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I have been following electric cars for a long time. Back in 2012, the model S was too expensive, and the leaf, iMiev etc had too short range. So I got a volt and really enjoy driving electric 80% of the time.

The technology has move ahead quite a bit now and I suspect what Tesla has done have pushed other manufacturers to go electric. I was seriously considering a model 3. Because of COVID, we are now vacationing a lot more in Canada (locally) instead of cruises etc… So I want a car that is confortable to drive and had a good distance for road trips.

I remember telling my wife that I was considering a model 3 but would probably have to put transparent plastic protection because the paint is not good. My wife said: wait! You want to spend 50k+ on a car with paint problems?

And I don’t like the minimalist interior. I don’t want to go through 3 menu items to open a glove compartment. They say minimalism is the goal, but I think that because they are a new company, it’s easier for them to put a plain interior with a single screen to control everything.

So, I’m looking for something with good quality, fun to drive, comfortable and with 400 km+ of range. And somehow, the i40 base price here is about the same as the base model 3. I won’t consider the Audi e-tron because it means « turd » where I live. Would you drive an Audi turd sport? No thanks. The Mercedes is too expensive.
 

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Oh man that’s hilarious and a major marketing blunder.

You think Audi would be smart enough to change it for French speaking markets.

Yes, the i4 e40 is a much better proposition than a Tesla 3. You won’t need to worry about BMW paint and there are better colors to choose from.
 

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As a Tesla Model 3 driver since December 19, I'm now moving to the i4. The main reason is noise levels. Lots of road noise and I get wind noise at the top of the drivers window. I'm pretty sure these won't be issues with the i4.
 

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I guess that my choice for the i4 had nothing to do with the flaws (if any) of Tesla. Based on my experience with the brand I am just very confident that BMW will enable a transition to EV that will actually be very enjoyable.

My main focus is the driver experience that a new car can offer. A new car will have to offer very nice handling first, and in addition acceptable levels of comfort and high build quality. And as the i4 will be my daily, there are some minimal requirements for practicality. I am confident that BMW can deliver, and was even more so after a weekend in an iX3. Although a very different car a very nice experience. And the i4 will only be more tailored to my needs.

So the question was not i4 versus Tesla or any of the other brands. No doubt there are some very good non-BMW-cars out there. The actual dilemma was “BMW EV now” versus “One More BMW ICE now and EV later”. Or more precise i4 versus M440i Gran Coupe versus 430i Gran Coupe. As the M440i is in a very different price league than the i4, thanks to local taxes, it really came down to i4 versus 430i. And the 430i will probably not give a very different or better driving experience than my current 330i. So I happily embraced the new technology with all its advantages and disadvantages. The rest is history.

And for Tesla, I really appreciate the brand and how they have opened up the market for EV’s. Without Tesla, BMW would not have been where they are today.
 

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I was waiting for model Y in Europe, when new prices for Poland were announced I did a facepalm as they are more expensive than MachE
And at the same time Poland has one bodyshop, one “dealer” and poor financing and insurance offers
Then I aimed for Koreans ;) but it appeared that BMW has the best financial service
Plus quality of Tesla is doubtful in my personal opinion
 

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You won’t want to go back to ICE. I’ve driven an EV for nearly two years and going back is just not even in the edge of my thoughts.
I had the iX3 on loan from my dealership for the weekend. I left my 330i with them and when I picked it up on Monday morning (although I love it), it felt outdated. So I guess you are right.

So far the only downside seems to be the limited charging network in some other countries. But that will only improve.
 

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Tesla have announced (well, Elon Musk) that they are opening up their charging network to all EV users, so within a year or so I think the charging situation, in the uk at least, will improve notably.
 

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Tesla have announced (well, Elon Musk) that they are opening up their charging network to all EV users, so within a year or so I think the charging situation, in the uk at least, will improve notably.
They never said what the prices will be ;) I assume on ionity level for non founders
 

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I'm actually not 100% decided until I see the finance numbers since the M3 is pretty competitive, but for me it comes down to:

Model 3 Performance Pros:
  • Better range
  • Access to more chargers (Supercharger network)
  • Supposedly better acceleration/top speed (not gonna be hitting the top speed anyway)

BMW i4 M50 Pros:
  • Way nicer interior and exterior
  • Better build quality
One thing I really am not keen on is the interior on the M3, it looks too minimalist for me, but I could probably get used to it. For the i4 the only things I find annoying are that it has no frunk and it has the drive shaft enclosure still running the length of the car.
You forgot one point for BMW, it is the comfort!!! Will be much better than Tesla ;)
 

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For me, having test driven a Model 3 Performance and know a few Tesla owners here in 'Straya.

I just couldn't warm to the Model 3, despite really wanting to.

It's got a nice look about it... from the front being Vaguely Porsche like and has clean lines... and it goes, it really goes! But.. the incredibly sparse interior just put me off.. though reasonably well made, it just didn't feel 'premium' to me.

The lack of a Heads Up Display and instrument display directly in my line of site was a major turn-off for me, I do a lot of regional driving, and need my attention focused on what's in front of me. I found having to glance constantly at the screen which was down and to my right was annoying.

Speaking of which... I really didn't like the UI of the Tesla screen, sometimes it would ... lag, and I found it at times cluttered and at other times fiddly to use. Now I know that there are huge Tesla fans, I suppose I could get used to it, but it just felt cluttered. No doubt the big display in the i4 M50 will also require adjusting to, but I get a HUD and an instrument display.

No Apple CarPlay, why? For a tech centric product, lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (I use Apple) struck me as a bit strange.

Also, a couple of my friends have had 'fit and finish' issues with their Teslas, mind you this is a small sample size, but for a car with a nearly 100k AUD price tag, having door panels not match or line up, or a rear window that leaks when it rains it just bad... plus problems with door handles and other little niggly things.

Tesla have some intriguing tech, but I still think they need to get More consitent at the stuff that's bolted onto the chassis.

For BMW, it's build quality is higher (I'm a long term BMW driver, maybe ii am biased), but I've NEVER had any mechanical issues nor fit and finish issues in hundreds of thousands of km's driven. Also, it's a BMW and it's an EV, and doesn't require me too take my eyes off the road and has a familiar driver experience, but.. without an ICE motor.

Hope this helps.
 

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Tesla have some intriguing tech, but I still think they need to get More consitent at the stuff that's bolted onto the chassis.
Having owned a Model 3 Performance for some 20 months, I completely agree. The Tesla is very noisy at M way speeds - road noise is bad on anything but really smooth surfaces, and mine has a lot of wind noise around the drivers window, starts at 45 mph and at 70 it's really annoying. Paint is good but panel gaps aren't, I do like the central screen but some aspects of it are annoying, and the auto wipers are crap. TACC - I don't use it after phantaom braking issues. So, I'm moving to the i4 M50.
 

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Hi,

I was considering a Tesla for about 2,5 years now. I test drove a model 3 performance and a model s 75d. I list my +/- points in no particular order.

Plus points for Tesla (most eventually fade away):

1) supercharger network, with many stalls per station - I realized though that I will not use this car for recurrent long trips and I have a BMW X3 g01 for that - with kids the trunk space is important. In addition in Portugal, where I live, all major highways will be covered with fast charging this year including some ionity chargers (although with only a couple of stalls). Finally Tesla as announced that it will open their network (we still have to see as most Elon Musk predictions usually take more time than advertised)

2) performance - this is more an emotional topic than practical, as I’ll never be racing. That being said I believe the m50 will be more than enough, as it does m3 level 0-100kmh launches. Even the i4 40 has similar performance of that of my 640d f13, which is more than enough. It would be nice however if it was able to reach at least 250kmh but 225 is already way above the speed limit:). Maybe in a sw update?

3) software updates. This is cool and innovative in the car industry and keeps the car fresh. Some updates even added more performance or more range. On this I also see that some updates add what other European cars already have for ages (eg usage of side cameras for rear park assist (implementation is a joke though), joe mode to reduce warning dongs sound level, auto high beam, auto wipers, … ). Audi etron only has map updates ota. On this I believe Bmw is one the first to implement this function fleet wide and something that i4 will benefit in the future. A pitty it wasn’t available on my x3 with id6. However I don’t anticipate Bmw to update id7 to id8 layouts and id8 to id9.

4) hardware updates. The ability to upgrade mcu1 to mcu2 in model s/x is great. This is something Bmw may learn and offer tech retrofits to their cars. My f13 2011 with the old cic lost the connectivity for connected drive and BMW says it can’t be upgraded. This would be probably a simple by SIM card module swap. So no more connection to the vehicle.

5) all extras included. This is cool. European brands charge for everything and base cars lack a lot of features. Even 5 series don’t come standard with comfort access, electric seats, heated seats, decent audio system, folding mirrors, … A relatively well equiped car can easily have 10k - 15k of extras. And some exact same extras cost way more as you move up the range of the brand (eg cameras, comfort access, driving assistants…), which is insane. My 640 f13 has almost 50k of extras. This is almost the price of an 520d (base:)). The audi etron also becomes very expensive with extras. The i4 m50 can be well spec with 8~10k of extras.

6) air suspension on the model s/x. This is handy for lifting in curbs while parking or in off road rocky terrain. It even has smart function to lift automatically in recurrent spots. Audi etron also has air suspension as standard as well as taycan and etron gt.

7) infotainment. Netflix and games are fun specially with kids. Then again an iPhone or an iPad does similar or better job. But it’s a nice feature.

8) range. Model s with 100 kW battery pack has lots of range and it’s great for long trips.

9) door handles. Retractable version in model s and the press and flip in model 3 seem cool and out of the ordinary to me. Model x falcon wings are also very cool (although I read prone to higher maintenance).

10) fixed price policy. This is good as it takes away the pressure to negotiate and never knowing if you are getting the best price. Other brands have discounts on new cars that may be up to 35%, depending of enterprise/consumer, fleet size, model age stage, end of year / semester, etc. On the other hand Tesla sudden price changes are a bummer (more on that later).

11) dual phone holders and chargers on new models. Seem very practical and in the right spot. In Bmw / Audi you have to shove them (only One) into not visible trays.

12) frameless doors. I really like this. It gives a very sporty look. And a reason I liked the i4.

Minus points for Tesla:

1) general lack of build quality by comparison. It’s just not up to German cars. Even 10 / 15 year old German cars have better interiors. I’ve been having Vw, Audi and BMW and there is no comparison. Model S, having most switches lend by Mercedes, still better than model 3 by far. Cabin noise also a problem more on model 3.

2) wood trim on model 3. The lack of choice of aluminium or carbon fiber is a pity. It’s a personal taste but for me wood is a turn off. most model s also come in wood, except the performance versions. It can be disguised by applying some vinils.

3) lack of air suspension or adaptive suspension on model 3. In this car segment is justifiable and makes a great difference in comfort / sport settings.

4) lack of hatchback door on model 3. This is way less practical. And the model 3 shape would easily allow it. Also the design of the hinges when the trunk is open is just awkward. And only in the 2021 version has power lift. Model s is ok and they could have copied the design to model 3.

5) no rear climate control. This is a minor point but for this price point it would be justifiable. The new model s/x have it though.

6) the steering wheel of model 3. It’s just too small to me. And it feels cheap. Model s wheel has much better design and feel so they know how to make wheels. Not sure about the new yoke. BMW m steering wheels are one of the best to hold

7) the sunroof. it has no internal shades and it gets hot and discomfortable in summer. A rolling shade should be a minimum at least to reduce heat and ac consumption. In addition they don’t open which is a pity. Model s had an opening version until 2018 but no more. You can buy some plug in shades but that’s just ridiculous to me.

8) some front angles of model 3 look unbalanced and strange to me (too wide / too low). Model S has very good proportions though, from all angles.

9) lack of matrix lights and general lack of good headlights. Also small details as the tiny rear blinking lights of model 3 (vs huge front turning lights). The front turning lights of model x also seem an afterthought, as they are integrated in the fog lights. Very strange looks.

10) no color ambient lights. Even my 2011 f13 has amber ambient lights on the doors and white ambient lights on the b&o sound columns. X3 g01 has configurable lights all around. This gives the car a more modern and sophisticated look by night. Tesla’s white lights on model s look old and it’s noticeable that there are several separate lights. BMW Mercedes and Audi are very well in this department - although you have to pay extra.

11) no central repair shop where I live. The only service center of Tesla in the country is the outskirts of Lisbon. This contrasts with all other brands with service centers in center of town where you can easily drop the car and get transportation. I also had reports that repairs that need spare parts may take several months for the parts to arrive.

12) a history of huge price volatility. This has 2 effects - if you are buying you never know if a month later the car is lowered 10 or 20% or even more. If you are selling your resale value is constantly being affected by price policy changes

13) lack of CarPlay/ android auto. The gps applications on iPhone/ android are more up to date and new cell phones have high cpu power. As CarPlay and Android auto evolve this is a way to keep the car apps fresh. BMW i4 / id8 implementation seems one of the best with wireless car play and map integration in the center display and hud. My x3 g01 didn’t come with CarPlay from factory and cannot be retrofitted which is a bummer - I believe because it doesn’t have the wireless charger / premium phone connection option.

14) lack of center display in model 3. You don’t gain much in terms of visibility (and you see more of that wood trim!)

15) fsd promise. It’s a huge amount of money and when (if) it’s available maybe you had sold your car already…

16) seats on model 3. Not very comfortable. Model S seats are much better. why not put them on model 3?

17) no volume physical button. All the other buttons I believe I could live without but the volume / mute button is very practical.

I think Tesla was a great car when it launched. Europeans are catching up and this new i4 has very good arguments to challenge the model 3 and even the model S.

regards
 

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There is a volume button on the model 3, it’s the left scroll wheel on the steering wheel. No mute though.

Having owned a Model 3 Performance for nearly two years, I can only agree with all your thoughts. It’s a great piece of kit, but not a great car. For me, the overriding issue is the noise levels. At motorway speeds the road noise is very intrusive, and those windows are not sealed properly, I get a lot of wind noise by my right ear which is really annoying (door seal has been changed and window tilt adjusted, made no difference).

The lack of CarPlay is not an issue for me though, as the implementation on the central screen works really well. I shall miss Netflix, but I think there will be a work around in Idrive 8, someone will come up with a solution.

So, when all is said and done, I’m moving to the M50 due mainly to noise levels and some build quality issues. I really like the Tesla, but they need to up their game, get these issues sorted, and also make their interiors more desirable. I liked the minimalist interior at first, but over time it’s worn thin, especially now the i4 is on the scene, the i4’s interior is a whole level up from the Tesla.

As a footnote, I’ll be sticking with the 19” wheels for the M50 - the 20’s on the Tesla are awful if they go over even a moderate road bump, although that’s partly due to the suspension which is a bit on the basic side compared to the i4 (and there is the decrease in range to consider).

Software updates. Generally a good thing, but they also tend to introduce bugs that weren't there before. An update last year really stuffed the TACC, phantom braking ruled for a short while (it's still not eradicated).
 

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Oh, yes, the model 3 door handles are novel, but not very practical to use. I also have to explain to everyone how to use them, which properly makes the novelty value go away.
 

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Very good observations!

I forgot about the wheel scroll button for volume in Tesla which is nice. I had a 17’ Audi A4 which for me had the best placement of a volume button - just beside the parking brake between the gearbox and the armrest - you can have your arm at rest and control the volume with your hand.

I read several reviews also noticing the noise problem on model 3. Which I believe is somewhat better on the model s. I think Tesla Bjorn has some real measurements. I spec my x3 g01 2.0d with acoustic glass and it is very quiet. My 640d f13 with normal glass and frameless windows is also very quiet at motorway speeds (sometimes you wish you could hear more of those 6 cylinders and twin turbos).

For me the car play is a plus because of Waze integration. I use it all the time to be aware of speed radars, police in the road and stopped vehicles. It means having both the idrive and iPhone navigations active, with the iPhone somewhere in the center console.

As for the wheels I totally agree. I have 20” on my 640d f13 with adaptive drive and adaptive dampers and it’s very hard on the city bad pavement and holes (even in comfort+ which doesn’t make much diference from comfort). And very easy to scrape them on the curb while parking. I also have 20” in the x3 g01 with M suspension (non adaptive) and it’s also very hard - though better than the 6 series because it has more height of rubber and I think the suspension has greater amplitude, as the car is much higher. I think the 19” 861 are a great choice visually and also somewhat exclusive (available for m440i GC and i4m50 only I believe). If you want to standout the red brake calipers are also a nice addition. I’ll be specking the 18” 858 with blue brake calipers and m shadow line grill in order for the car not standout too much - plus the 18” add additional comfort, a bit more km’s in range and cheaper replacement. I think it will also not affect much the resale value as the wheels can be easily replaced. The 858 also remind the design of the 21” panamera’s exclusive design black wheels:
1405


Bmw 858 18” M:
1406


I hope Bmw, which their 1000 engineers, would be more reliable with the software updates, specially because they would make far less (one or two per year?) than Tesla (weekly?). Let’s see!

regards
 

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As a footnote, I’ll be sticking with the 19” wheels for the M50 - the 20’s on the Tesla are awful if they go over even a moderate road bump, although that’s partly due to the suspension which is a bit on the basic side compared to the i4 (and there is the decrease in range to consider).
I thought quite hard about wheel options, with the roads I spend a lot of time on these days, I've also opted for 19" wheels, the 20" look good, but the rubber is super low profile, and I am worried about wheel/tyre damage on Australian 'B' roads, my 2016 X4 has had to have a few tyres replaced due to poor road surfacing.
 
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