BMW i4 vs. Tesla Model 3 in direct comparison
Despite the high-performance charger, there is still time for the usual sneering of petrol-blooded nerds, who quickly calculate that tapping off 60 liters of Super Plus takes hardly any longer than registering at the charging station. We know “boost pressure” from turbo engines – but this is different.
BMW i4 M50 looks more enduring
There are all sorts of theories about how things will turn out on the handling track, which of the two will burn the faster lap time into the asphalt; but no one really has a clue. Neither the brand new i4 M50 nor the Model 3 Performance have ever set a reference time.
BMW pushes over the front axle
With freshly charged batteries, Model 3 and i4 are finally at the barrier of the dry handling track. First, the i4 can get a taste of the course. In the switchback, the mass of the portly little fellow hits through for the first time.
Good that the cells are deep in the car floor and there is plenty of traction. The inertia can still be felt when the i4 M50 stoically pushes over the front axle at excess speed.
Engine design in front
performance in front
Rear engine design
overall peak performance
Battery capacity gross/net
Charging power AC/DC
brakes in front
brake disc material
Wheel size front – rear
Tire size front – rear
Standard consumption • Standard range
Basic price (before funding)
20 inch wheel set
Sport Seats/Upgrade Sport Seats
Exterior carbon package
Test car price (is evaluated)
v. 8.5 x 20″ – h. 10 x 20″
v. 255/35 – h. 285/30 R 20 Y
21.9kWh/100km • 430km
Pirelli P Zero Elect TO
16.5kWh/100km • 547km
On the other hand, it is also unusual how undramatic and quiet this happens when the driving sound created by Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer is switched off.
The Bavarian masters the long right-left combination quite calmly, skilfully parries the changing curve with finely adjustable brakes and precise steering, without the air-sprung rear axle becoming too light.
But in the long left-hand bend, it is clearly noticeable that the ESP does not really want to release the power despite the M-Performance mode. As long as the steering sensor only registers a few degrees of steering, the power is brutally cut. Not worthy of a white and blue with an M in the name. An unnecessary disappointment as the mechanical setup feels very promising. So the i4 leaves valuable tenths, if not a good second.
After activating the track mode in the Model 3, there is joy: wheezing coolers cool down the battery so that the Model 3 can also do justice to its additional name. Feels a bit like the good old world of combustion engines for petrol-blooded nerds.
And performance is now in demand, after all, the i4 has already shown weakness. The tablet-sized table display now permanently shows the chassis with motors, brakes and of course the battery on the left – all green, i.e. departure.
Tesla is easy to drift sideways
The body thinks it can feel the three tenths that the Tesla needs less to catapult itself to 100 things. But the right foot clearly feels that the brake pedal lacks a firm pressure point. You sit only half a centimeter higher than in the i4 M50, but you feel you fall less deeply into the front armchairs, which also offer the driver and front passenger hardly any lateral support.
However, the trip over the Conti with the Model 3 is not lacking in fun. Especially around the vertical axis, the mid-range Tesla feels very agile, steers much more directly compared to the i4 and also has a much looser rear, which can be driven sideways with the accelerator pedal without much persuasion.
Minimal interventions by the ESP remain noticeable even in race mode, but the Model 3 is far removed from the massive power throttle of the i4 M50.
More serious is that the pressure point of the brakes moves further down from curve to curve. Little confidence-inspiring, moreover, the brake system has enough after only one fast lap, alarmed in the display with red color and the warning message “Brake overheated”. Gone is the fun.
The assumption: In order to supposedly stabilize the course, the coverings are probably permanently on some passages, which naturally results in great heat. However, if the Model 3 is only pushed to the limit by 80 percent, the fun with the Stromer on the slopes lasts longer. In the end, the Tesla crossed the finish line almost a tenth of a second earlier.
Duel decided by the electronics
The unsatisfactory aftertaste remains that this duel was decided by the electronics. Both the i4 M50 and the Model 3 Performance should get more out of themselves without control interventions. After all: With the i4 M50, the Stromer wins in the end, which skilfully celebrates sporty driving in the classic sense.
But even before this knowledge really trickles through, a more important fact comes to mind: the batteries are almost completely empty. That’s why this circuit duel ends earlier than usual – at least an hour. And with boost pressure.
2.Tesla Model 3: With a crisper chassis, sportier seats and more stable brakes, it would be the winner. 265 points