Under normal circumstances, the BMW M850i Gran Coupe and Tesla Model 3 simply do not compete with one another. The former is a massively expensive, monstrously powerful luxury car and the latter is an affordable, all-electric sedan. However, they can both compete in one way — driving themselves. So when it comes to semi-autonomous driving, which car is better?
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In this video, Ash Davies compares the two and their self-driving features to see which is best. Now there are a few issues with this video. First of which is the fact that it seems to be comparing what Telsa’s entry-level model can do to what BMW’s top-of-the-line car can do, as if the 8 Series is the only Bimmer that has this tech. It isn’t. Even the 3 Series is available with the same self-driving tech as the M850i. Also, one does not have to hold the steering wheel for the system to work in the BMW, it only requires being touched every 15-30 seconds or so to make sure the driver is awake and present. It’s a safety protocol and one that Tesla should also require.
However, there are some interesting differences between the two cars’ semi-self-driving features. I won’t get into how ridiculous and irresponsible it is for Tesla to name its system “Autopilot”. Instead, let’s talk about the differences between the two brands’ systems.
For instance, the Model 3 allows a lot more freedom than the M850i Gran Coupe. I can’t tell if its competence or willingness, as the cars have the same basic abilities but the BMW is far more restrictive in when and where it can use them. The Model 3 can enter and exit highway ramps on its own, while the BMW can’t, but that seems more like BMW just doesn’t want to offer than ability for safety reasons, as it’s clear the BMW has the hardware and software capability to do it.
Also, BMW’s can also change lanes on their own when prompted with the indicator stalk just like Teslas, so I’m not sure why it didn’t work in this video.
One feature that the Tesla Model 3 has which is actually very cool is the live digital map of the car, its surroundings and its understanding of the road ahead. Seeing that in real time allows you to see what the car “sees”, which does give the driver some peace of mind. It also just looks really cool.
However, claiming that to be a Tesla-only feature is incorrect. BMW also has a very similar feature and can display what the car is seeing and it’s surroundings. The only real difference between both features is that the Tesla’s can be interacted with via touchscreen, while the BMW’s can’t, as it’s only displayed in the central gauge cluster. However, they’re both very similar. Admittedly, you need to dig through about fifty iDrive submenus to turn the system on, albeit only once, but BMW does have it.
In the end, the Tesla Model 3 is obviously deemed the winner, as its frustratingly-named Autopilot system is more advanced than BMW’s system. However, it’s not as cut and dried as this video claims it to be. Sure, Tesla’s Autopilot can do more but that’s only because it’s allowed to and there are some inaccuracies in this video that need to be taken into account to judge them properly.