QOTD: Do You Want a Tesla Model 3 or an Electric BMW 3 Series?

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
qotd do you want a tesla model 3 or an electric bmw 3 series

BMW intends to unveil an all-electric 3 Series at the Munich Auto Show in September, according to German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

Will BMW report the intake of hundreds of thousands of $1,000 deposits for an all-electric, next-generation BMW 3 Series? Probably not.

But which car are you more likely to purchase: a 3 Series EV from long-heralded BMW with roughly 250 miles of range, or the much-hyped, oft-discussed Model 3 from nascent Tesla, production of which should be in full swing by the time the 3 Series EV appears?

This may be the next Mustang vs. Camaro, a quasi Accord vs. Camry battle to end all Accord vs. Camry battles, an F-150 vs. Silverado skirmish without the 87 octane.

If the next iteration of the 3 Series, codename G20, was designed from the get-go to utilize a pure electric drivetrain, the 3 Series, a global premium performance leader, could be poised to steal some of Tesla’s thunder.

Yet part of Tesla’s appeal is the anti-establishment tenor of the company.

Say what you will about the poor quality of construction, the flighty ambitions, the delays, the odd decisions, and the lack of clear sales reporting ( there’s plenty to say). But it’s difficult to deny that Tesla has its finger on the pulse of a certain demographic, and it’s not a small demographic. Is a regular, entry-level BMW sedan that looks like every other 3 Series really going to make the same statement that a Tesla Model 3 could?

Moreover, Tesla is fostering a reputation, deserved or not, as the electric automaker, with some consumers perceiving Tesla to be at the leading edge of electric cars simply because Tesla doesn’t build anything other than electric cars.

The question in the mind of the average car buyer isn’t whether they want an electric car from an established automaker, an electric version of one of the world’s most popular premium vehicles. Rather, the average car buyer is attempting to determine just how badly he or she wants to buy a semi-affordable electric car from an electric car specialist.

But what about you? BMW 3 Series EV or Tesla Model 3?

And while you’re waiting on both, don’t forget that there’s already a BMW 33oe iPerformance, a $45,095, 248-horsepower plug-in hybrid that operates in EV mode for up to 14 miles.

That’s likely an insufficient partway measure for next year’s Model 3 buyer. 6 percent of U.S. 3 Series buyers in the first five months of 2017 chose the plug-in model, according to HybridCars.com.

[Images: BMW, Tesla]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jun 29, 2017

    I would choose Tesla. First it is local company and second BMW is for unwashed masses and hairdresser.

  • Akatsuki Akatsuki on Jun 29, 2017

    I know this site has it in for Tesla. But let's also list some of the advantages including constantly improving software; the knowledge that if autopilot driving comes, you can have the stuff for it now; etc. I am stuck with my mediocre Toyota interface until I replace the car. Other people are in the same situation.

  • KOKing That base hybrid system must be something other than the normal Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive, since that uses the two electric motors as the ('CVT') transmission without a separate transmission of any kind.
  • Analoggrotto Too much of the exterior is shared with the Grand Highlander. Toyota/Lexus is clearly over extended here as this was rushed in direct response to the Kia Telluride which has decimated RX sales. Lexus was not such a major offender of just changing the front and rear end caps on a lesser Toyota model (this worked for LX / Land Cruiser as the latter is already expensive) but for such a mass market vehicle, buyers will notice and may just go to Toyota (or Kia) for their big SUV.
  • Crtfour I'm a BOF SUV fan. In my opinion it's certainly not a looker (but what is these days). But it does look the part and should be great off road. Plus kudos to Toyota for retaining actual shift levers. So I give it a thumbs up.
  • Theflyersfan UX Hybrid, NX, NX Hybrid, NX Plug-In Hybrid EV, RZ, RX, RX Hybrid, RX 500h, GX, LX, and now the TX. (source: the bloated section of the Lexus SUV site) It's looking like the Taco Bell menu over there - the same dozen ingredients mixed around to make a lineup. I'm waiting for something like the WX to compete with the Chevy Trax and maybe the LXXXL to compete with the Hummer EV and maybe a four row crossover in 2025 and a lower-cased line like the rx or nx to compete with the German CUV-"coupes" and their slashed tops and cargo areas. C'mon Lexus, there are more micro-niches to be filled! Gather your boardroom committees together and come up with another plan! And careless parent alert: shouldn't that kid be in a booster seat? I mean in my age, we sat in the way back of station wagons on the flat floor and bounced around with every curve, but these days you gotta deck your kid out in 50 pounds of pads and bubble wrap before they leave the driveway, so get that child seat in the way back right now!
  • 28-Cars-Later Nice minivan, just add the sliding doors and quit living in denial.