Tesla Model 3 Performance Is The M3 Rival BMW Never Anticipated

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?



    • Bo Hanan

      Intercooled batteries.

    • ➡️ProtectOurHeritage⬅️

      Perhaps you could go research it yourself? Maybe first fix your keyboard though?

    • Joseph Brown

      Track mode does more than simply cool the battery pack; it makes the handling of the Model 3 far more competitive.


  • Zandit75

    Comparing 0-100 times still a thing for Tesla is it?? Yawn.


      • Zandit75

        Except the Model3 is not a track car, period.


  • MarketAndChurch

    Doesn’t the Model3 handle worse than the M3? I don’t think most m3 or Model3 buyers cross-shop the two cars against each other anyways. That kind of money can buy you an even better performance mustang or camaro if speed and handling and value / performance-per-dollar are your thing.

    • Joseph Brown

      The reviews of the Model 3 handling are generally very positive, with the caveat that the automatic stability control (without ‘Track Mode’ active) hurts the performance of the car on the track. The ‘Track Mode’ update improves this quite a bit, but is not intended for use in an everyday driving environment.

  • Matt

    I think it would be more relevant to compare once the upcoming new M3 model is released. I have a feeling performance will be improved enough to at least match the 3 Performance (and handling will be improved).

    • ➡️ProtectOurHeritage⬅️

      Perhaps we should wait for the BMW i4, which will be launching within the next 12 months? T

    • Bob

      Until the new M3 is released, the current one is fair game.

  • Merc1

    No contest as to which one I would own. It isn’t the car with the monitor glued to the dash.


  • model 3 is a killer.

    • ➡️ProtectOurHeritage⬅️

      Yeah, that Autopilot is dangerous!

      • Tenzin Pelha

        Autopilot mode on Tesla doesn’t mean take your hands off the wheel and go to sleep. SMH name one other company that has a better driver assistant feature than Tesla?

        • ➡️ProtectOurHeritage⬅️

          Losers that rely on “driving assistance” shouldn’t be driving. They are the type of douchebags that are so lazy they wish someone would feed them and wipe their behinds every time they visit the toilet. Perhaps they should get on a bus or a train?

      • brn

        People not understanding L2 autonomy is dangerous. Most early implementations of autopilot in airplanes were L2. Current implementations are barely L3.

        • ➡️ProtectOurHeritage⬅️

          I prefer actual driving, it’s an enjoyment, a skill, a pleasure. If you want your car to drive for you where does it end? Will you want someone or something to carry you to and from your car because you’re too idle?

  • ➡️ProtectOurHeritage⬅️

    I think BMW did anticipate it, hence why you recently provided a photograph of the upcoming BMW i4.

  • Matteo Tommasi

    So we’re taking as a proving ground the only scenario, out of 5, where the electric car is better. Great journalism.

  • Andrewthecarguy

    M3 always.
    model 3 owners are in for a surprise very soon.

  • G-Force

    One has a manual transmission. The other doesn’t. To many that may not matter, but to hardcore enthusiast/purists thats all that matters.

    • brn

      One has a manual transmission. The other doesn’t have a transmission. Can’t call it an automatic, because it doesn’t do anything.

  • Mountainous Man

    A Casio digital is also more accurate than a Rolex Submariner, but I know which one I’d pick. Sometimes it’s more about the journey.

  • Patrick Mallon

    A bottle rocket is faster to 60 than either of them and much cheaper. Oops forget about those emissions though. This is a poor comparison. As a former M3 owner, I can tell you that drag racing was the furthest thing on my mind when buying the car.

  • Greg Sanchez

    m3 has higher skid pad rating, weighs 400lbs less, shorter wheelbase, lower height, RWD. hmmm i wonder which car will be a better “drivers” car

  • Rational

    It’s fine to note differences that ICE vehicles have that aren’t present in EVs – e.g. manual transmissions and exhaust note, but we should recognize that such differences are either irrelevant or even counter to performance. I’ll bet there were articles romanticizing the “sense of control from the crop and reins” and the “clip clop of hooves” as well when ICE cars started to take over.


  • Jørn-tommy Skjellnes

    in norway the tesla is 30000 cheaper than the bmw m3

    • danno

      Because taxpayer rebates for EVs
      Seems fair to me

  • Mr. EP9

    Rather have an Alfa over that BMW. One of the most lackluster generations to date. Better yet, give me the E46.

  • Nick099

    The writer must be on some very good psycho-tropic drugs.

  • Some day, technology will allow us to charge the Tesla battery in 5 minutes. Maybe I will consider then.


  • brn

    Forgot to mention the vehicles are also similar in the dice roll of reliability.

    On a separate note, Tesla has reached the point where they directly compete with the extremely prestigious BMW M-series? Congratulations Elon. I never thought I’d see the day.

  • Stealth333

    They are both rivals for being a pile of crap cars. 😀

  • JBsC6

    Model 3 performance would be my personal choice In this comparo.

    INstant torque and awd are leading attributes for the decision.

    Tesla has finally accomplished which no other brand could accomplish and take down the mighty 3 series.

    CREdit where credit is due.

    I will consider the model Y performance model as sports cuvs is where the market is at.

    HOpefully it will look closer to the alfa stelvio tisport than the weird looking tesla model x.

    A Few months and we should see the upcoming model Y.

    Between the rwd m3 or tesla model 3 performance…teasla for the win.

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