M3 to Model S?

M3 to Model S?

OK, the Tesla bug has bitten me. I am the very happy owner of the current generation V8 M3 and up until recently my next car was going to be the next model M3 when it comes out in about a year. About a month ago my 15 year old son mentioned to me that his band teacher had a Tesla and he was giving kids rides (and doing burnouts!). I immediately volunteered to pick him up from his next band practice since my wife usually does it. I was expecting to see a Tesla Roadster and I drove all over the parking lot looking looking for it. I finally gave up and drove to the front of the school where I did a double take on a gorgeous white car with a "T" on the back. I had never seen a Model S in person before. At first glance I thought it was a Jag. Beautiful yet subtle lines. I talked with the owner for a while and kiddingly challenged him to a drag race whereupon he replied "I'll kick your butt" (I don't think he would have, he didn't have the performance model - but I liked his attitude). Since then I have been gleaning the Internet for articles and videos on anything to do with the Model S. Sound familiar? I love my M3, it is a multi award winning car - but when I see the looks on peoples' faces when they drive the Model S and hit the accelerator I am hooked. My car will do nearly 180 mph - so what? I have often thought that this top-end speed is totally wasted, only good for bragging rights and big numbers on the speedometer. I don't really care about anything in excess of 100 mph. That's one of the reasons I am so intrigued by the Tesla, seemingly incredible real-world usable acceleration in a totally family friendly and practical vehicle. My car also has the automated manual double clutch transmission which is truly a mechanical wonder. Now after researching the Tesla that mechanical wonder just seems clunky, inefficient and unnecessary (The M3 forum would string me up if they read this). So, have any of you gone from an M3 or other comparable performance car to a Model S? I would love to hear some comparisons. By the way, I have a test drive in the Model S scheduled for next Sunday in Menlo Park. Am I a goner?

jchangyy | 20 March 2013

@bob...that's funny. I should totally do that. Will let you know what they say.

smd | 21 March 2013

The main thing I don't like about my Model S is that is pretty much ruined all gasoline cars for me and they all feel clunky now. Other than that, it's pretty awesome. And it's only an 85, not a P85.

Pbfoot | 22 March 2013

Just smoked an M3 this evening. Couldn't believe how far back I left him in my rear view. He then played catch up when I had to slow down for traffic. My P85 feels faster now than when I first got it, the acceleration this time gave me vertigo. Have learned to get the battery warmed up before taking on challengers.

Albert B | 22 March 2013

I replaced my Z4 with a Model S. The Z4 is a bit more nimble but not nearly as fun to drive. The Model S also doesn't beat the crap out of me when driving to work every day like the Z4 did.

I had to drive my wife's Subaru the other day. I'd always thought of the Subaru as being fairly quiet and smooth. After a few weeks in the Model S I couldn't believe how noisy and clunky the Subaru felt.

Engine noise, getting jerked around by a transmission, laggy throttle response, feeding terrorists by buying gas. No thanks. I'm done with that crap.

I suspect we'll replace the Subaru with a Gen 3 at some point and be done with ICE nonsense forever.

skymaster | 22 March 2013

I beat a "M5" today with a standard S. I wish I would have spent the xtra 10K on a performance...I would have smoked him instead.

Cattledog | 23 March 2013

M3M - Yes, by my definition the Models S isn't 'nimble', but 'fluid'. Fast? No issues there!

shepski | 23 March 2013

New member here, joined to scout out this car for my mother (who, unlike me, can afford it).

Floored by all the above comments, and very much looking forward to reading "goner" M3Michael's post-drive post.

(BTW, I live in DC and see at least one Model S a week. In fact, I've seen more of them than I have seen new Focus STs. Amazing, really.)

brandtlings | 23 March 2013

Does smoking M5's cause cancer?

Captain_Zap | 24 March 2013

I'm looking forward to hearing how the test drive went today.

Vic M | 24 March 2013

The performance and size characteristics of the MS are pretty well covered above, but I would like to add that I am continually surprised and impressed by the quite of my P85. It is a great car for short drives in the city; with the sunroof down and the windows open it feels more like walking around the city rather than having vibration, noise and fumes (not sure about M3, but M5's make a racket).

On longer trips, the reduction in fatigue is evident. Even with poor charging coverage on long trips, I am constantly wanting to take our MS (instead of the BMW X3) for the more quite, enjoyable trip.

shepski | 24 March 2013

So is the OP in Menlo Park, CA, or Menlo Park, NJ? (If it's the latter, where's the post-drive review? It's already 9pm EST!) Probably bought one already and is still driving around with an ear-ro-ear grin.

Brian H | 24 March 2013

Yes, it's quite quiet.

"Is it quiet?" "Yes, quite."


shepski | 24 March 2013

^^ Smartass.

I'm actually shocked at how often I see "quite" instead of the intended "quiet" in forums and comments all over the internet. It's got to be the default predictive spelling for whenever anyone starts to type a new word beginning "qui."

There's no excuse for, say, "would of," or "there's lots of reasons," however.

M3Michael | 24 March 2013

Menlo Park CA. I did the test drive today but I didn't have any time to post about it until now because I had to take a bike ride when I got home (beautiful day in the SF Bay Area) and then I had to help my son with his homework. Now it's late and I'm tired so I will try to give a better review tomorrow. The Model S is a magnificent car and I was duly Impressed. Just about everything that was brought up in this thread about its performance is true. my humble opinion it did not blow away my M3. Better than the M3? On many levels yes, but how much better? (I am not talking eco-friendliness or cutting-edge tech, because there is no comparison - just car versus car) My test drive was too short to do a comprehensive review but I will try to give some impressions tomorrow. I may still buy this car, but it is not a slam dunk. Don't get me wrong, I was quite smitten by the Model S. It's a beautiful machine. More details to come.


Captain_Zap | 24 March 2013

It sounds like you need some driving time on open highways and freeways. Overtaking and passing can be so much fun.
Thanks for getting back with us.

djwang | 25 March 2013

Michael -

I'm with you. The model s is my wife's and no question it's "fun to drive" etc etc -- and of course, it makes my weekend family driving duties much more pleasurable (stuck in an MDX before). I have a 335 as a daily driver, and on a day-to-day basis, I MUCH prefer my 3 -- it's a question of small car vs. big car. No question I'd take the Model S over a 5 series bmw, A5/S5 -- or any other sedan, but the 335 with the sport suspension really is that much better, to me anyway. ... and so I await the next roadster.


myhanhhoskin | 25 March 2013

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated from I.C.E to the Model S. I'm sure one of the TESLA "ambassadors" near you will offer to take you for a longer ride in their car. I personally have given rides to strangers. It's the thing Tesla car owners do.

I borrowed my brother's GTR for a week after I did the test drive last year because I was feeling withdrawal from driving a fast car. LOL It was fun but I did feel a little beat up from the drive during my commute. I've had my 85kwh P since January with 5k miles on it now. There is no comparison. It's so fast and responsive and it's the first time I've felt like one with my car. It's like combining the spa experience with the Nascar experience. It goes like this:
Weeee!-Ahhhhhh Weeeee!-Ahhhhhh

The weeee part happens during acceleration and maneuvering and the Ahhhh part occurs when I'm coasting along in the carpool lane passing all the morning commuters. :) <--- that is my Tesla Grin

Dawn | 25 March 2013

Dude.. you're Toast.

M3Michael | 25 March 2013

I'll try to expand on my review. First of all, the test drive was too short. It lasted maybe 15 or 20 minutes. I had one short freeway run of about one and a half miles from one exit to the next and there was quite a bit of traffic. I only had one brief moment where I could get on it a little and the car did leap forward, but I had to get off the freeway right away so I didn't have a chance to really appreciate it. Maybe I'm wrong, or I was in some kind of daze (possible), but the accelleration didn't feel much different than in my M3. All of the accelleration times that I have found back this up: 0-60, I've seen 3.9 for both cars with most runs in the low 4's. 0-100 in the 9's and quarter mile mid 12's. For me, the most important time is the rolling accelleration time. In 45-65 mph runs there is a slight advantage to the P85, 1.7 vs 1.9 - that is not a huge difference. By all metrics the cars are very close. I did floor it once from a dead stop and here I was a little surprised, it actually felt slower than my M3. When we got out of the car my son, who was in the back seat, asked if we were in the performance model because he had been expecting more. I really think that he was fooled a little by the lack of engine roar that he is used to in the M3 (one of his friends once offered to pay me to floor it under an overpass just to hear that V8 sound reverberating off the walls). He didn't like the quiet surge, but frankly, I loved it. That immediate rush of silent speed is exhilarating - and it doesn't announce that you are stepping on it to other cars, you just disappear. That alone is enough to make me want the car. In defense of the M, it is no slouch either. When you step on it, the double clutch tranny downshifts IMMEDIATELY, it is almost telepathic (it has multiple settings, and I keep it in the most aggressive one - but it's still a pussycat around town). Plus you can drive it in manual mode with just a flick of the wrist. In fact driving the DCT was good preparation for driving the S. Since the DCT is always in gear and never coasts or creeps like a slush box automatic, it feels much like the Model S. The S felt completely normal to me when I let off the accelerator. The ride of the S was just fine, a little firmer than I expected but I like that. I really couldn't explore the handling much, not enough time or the right kind of roads. The car certainly felt solid and oh so quiet, a wonderful cabin. I did not like the rear view, the back window is very small. The touch screen is unlike anything else, but why in the world does it only have a 3G internet connection? My iPad is way faster. Maybe a fix is in the works, but the most groundbreaking techno-car of our lifetime deserves better.

All in all, this car is a winner, a tour de force. I am a very biased M3 owner, I unabashedly think that the M3 is one of the best cars made. The fact that the Model S compares so favorably to it speaks volumes. For a first-run electric car family/sport sedan it is simply amazing. There is another Tesla showroom in San Jose and I was told that they allow longer test drives, be continued.


sergiyz | 25 March 2013

Funny, just saw a drag race between M3, Jag XFR and MS Perf.
Do I have to say which one beat the others ? ;)
Jag was second, btw, left M3 in the dust - too much wheel spin, and traction was probably on, since I could hear his engine cutting off power.
I owned both E39 M5 and a Jag, Tesla Perf easily beats both of them.

J Nemeth | 26 March 2013

Just took delivery of my P85 two days ago. Selling my 645ci and my Lotus Esprit.

wclark99 | 1 April 2013

I love my M5 and took a test drive just to prove the whole Tesla thing was overblown. I really had no intention of buying it. Now I am putting up my M5 for sale and am the proud owner of a dark green model S. I had to have it. The only thing I miss is the stick shift.

Marc L | 24 April 2013

Fun thread. M3Michael was channeling my inner vetting. I'm driving (daily) a current model M3 4door manual. I've always driven manuals and the M3 kicks a$$. I've driven the p85 on a test drive with decent road conditions. And I unquestionably feel that the M3 has better overall handling with a higher fun to drive at the limits quotient (engine roar, lateral g, acceleration, breaking). And I'll continue driving my M3 every day until about mid June when my Model S is delivered.

Though the M3, in my view, is a pure sports car with room for friends and family, it does get about 13 MPG mixed city/highway, and its real edge only matters on very rare back road twisty sections.

Best EV drive train + really excellent handling dynamics + cool daily driving tech + American made + sexy styling = a sad farewell to my beloved M3!

JohnnyMac | 24 April 2013

M3Michael. Yes, visit the Santana Row store in San Jose. Call them in advance and schedule your test drive. They seemed to me to be a bit more friendly and flexible than the Menlo Park showroom was and they will let you go out for an hour which is more time than you will need. There is also closer/easier freeway access there than in Menlo Park so plan to take the car North on 280 from the Winchester on ramp (a very nice loooong strait-away which will get you right into the "spirit of things") and get on and off at a few exits before coming back. Then, be prepared to pull out your credit card and put down your deposit; none of us could resist, you may not be able to either :) Let us know how it goes and good luck with your decision!

KOL2000 | 25 April 2013

Wow Marc L I am in exactly the same boat (4dr M3, manual, comp package) and for the exact same reasons as you (+ no more $$ to enemies) the M3 will be under a car cover in late May and probably for sale shortly after that :)

Marc L | 25 April 2013

By the way, uhmm, meant to refer to my M3's "braking" not "breaking." Realized I open this door by not proofing my post. But, for the record, I've had my M3 for 4+ years and have had no repair issues - almost feel I didn't get to enjoy the "free" BMW maintenance.

Brian H | 25 April 2013

Mark L;
Your lucky experience paid for others' service calls. You helped fatten the purse. >:}

san5man | 25 April 2013

I am leasing a 2011 m3 with the competition package. Sweet car no doubt, loved it the first year I had it! But now I can't wait to get rid of the stiff bumpy ride and the blah interior! I ordered a loaded up performance+ model S. My M3 lease is up this December, but I don't care, the nanny can drive the m3. I am looking forward to the model S so eagerly!

Anthony H | 25 April 2013

@san5man, it is a game changer. Thousands of other posts here and elsewhere, mirror what I am experiencing. Best car ever.

Buy 2.

Ticker | 28 April 2013

I have an BMW V8 M3 and like you M3Michael had planned to buy the next M3. I have always had expensive and fast cars. I looked into Tesla more as a stock investment and was intrigued by what I read. I scheduled the test drive more to satisfy my curiosity. I had no plans to go for a "slow" electric car and deal with the green start up headaches.

We had the initial but impressive discussion in the dealership before the actual drive in which the technology blew me away. However I knew when I pressed the gas pedal I will know the difference between my previous fast cars and this one. I was sure any electric car will be disappointing. Boy was I shocked. It just took off without the 4 stroke engine delay and... I was sold. I still have the M3 as its lease expires in a few months but am getting the Tesla next week. The whole process has been just amazing and best part is its all on the computer and phone... no cheesy car dealer involved.

This is a great car and happens to be electric also.

Brian H | 28 April 2013

You gave me an image of a big diorama, with a large ham and cheese sandwich, and a dealer carved out of a block of Stinkekäse, and a sign/caption: Cheese: sandwiches, YES! Car dealers, NO!

mpbruin108 | 2 June 2013

I guess I might be in for a good surprise. I was a E92 M3 owner for about 1 year and then I got a z4 E89 tuned out for about 1 year. Now I'm ditching both for a Model S. I am suppose to get the Model S in by late June. I test drove it a few times but I never pushed the car. I just hope it lives up to the test drive. =)

carlk | 2 June 2013

They are totally different cars. As a owner of Porsche Cayman S, which is about the same level as M3 in performance, I can tell you my next car will not be a Porsche.

KOL2000 | 2 June 2013
Luc Leroy | 3 June 2013

I currently drive a Porsche Carrera S and a BMW 335is.
The 335is has the M3 suspension, same DCT transmission than the M3 and is tuned to 410hp. I take any stock M3's and play with M5's on 0-120. There's virtually no lag with the twin turbo engine and the short ratio DCT kicks butts in term of performance.

Then a friend let me drive his Tesla Roadster. Lovely. Then another friend let me drive his Model S. Impressive. And now I'm trading the BMW for a Model S ;-)

The Porsche is another story. The Panamera mentioned above is not a performance car. The Tesla will supersede the Panamera but will not handle like a 911 or Cayman, which is lighter & shorter, thus handle better in corners and have an unmatched endurance getting driven fast. Even the Roadster is behind these cars in term of handling.

Anyway, as long as you can afford it, there's not a lot of cars that seems a better car than a Model S.


Electricfun | 3 June 2013

MS85 > M3 it also costs more
A better comparison would be MS85 vs BMW M5 (2013) about same msrp

lolachampcar | 3 June 2013

do not forget to add the Performance Plus package when you order :)

Electricfun | 3 June 2013

you play with new M5 cars from 0-120?
cone on now! and Panamera's aren't performance cars? You do understand there are different models just like MS cars.

carlk | 3 June 2013

@Luc You're right the front engine and heavy Panamera can never handle like a 911 or Cayman. Porsche has never even tried to race a Panamera. However I wanted a Panamera as my next car until now because I need one that sits more than 2 and a little more "formal". That all changed when the MS, especially the P+ option, came out. The MS certainly has better real world pick up than any Porsche out there. Many people do not seem to understand this but we don't have to argue over this again. The MS might not handle like a 911 or Cayman but with the weight distribution much better than even the mid-engine Cayman I think it should be at least very close. I will be requesting a test drive of P+ to find out.

THEKING | 3 June 2013

again you're wrong about 99% of the stuff you post.

THEKING | 3 June 2013

the panamera turbo is faster in every aspect as i've noted to you in other posts.
real world side by side drives in both from every speed imaginable and on a track as well. it's ok to be a tesla "nut hugger" just keep it real.

THEKING | 3 June 2013

taken from best post in other thread:

the Panamera turbo is the pinnacle of ICE engineering and a brutal application of brute force engineering to overcome obstacles that shouldn't be there in the first place. It is perhaps the the finest example of a 4 passenger sedan on the road today. Having driving one on track and on the road it is a fantastic automobile for the richest percentage of the population that can barely afford one.

but the Tesla Model S is not comparable to the Panamera Turbo because they are two different cars:

a) 5 seater vs. 4 seater
b) cargo room is vastly different
c) price points are very divergent
d) efficiency is vastly different
c) volume of production is vastly different

the Panamera Turbo is a Super Lux sedan, the Model S is a Lux sedan with some characteristics of a Super Lux.

the MS is a great car no doubt and does many things well however for most it wouldn't be considered the best at any of them who own hi luxury sedans when compared side by side.

carlk | 3 June 2013

@THEKING What Porsche or similar cars you have driven in real world? Are you cruising at 5000 rpm all the time? Do you know before you can down shift or push the sports button MS is already 200 ft away? Don't just read the numbers that only help sell cars and give bragging rights to the uninformed.

It happens to me every day. Do I down shift to get the power, or just to push the pedal to get the fast pass? A wrong decision usually means a close call. Clutch and transmission, even the "high tech" PDK, are so old tech.

THEKING | 3 June 2013

you do realize what the PDK system is correct and how it works??
it's not a 3 pedal car and if i owned a panamera turbo like my neighbor i wouldn't ever drive it in any other setting than sports plus mode. for a guy like yourself who states he has owned many porsches you just seem so uniformed of the reality.

carlk | 3 June 2013

As someone who drives a Porsche every day do I need to argue about what it can and can not do with someone whose neighbor owns one?


THEKING | 3 June 2013

you "lose" again that's both threads you've been proven wrong in!
difference is i can compare my MS85 to his car because it's been numerous times we been out on the track/back roads to compare... i'm not embarassed the panamera is better it costs almost twice as much.
keep "nuthuggin' and posting nonsense bud!

Electricfun | 3 June 2013

I would have to agree. Carlk you keep opening mouth and inserting foot in your posts about any car comparison threads that involve the MS. Get over it, you have a nice car but there's always something better.

carlk | 3 June 2013

@Electricfun Huh? Where is that coming from? Didn't I say MS is better than Porsche and is the next car I will get?

Electricfun | 3 June 2013

Yes you say the MS is better than every car, that's my point.

carlk | 3 June 2013

Did I said that? When? Why it's foot in my mouth if I said it's better than or no worse than certain Porsche? And don't you agree no other car has the instant pick up like MS has?