Spec and Price Comparison: BMW 330i vs Tesla Model 3

3-Series, News | July 31st, 2017 by 41
Tesla Model 31 830x553

When Tesla first spoke about the idea of its new Model 3, its main target was the BMW 3 Series. The 3er has always been …

When Tesla first spoke about the idea of its new Model 3, its main target was the BMW 3 Series. The 3er has always been the most popular car in the segment, so it’s only natural to target it. To take on BMW’s sales-giant, Tesla was going to have to build a car that was quick, practical and high-tech, at a similar price to the 3 Series. As far as we can tell, it seems that the Tesla Model 3 does all of those things.

In this new comparison from Electrek, we take a look at the Model 3 and the 3 Series and see how they compare on paper. We can obviously only compare on paper, as we haven’t yet driven the Model 3.

In exterior dimensions, the two cars are quite similar. The Model 3 is a bit bigger in almost every respect, though. It’s a few inches longer, a fraction of an inch taller, has a slightly long wheelbase and slightly wider wheel track. So it’s the bigger car, but only by a bit. Though, its interior volume is going to be significantly larger than the 3er’s. Thanks to its electric powertrain, Tesla is able to carve out far more space on the inside.

As far as performance goes, these two cars are quite similar. Electrek used the BMW 330i as an example, as it’s the closest to the Model 3 in terms of performance. The Model 3 in its standard battery form can sprint from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. With its upgraded battery, it can do the same sprint in 5.1 seconds. The BMW 330i splits the two cars, doing it in 5.4 seconds. So performance is pretty similar between the two cars.

If you’re going to ask about the differences in powertrain, it’s not really relevant. Yes, the Model 3 is fully electric while the BMW 330i uses a 2.0 liter turbo-four. However, Elon Musk was clear in that he wants the Model 3 to compete with all cars in the segment, not just EVs. So how they make their propulsion isn’t as relevant as what they do with it.

BMW 3er GT Facelift 2016 330i F34 LCI Luxury Line 03 750x497

In terms of pricing, the Tesla seems like it might have the BMW 3 Series beat. The standard Model 3 starts life at $35,000, while the BMW 330i starts at $38,750. While those prices can easily be evened out by BMW dealer discounts, the kicker is in their equipment. The Model 3 comes remarkably well equipped. Things like navigation, back-up camera and blind-spot assist are all standard on the Tesla. They’re optional extras on the 3 Series. Fancy autonomous driver aids are optional on both cars, though, but the options are far cheaper on the BMW. As far as standard equipment, though, the Model 3 might be the smarter deal, especially considering the tax incentives EVs get.

We obviously can’t compare these two cars on the road just yet. However, on paper, these two seem remarkably close. When Musk claimed the Model 3 would take on the 3 Series, he wasn’t kidding. We can’t wait to drive both back-to-back and see how they compare in the real world.

[Source: Electrek]

41 responses to “Spec and Price Comparison: BMW 330i vs Tesla Model 3”

  1. Johan Mo says:

    Interior knockout in favour of the 3 series.

    • CDspeed says:

      Agreed, when I first looked at the Model S I thought it looked cheap and poorly thought out, they upgraded since. The Model X did take their interior refinement up quite a bit, but the Model 3’s interior it’s design-less.

  2. Terry Cowan says:

    Given that over 80 million ICE sold last year vs. 2 million EV, are people actually cross shopping them?

    • CDspeed says:

      You can’t expect something new to immediately take over for something that’s been out for decades. But if you’d like to go electric, and you own a 3-series and the i3 does nothing for you.

      • Terry Cowan says:

        The 3er EV will be available before Tesla have filled their orders. And I’d prefer a 340i.

        • CDspeed says:

          You could be right, and the level of refinement BMW would bring will be hard for Tesla to match. One thing BMW has over Tesla is 100 years of experience.

          • Terry Cowan says:

            Haven’t you heard? Tesla make all other manufacturers obsolete. Or, we will be hyperlooping to Mars where we won’t need cars.

          • CDspeed says:

            That’s the talk you hear from Musk fans, I like the change in ideas his companies are causing. And I like my Tesla, but I don’t believe everything I read.

        • Eddy D says:

          I hope you’re right. I’m not sold on Tesla per se, but I am sold on the electric powertain. I’ve driven both the S/X, and the torque band and acceleration have won me over. It’s clear that electric is the superior propulsion method.

          The other benefit I noticed was the quietness of EV chassis; the battery pack has the effect of limiting a lot of road noises (not to mention lower COG). It seems to me that an electric motor would only serve to complement the already high level of refinement and performance found in BMWs. My next car will be electric: I hope it is still a BMW.

          -F30 driver

  3. John says:

    For heaven sake, these are two very different cars. It is like comparing apples with pears. Absolutely ridiculous.

    • Horatiu B. says:

      Then I guess Bloomberg is ridiculous too cause they just did the 320i and Mercedes C-Class. All three cars fall under the same premium segment, only difference is the drivetrain of choice

    • CDspeed says:

      Compact sports sedan, versus compact sports sedan.

      • Terry Cowan says:

        Many people don’t even have charging stations available. I don’t.

        • CDspeed says:

          I’m noticing new apartments and condos are installing chargers. But yes older building you’d have to convince them to install chargers. You have to admit though, it’s not like they don’t have electricity, so in a lot of cases it is technically possible. It may only be a matter of time as electric cars evolve into the mainstream.

          • Terry Cowan says:

            I live in Canada. I see full parking lots and line-ups at every Tim Hortons on the Trans-Canada highway. Where & how are these people charging?

          • CDspeed says:

            Couldn’t say, try downloading a charging station app, I had apps on my phone well before I bought my i3 back in 2014. They helped give me an idea of where they are, and when new ones pop up. Many people I’ve shown an app to were not aware there were any at all. When I first downloaded the app PlugShare there were maybe 12 stations in my local area, now there’s over 100.

          • Terry Cowan says:

            We’re a big country, it’s going to take more than an app. Another reason BMW were smart to make the i3 a city car. Bet I could go Trans Canada in an i8!

        • Chris Llana says:

          I have a charging station in my garage. Every house with an electrical receptacle is a charging station.

          • Terry Cowan says:

            Not in my parking garage, and many others, And we already have blackouts, summer or winter, depending on storms or heatwaves.

          • Chris Llana says:

            Clearly, you should stick with your combustion cars. The Model 3 simply presents another option for consumers. Choice is not a bad thing.

          • Terry Cowan says:

            And hopefully good for the planet. And investors.

          • bmw driver says:

            Lol don’t waste your time. These people are like dinosaurs talking about how this mammal thing will never catch on. The same bs was spouted about combustion cars.

            – they’re a fire risk
            – my horse never runs out of fuel
            – you need a garage and servicing which is more expensive than a horse
            – you can’t drive across country in a combustion vehicle, like I can wit my horse

            We all know how that turned out. We’re just seeing the same thing.

          • Terry Cowan says:

            Au contraire. A century ago electrics had 1/4 of the market. We all know how that turned out. I hope we’re not seeing the same thing. But we’re not there yet, way too soon to type like it’s a done deal. For it to work, we need more than Tesla.

        • Martin Karel says:

          Did you try looking around?

    • Fritz says:

      Alpina diesels and M cars are always being compared. It’s not that different when you think about it.

  4. Scott Campbell says:

    Motor Trend was really impressed with its short review of the Model 3 with its scalpel like handling and great power. Wait for the Ludicrous version to compete against the M3.

    • Terry Cowan says:

      Have you driven one? Motor Trend’s current Car of the Year has had its production suspended. Also EV.

    • DM says:

      I live in Silicon Valley with Tesla’s plant being only a half hour away. The reality here is that the Model S has stripped away a fairly noticeable amount of consumers away from the traditional Benz, Audi, Rover, Volvo segment. These are folks that can easily afford a $100K+ vehicle. Tesla has hit a vulnerable spot for ICE in that your average driver doesn’t hold “driving dynamics” anywhere near the top of their buying decision. Most Model S drivers around here are your commuters and soccer moms and the only “driver dynamics” that they’ll ever conceive of involves a stoplight grand prix or enough grunt to pass a slower vehicle and the Model S/X covers that in spades. Anything beyond that, interior ergonomics, handling, track performance – all irrelevant to the average vehicle consumer.

  5. Scott Campbell says:

    With Supercharging stations that charge 3 times faster than the fastest few public chargers and wifi updates for new features, Tesla still way ahead of the crowd. Plus, all the historic reservations will keep Tesla busy for at least the next few years.

    • Terry Cowan says:

      What crowd?

    • Tesla Superchargers charge at 120kW. CCS already has charging stations with 150kW and approved designs for 350kW charging stations. Tesla can not increase their power without melting their cable and socket, CCS has plenty of room left for upgrades. In EU there are ~5 times more CCS chargers than Superchargers.

      There are issues with various payment methods across charging networks and max charging rate is usually limited by what a car can accept and there are no 150kW cars on the market yet, but still future seems to be on CCS side. And Tesla cars can not charge from CCS. There is no adaptor or anything.

  6. Thaal Rasha says:

    Why not comparing it to the 330e ? you guys don’t have the hybrid version in the US ?

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