There are nuances, but Tesla’s EVs are generally seen as some of the fastest cars in the world. And the Model 3 Performance used to brutally dominate similarly sized German cars with sporty badges, including the BMW M3, Audi RS5, and Mercedes-AMG C63. That was in 2019, but things are different in 2022 thanks to the all-new M3.
Before we start the history lesson, let’s see what has changed in the Tesla vs. Germany battle. As you’re probably aware, the new BMW M3 is more powerful than before and launches better even with its normal tail-happy configuration. However, there’s an option to add xDrive AWD and turn this into a rocket.
With these weapons in its arsenal, the 503 horsepower BMW M3 Competition decided to race the Tesla Model 3 Performance once more. And to make things a little more interesting, Carwow magazine also lined up a third car to go down the quarter-mile. It’s a 2022 Audi RS5 Sportback, which is beautiful, but it’s clearly going to lose.
The numbers Mat Watson posts are the metric ones, as they might be stated in Germany, for example. The BMW’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter makes 510 PS or 503 hp in American money. Meanwhile, the Audi RS5 makes the same 444 hp it’s produced for the past decade, even before switching to the 2.9 TFSI. But Tesla is a problem child because Elon doesn’t like to play by the rules.
So you’ll find the Model 3 Performance rated at everything from 430 to 520 hp. Mat Watson says it’s making 460 PS which would be 454 hp. But what really matters here is the outcome of the race. After a round of “tire warming,” the M3 AWD is found to be the quarter-mile winner with an 11.4-second pass.
BMW M3 vs. Tesla Model 3, battling since 2019
I really think Carwow should have done more races because they’re just going to stoke the fires of critics on both sides otherwise. The two sedans have been locked in battle since 2019.
In April that year, Top Gear took both of them on the track and was surprised by how playful the Model 3 Performance could be. Motor Trend did the same soon after that. And, of course, there were at least half a dozen important drag races.
The old F80/F82 never stood a chance against the Model 3, which just hooked up better off the line. Of course, we now know there was a problem with the BMW launch control system, which they’ve substantially improved on this new generation. But nothing beats AWD in a drag race. And let’s not forget, BMW also makes the all-electric i4 M50, a direct EV rival.