BMW i4 vs. Tesla Model 3

By

Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - March 16, 2022

BMW is getting serious about electric vehicles. The automaker recently came out with the all-electric i4, an all-electric sedan based on the automaker’s 3-Series. As one would expect, the i4 brings all of BMW’s traditional traits to be an engaging EV that’s packed with tech. The i4 also offers M3 levels of performance at a more affordable price.

Any new electric sedan has to be measured up against the Tesla Model 3. The sedan has long been seen as the template for the class, offering more range, technology, and performance than the majority of vehicles it competes against. There’s a reason why the Model 3 is so popular – it gets a lot of things right.

When shopping for an all-electric luxury sedan, is the Model 3 a better pick than an i4? We’ll answer that question in this EV comparison.

What the Tesla Model 3 Gets Right

While Tesla’s vehicles tend to be pricier than their rivals, the Model 3 is more affordable than the i4. The Model 3 starts at $47,190 (with destination), while the i4 eDrive40 costs $56,395. The i4 is eligible for the full federal tax credit, that makes the vehicle more affordable, but even with the full $7,500, the i4 is more expensive than the Model 3.

The Model 3 has an impressive amount of range that the i4 can’t match. The Model 3 Long Range trim offers up to 358 miles of range, with the i4 maxing out at 301 miles. That’s a huge difference in the Model 3’s favor.

Teslas have raised the bar for high-performance electric vehicles and the Model 3 Performance carries the flag well. The Model 3 Performance can get to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and has a limited top speed of 162 mph. The range-topping i4 M50 pumps out 536 horsepower and has a zero-to-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds. BMW tends to be conservative with its figures, but this is still an easy win for the Model 3.

On the inside, the Model 3 offers more interior space than the i4. Passengers will find more front headroom, front and rear headroom, and front shoulder room in the Tesla.

Read Our Overview of the Tesla Model 3

What the BMW i4 Gets Right

The Model 3 may have more advanced features than the i4, but BMW’s infotainment system and tech features are far easier to use. The i4 comes with a 14.9-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that are connected to appear as one large curved display on the dashboard. BMW iDrive 8 infotainment system is included and can be operated through the screen or via a rotary controller on the center console. Unlike Tesla’s infotainment system, BMWs comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Both the Model 3 and i4 compete in the luxury segment, but the BMW’s cabin feels leagues better than the Tesla’s. The i4 comes with rich materials, excellent fit and finish, as well as a high-end design that make the EV feel like a true luxury car.

Around corners, the Model 3 delivers engaging handling with well-weighted steering, smooth brakes, and a nimble ride. The sedan can feel unsettled and jittery over rough roads. Because of the lack of feedback from the steering, the i4 doesn’t feel like a true sports sedan, but it has minimal body roll, loads of grip, and an agile chassis. Over poor roads, the i4 maintains a smooth ride.

Read Our Overview of the BMW i4

Look for Something Luxurious?

Compared to the Model 3, the i4’s greatest strength is that it offers a more premium feel. The i4 has a nicer interior with more intuitive tech features, while the exterior features a bolder design. If this comparison were solely based on design and the way a car feels, the i4 would win, but cars offer so much more than just good looks.

Our Verdict

The Tesla Model 3 remains the leader in the class because it has features others don’t and can travel further than other EVs. Plain and simple, if you’re looking for an electric sedan, the Model 3 has everything you’re looking for. It easily wins this comparison against the i4.

Compare Side-By-Side: Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW i4 »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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