One could argue that, as recently as a decade ago, BMW (or anyone else for that matter) had little clue that there would soon come a time when a California-based EV maker would build a mass production all-electric sedan that could outrun an M3 in a straight line for the same money.
Of course, those were different times, as automakers were just getting into the notion of hybridization aiding performance. Still, when it comes to the M3 versus Tesla’s dual-motor Model 3 Performance, the numbers are quite conclusive.
This chart, courtesy of EuroSport Tuning, shows that the Tesla is faster both to 60 mph (96 km/h) and the quarter mile than the M3. And that’s despite the fact that it weighs a hefty 457 lbs (207 kg) more while having a similar wheelbase, length, height and width.
“This Tesla Model 3’s design was absolutely influenced by the M3,” said EuroSport Tuning exec Frank Derks. “The M3 is the performer all others must match. Due to its electric motor, the Tesla is slightly quicker than the BMW in terms of zero to 60 and quarter-mile times. The true contest would be on the track because the M3 has balanced handling, is lighter, and doesn’t have a battery pack that’s in danger of overheating.”
“I’ll admit the Model 3 Performance is great competition and will probably make BMW up their game. There’s been a lot of talk about adding hybrid and electric vehicles to BMW’s M line. Who knows? That’s great if they can do it but all most of us want is an M3 that feels like an M3, no matter what’s actually under the hood,” Derks added.
What’s particularly interesting is the fact that both cars cost nearly the same, so opting for the Model 3 Performance not only means you’ll be hitting 60 mph (96 km/h) quicker than in the M3 (3.5 sec as opposed to 4.0 sec), but you’ll be doing so while emitting zero emissions.
But that’s only one side of the coin. The other side has to do with the fun factor, since many people will certainly argue in favor of the BMW’s engine note, manual gearbox, higher top speed, lighter construction and overall handling and agility that constitute the playful character the M3 offers in spades.
There’s no doubt the industry is heading towards electrifying everything. The question is, would you rather embrace it now by getting a Model 3 or stick with the “traditional”, ICE-powered M3?