect up. Interiors aren’t broke. It’s the ICE we want to do away with.

I want to buy one. I won’t: the interior matters that much to me.

Only thing I’d change is perhaps better wiper control and possibly separate controls for hvac, but I am not convinced yet. Wipers are pretty good on auto, could improve a tad. Hvac is really solid as is, but I have yet to go through winter. If I need to adjust it much from auto I might lean towards separating the controls.

What I’ve found is that the single screen, control stalks, and two scroll wheels give me almost equivalent functionality as our Model X. Granted, all Teslas are similar in the controls and interior. You either like it or you don’t, but you shouldn’t expect any current or future Teslas to stray from that styling.

I do wish Tesla did more to cosmetically differentiate the Performance Model 3 from its cheaper siblings. The competition typically offers performance specific color options (although Lord only knows what Tesla would charge for that!), interior colors, grades and styles of leather, unique exterior trim, bumpers, etc. The Model 3 gets a 1″ larger rims (which look almost identical to the 19″ rim option), red brake calipers and a carbon fiber spoiler most owners seem to have yet to receive.

Reminds me of the old Audi B5 S4 vs. A4. Besides the wheels and front bumper, there were only subtle exterior changes between the twin-turbo monster S4 and the pedestrian A4.

Lots of folks considered the sleeper looks to be a desirable feature, which made it more desirable than boy-racer cars with a bunch of look-at-me over the top external design flairs.

People buy the M-series vehicles because they’re deemed “sports cars”. One of the main reasons for buying sports cars is for their superior handling around corners. This comparison is incomplete without some handling-related stats.

But it’s pretty clear electric cars are going to dominate in the sports car segment and perhaps any segment where average selling price is $50k+.

The M3 segment isn’t really about the numbers. Those numbers that do matter are mostly about bragging rights.

You can order a BMW M3 painted individually in pretty much any colour you want as long as you’re willing to pay custom paint starts at $5000 and goes up from there.

This is a ridiculous article. A car is more than the sum of its parts. Yes the Tesla is bad-ass in a straight line, and it costs much less to operate than any ICE vehicle. But the fit/finish and overall driver’s experience is not something that shows up in a spreadsheet and that is where BMW far outshines Tesla (as does Mercedes/Audi etc).

No question EVs are the way of the future and ICE is on the way out (I work in the battery industry, so I am a big believer in EVs) but this article is about as biased as it gets. Is Tesla eating into the sales of high-end German OEMs? Absolutely. But folks cross-shopping aren’t doing it based on a spreadsheet. Same stupid stuff American car magazines have done for decades comparing the latest Corvette to the 911.

Doesn’t matter what performance numbers the Vette has, someone who wants a Porsche is getting a Porsche. Vettes are cheaper, (sometimes) better specs, but that isn’t what a Porsche buyer is looking for. Neither is an M3 buyer. In fact, an M3 buyer may very well have a Model 3 as a second car.

I understand what you are saying, but I believe there is a limit on how much the Germans can concede to Tesla in terms of performance and operating costs. Performance is luxury, maybe not the same type of luxury as nice leather or solid switch gear, but different type of luxury. I believe BMW should make the M3 a plug-in hybrid, otherwise it has no chance in competing with Tesla volume wise. That is unless Tesla implodes before they get a chance to go head to head in 2020 or so.

Agzand, I agree that BMW is missing the boat not having some sort of hybrid models of their cars. This goes for all automakers, not just BMW.

As for the luxury=performance comment, I also agree that there is a “limit” to how much performance BMW can cede to Tesla before it becomes a problem, but I don’t think we are there yet (could be wrong).

Yes, if you look at Model S sales, the turning point was when they started to turn up the dial on performance. I believe BMW needs to make the M3 a performance hybrid, they already have the drive train in the i8. Just add some battery, a 4 cylinder engine and stronger motor, something like 40 mile electric range would make it competitive with Model 3.

This is a strange move by Tesla. So are they going to restate their recently filed financial report? $5k per car refund should materially impact their profits and balance sheet.

No it won’t because the Performance wasn’t a huge part of their model mix. In addition, it remains to be seen how many Performance buyers will take Tesla up on the refund offer. I’m not going to.

The haven’t filed the 10-Q yet, so there’s nothing to restate.

I read a poll where 75% of P buyers said they’d surrender lifetime free Supercharging for the $5k refund. That’d reduce their 311m net income to about 300m (4000 refunds @5k each offset by elimination of ~2k Supercharging reserve for those same 4000 customers).

Sounds reasonable. I was under the impression that there are many more performance models in the 3Q model mix.

The biggest difference is not even mentioned: maintenance costs at the dealership!

“Let’s hope it comes soon in the form of a high-performance electric Bimmer.” Never was a truer thing said. However, the question is… will there even be a new BMW M3 in 2020? Sure, they may be working on the G80 right now, but will they release it? By 2020, in a world even more cogniscent of global warming and the problems associated with gasoline cars, any new BMW M3 may not even be welcome in some of the city centres of Europe. If it is a pure gasoline-burner, with no electric assist whatsoever, it will simply not be able to compete in the world of 2020 Tesla Vehicles. Center of mass is too high… polar moment of inertia way too high… and acceleration not likely to match the 2020 Model 3 (consider that the 2018 Model 3 is already 3.3 to 0-60 and like 6.8 0-90). That’s the track-oriented statistics. For the majority that don’t track their cars, things like “replacing brake parts” are something BMW owners have to contend with… along with all the other consumable parts of gasoline cars. Not the same for Model 3 owners. What will be the price of premium gasoline in 2020? Taxed… Read more »

So anyone know the lap time such as Laguna Seca with stock condition?
No scam like change to slick race tire as before, if you have read the race physics book 10% more performance on the tire is faster than 2 times of torque.

Dang the Tesla just destroys it in price value.

Tesla Model-3 is a clear winner over BMW M3 in every aspect. Look at the mileage: 116 MPGe vs 20 MPG. Actually Model-3 should have much higher MPGe, lets wait for the owners to say what they achieved.

Still the nationalist Germans will buy only M3, hope the Americans realize what their car Model-3 is superior in every aspect.
BTW, BMW M3 uses premium gas which is 40-60 cents more.

That we are even talking about this in the first year of Model 3 Performance production is amazing! Sprinting out the gates to compete at the top is an incredible feat for any car maker, much less an EV!!

I cannot say there is any comparison between those two cars. Tesla only win for 0-100 time, nothing else.

These cars are build to deliver on non-restricted roads and race tracks. Can me anyone here give a 100-250km/h acceleration time for both cars with rolling start and a lap time for one of the known race tracks on this planet? Afterwards we can discuss if these cars fit into the same catagory. Thanks.