Since Tesla debuted the Model 3 Performance, it’s been the go-to fast EV. It’s not the fastest EV on the market; cars like Tesla’s own Model S Plaid, the Audi RS e-tron GT, and Porsche Taycan Turbo are all faster; but it’s always been the fastest affordable EV. However, the newly released BMW i4 M50 is just as fast and might actually represent a better value.
The BMW i4 M50 starts at $65,900 before destination, while the Tesla Model 3 Performance starts at $58,990. That makes the Model 3 Performance $6,910 cheaper than the i4. So how could the Bimmer be a better value, when it’s just as fast but more expensive? Tax credits. In the US, the BMW i4 M50 is eligible for $7,500 in federal tax rebates, while the Tesla Model 3 Performance no longer is. When you factor that tax rebate in, the i4 M50 is actually cheaper than the Tesla.
In terms of performance, both cars are about even. As per Car and Driver’s instrumented testing, the Tesla Model 3 Performance hits 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, while the BMW i4 M50 does it in 3.3 seconds. So the Model 3 is a bit quicker, likely because it’s lighter, but those two tenths are impossible to feel from the butt dyno. Both cars are bonkers quick, no two ways about it.
However, the BMW i4 M50 offers more car overall. Sure, the Model 3 offers almost 100 miles more range, which isn’t insignificant, but the 220-ish miles of real-world range the i4 M50 offers (versus the roughly 310m miles of the Tesla) is plenty. Most customers charge from home, so the i4 M50’s range is more than enough. But the i4 M50 is more practical, with its hatchback trunk, it handles better, its ride quality is better, it features more interior luxuries, far better build quality/reliability, and comes with a vastly superior dealer/service network.
Most EV customers prioritize range and efficiency above all else, so they’re likely to still choose the Tesla. And, if those are the things that matter most to you, the Model 3 is superior to the i4 M50. But when you consider the rest of the Bimmer’s qualities; comfort, quality, reliability, performance, cost, and ease of ownership, the BMW i4 M50 could actually be the better value. And if it’s a better value than the Model 3 Performance, is it the best performance EV value on the market?