Is the BMW 3 Series still the benchmark in sedans?
For generations, the BMW 3 Series has been the last word in small sport sedans. It’s constantly locked in combat against its conventional German rivals, the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. However, there’s a larger field still, with the likes of the Acura TLX, Lexus IS, Jaguar XE, Alfa Romeo Giulia and more. Now, though, it faces a new competitor that just may knock the 3 Series off its pedestal: the Tesla Model 3.
More specifically, our long-term Tesla Model 3 is finally fixed, and back for a shootout against the BMW. In this video, Roman drives our Thrifty 3, while Tommy pilots the all-new G20 generation 2019 BMW 330i xDrive. While the BMW may have traditionally been the best-selling model in its class, the Tesla Model 3 outsold it nearly three to one.
But right now, sales figures don’t matter. What matters, instead, is whether the 2019 BMW 3 Series or Tesla Model 3 is actually the better sedan. Some of that may come down to your predispositions toward either brand, and what you’re specifically looking for in a car. However, it also comes down to the numbers. While there is a more powerful M340i model as well, we have the less powerful 330i xDrive. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four producing 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. That power makes its way to all four wheels as needed through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is still standard on the 3 Series, while all-wheel drive models are $2,000 more.
Is the Tesla Model 3 in another league?
Mind you, the 4,092-pound Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor has quite a bit more power, even though the BMW is significantly lighter. It’s electric motors manage the equivalent of 346 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. That’s a bit down on the Performance model, which puts out 450 horsepower and 471 lb-ft of torque. However, the definite advantage of an electric car at a mile above sea level is that it doesn’t have to fight the thin air. Even with a turbocharger, the BMW feels a bit lethargic compared to sea level.
Naturally, the Tesla Model 3 walks away from the 2019 BMW 3 Series in a drag race. However, does that well and truly make it the better car? Roman and Tommy take both cars into the foothills of the Colorado Rockies to find out. Check out the video above to see our impressions!
Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more news about our long-term Thrifty 3, as well as more general news, views and real-world reviews.
If you missed the last Thrifty 3 episode, check it out below: