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      08-19-2018, 12:59 AM   #1
ynguldyn
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Tesla Model 3 AWD impressions after 15 years of BMWs

I picked up my new Model 3 AWD (non-Performance) today. First impressions after 50 miles:

Exterior - 4/10

I'm not a fan at all. I understand why it looks this way (aerodynamics) but it's just too bubbly. This design works better on the longer and wider S. The absence of a proper hatchback on this body is a huge wasted opportunity. I'd rather lose the fancy glass roof, which is the reason why they needed the crossbeam low behind the seats that made the hatchback impossible.

All three mirrors are smaller than they should be. 18" wheels are fine once the stupid plastic hubcaps are off and replaced by little covers for the center and the bolts. Though the plan is to make them into dedicated winters and have some aftermarket 19s with P4S for the next summer.

Headlights are good LEDs done the American way: much wider beam than BMW, without clearly defined edges, covering similar distance as F3x adaptive LEDs. Auto high beams work very similarly to BMW.

Interior - 7/10

Bland. Boring. Incongruous. The fake leather is very fake. The steering wheel is not great at 3-9 with large hands. However, for a 6'6" person, this is the best driving position I could ever find. The range of all adjustments is unbelievable. BMWs are better than most brands in this regard - this Tesla is way better. And even after I made myself comfortable, there was still plenty of space behind my seat for anyone who's shorter than I am. The improvement over my F31 is immense.

The seats are pretty comfortable. The side bolsters are weak compared to BMW sports seats - not as pronounced and not adjustable. But somehow this didn't feel like a big deal in practice, even when I drove the car properly. Rear passengers, once they stopped screaming, told me they liked their seats.

The steering wheel is very small, probably because there's no instrument panel you need to see through it. Built-in phone chargers work great and are very convenient. Lots and lots of space in the center console. The trunk is very large and then you find there's some more space under the false floor - but it's still no hatchback.

A/C and ventilation - everyone else should just stop making their own shit and license the Model 3 solution. It's that great.

Controls - 9/10

I took one point away because I need my HUD. I really need my HUD. I need my HUD very much. Otherwise, things take getting used to but eventually become very easy to operate. Those scroll buttons on the steering wheel are very intuitive. The current speed indicator is in the wrong place (not in the HUD), but doesn't take much effort to check regularly. Driver customizations are exemplary - this is exactly the kind of thing that works much better when approached from the point of view of an app developer instead of an automotive engineer.

Infotainment - 9/10

I'm not an audiophile, but when the kids streamed some Hamilton tracks and then Bohemian Rhapsody /takes a bow for giving the children some proper musical tastes/, it sounded no worse than my previous BMWs' H/K systems.

I use Tunein a lot, and the fact I can now use the built-in functionality instead of the iPhone app with its buggy BMW connection is simply amazing. Though it's disappointing that Spotify is only available in S and X.

All the phones we tried paired with the car in seconds, and the one phone call i received sounded perfect.

Navigation works more like Google Maps/Waze than BMW's own thing, which is a huge plus. iDrive's nav controls suck, no matter which version of it we're talking about.

Finally, we come to what y'all have been waiting for...

Driving - at least 12/10. This number should go up once I teach myself not to get scared so easily.

This is not the Performance version, so its competitor would properly be a 340i. Only it's not. This car handles like an E36. It is faster than 340i. The absence of gear changes and the presence of all that torque from 0 to [I won't tell you how fast] totally changes the perception of acceleration, making it seem much smoother than it is - until you look at the speed display. That small kart-like steering wheel is very sharp, precise, though doesn't offer much feedback - but most importantly the car turns as if it weighs 500 pounds less than it does. At the limit it starts pushing, but very predictably, and it really should be expected from Michelin Primacy tires you get with 18" wheels.

For some time, I couldn't decide if I wanted to spend the extra $10K on the Performance version - now I'm happy I didn't. This car is not going to compete (maybe a bit of auto-x for fun next season), and on the street what it has is plenty. Basically, any move you might want to make, short of something absolutely fucking reckless, you'll have enough power for it. No turbo lag, no need to downshift - it's all there the moment you ask for it with your right foot. All the ugliness, all the interior weirdness will be forgiven once you start driving.

Speaking of the right foot - at the standard regen level, the brake pedal is almost unnecessary. I'm still learning how to do it, but virtually all acceleration and deceleration is done with the right pedal, and only when you're at 5mph or less, you push the brake pedal to stop completely. I won't be surprised if the pads last 100K or more.

Bottom line: my dream car will have a BMW body and a BMW interior with Tesla drivetrain and infotainment. But until such a thing exists, I'll keep happily driving the Model 3.

(Photo with 19" Fast Wheels FC04 and Michelin PS4S added a mere year later.)
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Last edited by ynguldyn; 07-18-2019 at 12:00 AM..
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      08-19-2018, 02:08 AM   #2
bavarianride
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Thanks OP for the honest review!

Just curious, have u test driven any other EVs, e.g. Leaf, Bolt? If so, does Model 3 acceleration significantly feel better than the others?
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      08-19-2018, 09:46 AM   #3
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Nice honest review. The tech is interesting but the company is in major financial trouble and Musk is clearly nuts. I have a buddy with a model S that has been very good and itís fun to drive but is cheaply made and I suspect wonít last 10 years like all our Beamers do unless crashed!
Keep us posted on how you get on and good luck with it!
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      08-19-2018, 10:59 AM   #4
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Great review. Thank you!

I spent a lot of time in Tesla Model 3 and ignoring the company's financial and manufacturing problems could not convince myself that I am ready to buy this vehicle.

Three barriers:

- No HUD
- Excessive reliance on the display / found myself distracted while trying to find the right button
- Absence of a proper hatchback

I am waiting for BMW i4:

https://www.topspeed.com/cars/bmw/20...-ar180707.html
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      08-19-2018, 11:07 AM   #5
ynguldyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bavarianride View Post
Thanks OP for the honest review!

Just curious, have u test driven any other EVs, e.g. Leaf, Bolt? If so, does Model 3 acceleration significantly feel better than the others?
Never drove anything else, because I wasn't looking to buy an EV, I wanted to buy something that drives better than a legacy ICE car. Other Teslas do that too, but they were out of my price range.

A simple rule of thumb is this: if Leaf or Bolt passengers don't scream no matter how hard you press the accelerator, they are not as fast as the Model 3.
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      08-19-2018, 11:18 AM   #6
ynguldyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjkbrit View Post
Nice honest review. The tech is interesting but the company is in major financial trouble and Musk is clearly nuts. I have a buddy with a model S that has been very good and itís fun to drive but is cheaply made and I suspect wonít last 10 years like all our Beamers do unless crashed!
Keep us posted on how you get on and good luck with it!
Well... One thing 10 year old Bimmers (please note the spelling: Bimmers are cars, Beemers are motorcycles, and Beamers are, I guess, laseeers?) do is make you become good friends with a local German car specialist indy. One potential benefit of a Tesla is that it doesn't have many of the types of parts that regularly break in BMWs, and even if something breaks, the repair process is not as complex. The whole thing is very modular, conceptually closer to a desktop PC. Of course, it'll take a few years to get statistically relevant data, but I'm cautiously optimistic.
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      08-19-2018, 11:30 AM   #7
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Great review. Just the speed indicator position alone would put me off I think. With all the cameras in the UK the speed really needs to be front and center so it can be seen at all times to avoid loss of license.

Sounds like electric cars will be fun when they go mainstream though.
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      08-19-2018, 04:41 PM   #8
ynguldyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thescouselander View Post
Great review. Just the speed indicator position alone would put me off I think. With all the cameras in the UK the speed really needs to be front and center so it can be seen at all times to avoid loss of license.

Sounds like electric cars will be fun when they go mainstream though.
That particular problem is solved by the speed limit warning the car has standard.
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      08-19-2018, 05:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ynguldyn View Post
Well... One thing 10 year old Bimmers (please note the spelling: Bimmers are cars, Beemers are motorcycles, and Beamers are, I guess, laseeers?) do is make you become good friends with a local German car specialist indy. One potential benefit of a Tesla is that it doesn't have many of the types of parts that regularly break in BMWs, and even if something breaks, the repair process is not as complex. The whole thing is very modular, conceptually closer to a desktop PC. Of course, it'll take a few years to get statistically relevant data, but I'm cautiously optimistic.
Tesla does not disclose any tech/repair info to third party though, so customers are on their own if repair is not done at dealer.

BTW there have been reports of Tesla replacing Model S electric motors(under warranty) in 40-60k miles, so time will tell if that repeats for Model 3.
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      08-19-2018, 05:43 PM   #10
ynguldyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bavarianride View Post
Tesla does not disclose any tech/repair info to third party though, so customers are on their own if repair is not done at dealer.
I'm in a socialist state. We'll get Right to Repair sooner or later.
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      08-20-2018, 08:16 AM   #11
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      08-20-2018, 11:36 AM   #12
thescouselander
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ynguldyn View Post
That particular problem is solved by the speed limit warning the car has standard.
That's great - but not what I'd want.
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      08-20-2018, 12:45 PM   #13
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Though provoking... Tesla drive train, everything else bmw
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      08-20-2018, 01:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ynguldyn View Post
Well... One thing 10 year old Bimmers (please note the spelling: Bimmers are cars, Beemers are motorcycles, and Beamers are, I guess, laseeers?) do is make you become good friends with a local German car specialist indy. One potential benefit of a Tesla is that it doesn't have many of the types of parts that regularly break in BMWs, and even if something breaks, the repair process is not as complex. The whole thing is very modular, conceptually closer to a desktop PC. Of course, it'll take a few years to get statistically relevant data, but I'm cautiously optimistic.
LOL....I'm a Brit...we call 'em Beamers! Anyhow...I work on my own cars...always have. Only time I go to the Indy is for State Inspection. If a Tesla breaks you are totally dependent on Tesla for a fix. Given how much trouble the company is in I would not be remotely optimistic. Bankwuptcy as Musk joked only 6 months ago is a very real possibility...they will be out of cash by December unless they can get a LARGE cash infusion to finance another 12 months of cash burn.
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      08-20-2018, 02:23 PM   #15
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What does a reasonably optioned Model 3 cost? What federal/state tax incentives are still available?
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      08-20-2018, 02:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heco94 View Post
Though provoking... Tesla drive train, everything else bmw
IMHO, that's a honest review. The Germans do have similar drive train but without the range, so it is a matter of time.
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      08-20-2018, 05:52 PM   #17
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Great review! If it was possible to lease a Model 3 I'd order one now.
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      08-21-2018, 01:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ynguldyn View Post
Exterior - 4/10

I'm not a fan at all. I understand why it looks this way (aerodynamics) but it's just too bubbly.
Agreed. The Model 3 would look really nice if the canopy wasn't so damn tall. If the roof line was 3" shorter, it would look sexy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ynguldyn View Post
Driving - at least 12/10. This number should go up once I teach myself not to get scared so easily.

This is not the Performance version, so its competitor would properly be a 340i. Only it's not. This car handles like an E36. It is faster than 340i.
I have no doubt the thing is quick and strong to 60-80mph, but E cars don't have a ton of topend compared to their impressive 1/4 mile times. I've seen an owner test of the Model 3 at the track and it was doing low 13s@104mph. That means the mags will see low to mid 13s at 102ish. That's impressive; however, a standard 340i 8AT is a low 13 second at 108mph car. 4mph in the 1/4 mile is a pretty steady walk.
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      08-21-2018, 02:57 PM   #19
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My main concern would be the viability of their business model and if they'll still be alive 10 years from now.
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      08-21-2018, 03:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XutvJet View Post
Agreed. The Model 3 would look really nice if the canopy wasn't so damn tall. If the roof line was 3" shorter, it would look sexy.
The tall canopy is due to the narrowing above the door panels.

In a way, it is a roll cage above the door panels, covered by big span of glasses to hide the roll cage.

In the rear, the glass roof allows rear passenger's heads to stick up the roll cage by a few inches.

A standard steel roof(as in SR) can drop that further to reduce rear headroom.

And if roof line is 3" shorter, the rear passengers probably need to crouch down.
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      08-21-2018, 04:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XutvJet View Post
Agreed. The Model 3 would look really nice if the canopy wasn't so damn tall. If the roof line was 3" shorter, it would look sexy.




I have no doubt the thing is quick and strong to 60-80mph, but E cars don't have a ton of topend compared to their impressive 1/4 mile times. I've seen an owner test of the Model 3 at the track and it was doing low 13s@104mph. That means the mags will see low to mid 13s at 102ish. That's impressive; however, a standard 340i 8AT is a low 13 second at 108mph car. 4mph in the 1/4 mile is a pretty steady walk.
People love to quote how fast the model 3 "feels". In reality it's just the instant torque feeling. The trap speeds on these cars is not impressive. And I think it tops out at 120mph or something.

Main reason I wouldn't get one is that they still overheat or go into limp mode too quick. That's why you never see them setting a lap time, last time a p85 did a lightning lap it got beat by a 200hp Subaru brz
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      08-21-2018, 04:41 PM   #22
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Great review and I agree with your comments especially about the exterior and the controls. A HUD would be so very useful!
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