Tesla Model 3: The New King of the Compact Luxury Car Segment
2019 Tesla Model 3 (Automobilemag.com)
Which new electric car do you see all over the road these days? One of the most popular electric cars that I see on the road lately is the futuristic Tesla Model 3. It is one of the sleekest looking cars on the market today, and for that reason, among others, this car sold around 140K in 2018 according to official sales reports from Tesla. This statistic is shocking as the Model 3's first full year on sale was 2018. The Model 3 should be expected to beat those numbers and possibly reach 200K by the end of this year, and these numbers are huge for a company that has only been alive for a little over 10 years. BMW dominated this segment with its sportiness and practicality for decades, but now it falls behind in sales numbers by almost 100K compared to the Model 3. BMW sold around 100K 3 series in 2014, but in 2018 they only sold around 70K according to official BMW sales reports. That number is only expected to fall unless this new generation 3 series (which looks stunning) gains some serious attention.
2019 Tesla Model 3 interior (businessinsider.com)
2020 BMW M340i (driving.ca)
Setting aside the electric characteristic of the car, the Tesla Model 3 is quite different from most cars of that segment, as its interior is inherently unique. All of the vehicle's controls are set up in a massive center screen, and surprisingly there's no classic style gauge cluster behind the steering wheel. The vehicle's speed, warning lights, battery capacity, and everything else is inside the central infotainment screen. This design is extremely simplistic and utilizes almost no physical buttons to control the system apart from the buttons on the steering wheel that control essential functions of the car along with various items within the screen. The interior quality is not as well put together as the BMW, but what can we expect from a young company like Tesla? BMW has the leg up on the interior quality, but the bang for the buck factor is present in the Model 3 on the performance side.
BMW M340i interior (topspeed.com)
A fully loaded Tesla Model 3 Performance costs around $65,000, while a fully loaded out 2018 BMW M3 can cost around $100,000. The Tesla and the Bimmer both have 0-60 times in the mid to lower 3-second range, but the Tesla's 3.2 second 0-60 beats the BMW's 3.8 second 0-60 by a decent 0.6 seconds. The reason for this gap is because the Tesla doesn't have to use any gears to go faster. There is one long gear that immediately launches the Model 3 with instantaneous torque all the way to its top speed of 162 mph. Although the top speed of the BMW is considerably higher at 174 mph, no one driving these cars daily necessarily needs that extra 12 mph. If someone were to buy a 3 series at the same price point as the Model 3, they would be losing out on the performance side, but they would be getting the interior of a car that has a prestigious company behind its back. The choice is difficult between these two rival vehicles, but in the end, the Model 3 wins out with its practicality, performance, and simplicity.