Tesla Model S Vs. BMW M5, Plus Model 3 Vs BMW M3


The high-performance EVs meet some of the world’s most popular high-performance ICE powered cars

First, let’s get something out of the way. While the BMW M3 tested right here is a performance monster, it’s an outgoing model and should be valued as such. Sure, the Model 3 Performance is not a brand new car as well, but it’s still years advanced in both development and age. However, as you will see from the test drive performed by Business Insider – featuring the Tesla Model S, Model 3 and the BMW M3 and M5 – the current-generation M3 still holds its own against these high-tech machines. Furthermore, the sedan also doesn’t falter against it’s larger, more powerful and quite newer sibling in the like of the BMW M5.

For some, comparing EVs versus ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) high-performance machines is like comparing apples and oranges. However, we don’t see it like that. There’s more than a solid foundation for this test drive. All the vehicles feature a similar price tag. They are all on top of their respective performance ranges. And to make matters even more interesting, this test drive details a comparison in the two most critical go-fast sedan segments — mid-size and compact.

The Tesla Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode starts north of $100,000. It offers a 0-60mph (0-100km/h) time of just 2.3 seconds. To put things into perspective, that’s a number that a V12 powered monster in the like of the Lamborghini Aventador S achieves – and that’s a supercar in a category on its own. However, the BMW F90 M5 is no slouch either – not in pricing nor performance.

Featuring a price tag (for the tested model) of $130,000, it clearly falls into the same category as the Tesla Model S P100D. Thanks to its 4.4 liter V8 TwinPower Turbo engine, delivering 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque, it eats up gasoline and turns it into mind-numbing velocity & driving dynamics. In the end, the BMW M5 is capable of dropping a 0-60mph (0-100km/h) of just 2.8 seconds – just shy of the Model S P100D. However, you do get that sweet exhaust note coming out of those quad exhaust pipes – something performance aficionados will not get with the battery-powered competitor from California

Next in line are the two sedans. Cheaper than both the Model S and M5, they do come with near as much performance & driving dynamics. Some will even say they are more fun to drive than their larger siblings. All we know is that they are both capable machines.

Fully loaded, the Model 3 Performance will hit $78,000. That gives you a vehicle with a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup, clocking in an astonishingly fast 0-60mph (0-100km/h) time of 3.5 seconds. The BMW F80 M3, on the other hand, comes with a bit less of a punch in the straight line acceleration run. Powered by a 3.0 liter BMW TwinPower Turbo engine, delivering 420 horsepower and 486 lb-ft of torque, it can sprint from 0-60mph (0-100km/h) in 4.1 seconds.

While slower in that regard than the Model 3, it does even out the odds both on and off the track in the driving dynamics situations. While you can’t buy the outgoing BMW F80 M3 anymore, it came with a starting price of $66,000 – making it more than comparable to the Model 3 Performance.

As you will see in the final verdict by the author of the comparison, these vehicles do stack well against each other. In our opinion, it’s going to be several things that push customers one way or the other. Since the pricing and performance are similar, most would-be owners will be swayed by several items.

For Tesla, the Supercharger network, cheaper to run and easier to maintain advantages is obvious. For BMW (and the likes), the driving dynamics, almost infinite range (when you take into account the time needed to refill it), heritage and the exhaust sound might sway customers in their direction. In the end, if you’re faced with this kind of a decision, it’s gravy time for you!

Categories: BMW, Comparison, Tesla

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9 Comments on "Tesla Model S Vs. BMW M5, Plus Model 3 Vs BMW M3"

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Please adjust the Tesla prices to refect today’s changes.

And the 0-60 time needs updating too

that “exhaust note” might be sweet for five minutes, but for most of the time it is just a nuisance. Then, the model S is probably quite a barge as compared to an M5. On the other hand, the model 3P can beat a Giulia QV around a track, therefore it is probably outperforming an M3 as well.
The actual trade off is choosing between cars that make 20-30 mpg VS 100 mpge, and between cars that have a better quality interior, built and possibly reliability VS a brand that has still quite some work to do.
Environmental impact and maintenance costs aside

I think you nailed it. The only tangible advantages of the BMWs are time to refuel, the inability of the S to operate at full throttle for extended periods of time, and people’s personal preference for the interior.

The 0.5 second difference in 0-60 is a huge performance advantage because acceleration doesn’t change linearly with power. It would take some serious modifications for the BMWs to make up that gap and the loss of durability and mileage could be huge. I would guess it is physically impossible for BMW to achieve equivalent acceleration with either motor within current emissions standards and the available octane ratings. You can only add so much boost so it takes additional displacement.

Car reviewers are pretty much scraping the bottle of the barrel for excuses when “exhaust note” is supposed to make up for all the other deficiencies inherent in and ICE car.

After driving Tesla’s, the “exhaust note” from high performance ICE cars no longer sounds sweet and powerful. Now it sounds like the poor “little engine that could” straining just to make some progress down the road. Meanwhile, the Teslas feel like they instantly transport you to the next dimension, without even breaking a sweat.


And not just Tesla, every EV feels like this. Just so effortless!

BMW like to drive to bankrupt

I have a 2019 M5 Competition. Love it, but would never go against a Tesla Model S P100D Ludicrous off the line or quarter mile. It’s senseless to compare EV’s and ICE in those catagories when EV’s simply have the advantage with nstantaneous torque and much less frictional loss.

On a whole, I would say for that price range a Merc E63s or BMW M5 make up for it in luxury, fit and finish. Paying north of $130K for a Tesla with a $60K interior luxury feels much worse even a year later after use. Then again Tesla has arguably better interior tech and level 3 autonomous drive which is a huge advantage in metro areas.

Tough choice, but I just like the M5 because it’s more driver oriented.

Yes the model 3P I built is now $68,500…not. $78,000