Here's Why Tesla Model 3 Performance Variant Might be Better Than a BMW M3

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【Summary】We compare the Tesla Model 3 and BMW M3, to find out which is the ultimate performance sedan.

Manish Kharinta    Sep 09, 2018 10:48 AM PT
Here's Why Tesla Model 3 Performance Variant Might be Better Than a BMW M3

Earlier last month, we reported that Tesla's Model 3 has managed to become the number one leader in its segment. In addition, the more affordable mass-market electric sedan outsold the combined sales of every other midsize premium sedan. We are witnessing a trend in which consumers are moving away from other conventional performance sedans and opting for Tesla's latest electric offering. 

To better understand the reasons why the Model 3 so appealing to customers who are looking for an upgrade, we are going to compare the Model 3 to the BMW M3.

Why the BMW M3?

The BMW M3 has been regarded as one of the finest performance sedans in the world. Recent comparisons to other models, such as the Mercedes Benz C63 and Cadillac ATS-V, might suggest that these offerings may be superior in some respects to the M3. However, taking into consideration quality, price, features and performance stats, the Model 3 is a tough competitor.


The top of the line dual-motor all-wheel drive performance variant of Model 3 is priced at $64,000. Whereas, the closest BMW M3 trim is the base manual variant priced at $66,500.


The Tesla Model 3 is powered by 75 kW 350 V lithium-ion battery pack, which produces a combined power output of 450 HP and 471 lb-ft of torque. The BMW M3 manual sedan gels a V6 engine which produces 425 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque.

Even though Model 3 has better power and torque figures, because of its battery pack it is much heavier than the German offering. The Model 3 weighs in at 4,072 lbs, while the manual M3 weighs 3,540 lb. In comparison, we found that BMW M3's power-to-weight-ratio is superior to that of Tesla Model 3 by 0.01 BHP/lb.


Since Tesla Model 3 is an electric sedan, it has much more torque than BMW M3. This is why it can accelerate from 0 to 60 in just 3.5 seconds, even with its marginally inferior power-to-weight-ratio. Whereas the M3 takes 4 seconds to reach 60 mph. 

The dual motor setup in the Tesla Model 3 Performance variant also makes it all-wheel-drive, but the base BMW M3 manual model only gets a rear-wheel-drive setup. The battery pack located in the floor pan of Model 3 bestows it with an impressivly low center of gravity, which further enhances its handling characteristics.


Initial reports by Model 3 owners cited concerns about the car's quality. Since then, customer reviews have revealed that Tesla is constantly working on updates to refine the Model 3 and quality issues are being addressed. As the Model 3 is an all-electric sedan, it is less likely to break down as compared to traditional internal combustion engines. 

This means that the Model 3 might just be more reliable and cheaper to service and maintain. However, as we only have initial reports of Model 3, more data collected over a longer period of time is required.


Aesthetics of a car are always subjective to the consumer's perception and taste. Automotive experts across the globe have praised the minimalistic approach to the design of Tesla Model 3. However, the aesthetics of the 2018 BMW M3 have also been appreciated. 

The minimalist exterior and interior of Tesla Model 3 might appeal to the more tech-savvy customer base, while some customers might favor the conventional controls found in the M3. 

Inside the Model 3 there are two toggles on the steering wheel and a touch screen display mounted on the center of the dashboard which controls all the functions inside the car's cabin. The BMW M3 on the other hand, gets traditional toggles and switches and gauges.

The Verdict

Prospective performance sedan buyers might want to consider Model 3 over the BMW M3. Factors like price and performance figures are some of the most appealing factors about Tesla's offering in the performance segment. For potential Tesla customers, the limited electric driving range of the Model 3 might not a deal-breaker. 

In the real world, a performance sedan will only be pushed to its limits in a controlled environment like a racetrack–not during a typical highway cruise.

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