The Tesla Model 3 is still probably the most important electric car in the world. However, there was no “maybe” when it came out. This thing was light, 100% modern, and could drag race with the pros.
One of the biggest highlights of 2018 was how fast a Model 3 was compared to German rivals. We’re talking about established performance nameplates such as the C63 AMG, Audi RS5, and especially the BMW M3. Not only were the kings being dethroned in a straight line, but the 3er Performance could also be hooned around a track.
This fresh drag race video from Canadian YouTuber Sam CarLegion suggests things have changed a bit. Sure, the Model 3 is amazing, but it’s always had one obvious flaw: you can’t really tune it. There are companies that can install full carbon fiber kits or add traction, but it’s not like with a turbocharged German six-cylinder where you can just ECU your way to 100 hp more.
For most people, that’s not important. However, the M340i being a part of this race highlights something important. You see, that’s not supposed to be a real M car. But the 3.0-liter turbo engine, basically the same one found in the Supra, is amazing. And when you combine it with xDrive AWD, you get something magical.
The numbers on the screen tell us the M340i has a Stage 2 tune with downpipes and exhaust upgrades. It makes 520 horsepower and 490 lb-ft of torque versus 382 hp and 360 lb-ft if you want to believe BMW’s stock claims. In addition, there are some cosmetic add-ons that make it look cooler, even though they probably don’t add speed. For example, that looks like the CMST carbon fiber diffuser.
The Tesla appears to have some minor cosmetic mods, but it hasn’t been turbo’d to make extra power, and so the regular Performance configuration still has dual motors with 450 horsepower and 471 lb-ft of torque. The power gap isn’t huge, the weight is almost the same, and Teslas launch better by not having lag. So this is going to be a close race, right? No.
The M340i’s launch isn’t mind-blowing, but it quickly begins to pull ahead thanks to its superior output. As one comment puts it: “First time I’ve seen a gas-powered production car beat a Tesla on YouTube.”
As a side note. The guy who brought the blue Tesla also owns the red Lexus RC F that lost to a Toyota Supra. I would feel bad for him if he didn’t have this many cool cars.