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BMW i4, the first real rival of the Tesla Model 3?

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The Tesla Model 3 is the car everyone is talking about. The best-selling electric vehicle in the world, it has also been able to conquer the European market, starting with France. We love it or we hate it, but with its charging network, its power and its autonomy, the Model 3 was until now almost without any competition. But BMW is now providing a response. Named BMW i4, the new German electric sedan is clearly aimed at the Californian.

Same profile, comparable dimensions (4.69 m for the Tesla, 4.78 m for the BMW) and equivalent autonomy, these two stand out in their pants. Yet they offer two radically opposed universes. Typical BMW lines for the i4, made of muscles and sportiness. Style much more posed for the American with the usual curves of the range.

On the road

Inside too, two radically different atmospheres. On one side we find the very German cabin of the i4, with physical controls and controls facing the driver.

On the other, Tesla’s hyper-minimalist cabin with a huge slab…and that’s about it. On the road, this i4 of 340 horsepower and 430 Nm offers top performance. We take a different pleasure from that offered by the thermal version but the sensations are there. Problem: opposite the Tesla Model 3 Grande Autonomie offers 450 horsepower.

We feel less weight in the Tesla, especially in large curves. It must be admitted that the i4 weighs 280 kilos more than the Model 3, while the latter has four-wheel drive. Conversely, the BMW can have an active suspension of very good quality.

Autonomy and charging

In this i4 eDrive 40 version, the advertised combined WLTP autonomy is 590 km for a battery with a net capacity of 80.7 kWh. The Tesla announces a range of 602 km since the last update. In real-world conditions, the two sedans hold their own in terms of range.

The difference will not exceed ten kilometers. On the charging side, both models have an 11 kW charger for public terminals. But it’s the fast charge that will make the difference.

The BMW collects 205 kW when the Tesla is able to reach 250 kW. Tesla will also be credited with the strike force of its network and the ease of use of its terminals. Note that with the opening of the Tesla network to competition, the BMW will also be able to benefit from it.

The price that hurts

Even if the price of the Tesla tends to fluctuate at the same rate as the company’s stock market price, we can give you the price of this Californian: €58,990 for the Model 3 Long Autonomy version in four-wheel drive. Opposite, with a hundred horsepower less, the BMW i4 eDrive 40 costs €59,700.

A difference of a few hundred euros, which would remain anecdotal if we do not compare the equipment. To match Tesla’s endowment, BMW is asking for up to €8,000 more with its M Sport pack, hands-free key, electric seats, etc. It will be necessary to add the 2000€ bonus which the Tesla will then benefit from but not the German, sold above the threshold of 60,000€.

Balance sheet, a question of philosophy

The Tesla offers two motors, one hundred more horsepower, four-wheel drive and full equipment for a much more lenient price than its German rival. Add the brand’s superchargers and you might imagine the match is over. But these two cars are the opposite in terms of philosophy.

On one side a giant screen on wheels, integrating all the intelligence of a powerful computer. On the other, a BMW with the network, the quality of service and the history. The i4 has become electric but tries to keep as much of the brand’s DNA as possible.

Two diametrically opposed vehicles, which suggest that the choice will be above all a question of personality.

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