New BMW i4 vs Tesla Model 3: costs

Hammer and tongs, tooth and nail; the rivalry between these musclebound electric cars will be seriously hard fought...

BMW i4 2022 pan

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

Not only does the Tesla Model 3 cost around £4000 less to buy than the BMW i4, but once you factor in its slower predicted depreciation and cheaper servicing costs, it will cost private buyers around £3000 less to own over three years.

However, if you take the PCP finance route (as many will), the tables are turned. On a three-year deal with a £6000 deposit and a limit of 10,000 miles a year, the i4 is a touch cheaper at £963 a month, versus £977 for the Model 3.

And there’s barely anything between the two for company car drivers. Between now and April 2024, a 40% taxpayer will have to sacrifice £1085 of their salary to run the i4, compared with £1019 for the Model 3.

Tesla Model 3 2022 pan

Both cars come with generous servings of luxury kit as standard, such as 20in alloy wheels, heated front seats, premium sound systems, LED headlights and electric bootlids. It’s a shame that desirable features such as keyless entry and adjustable lumbar support are reserved for the options list on the i4, though; the Model 3 gets these as standard. It also gives you access to Tesla’s proprietary Supercharger network, which is arguably the car’s greatest selling point; the network is more prolific and reliable than any other and came top in our recent survey of the UK’s public charging infrastructure.

With a maximum charging speed of 250kW, the Model 3 can be topped up from 10-80% at a Supercharger in as little as 25 minutes. The i4, meanwhile, takes around 30 minutes at its maximum charging rate of 200kW, but it might be a challenge to find a public CCS charger capable of delivering power at that rate unless you’re lucky or plan your journey carefully.

New BMW i4 vs Tesla Model 3 costs

In terms of safety kit, both cars get automatic emergency braking, but the i4 requires that you pay an extra £1900 for BMW’s Technology Plus Pack if you want adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and a steering assistance system to help you stay in lane. All this comes as standard on the Model 3, and you can take things even further with the contentiously named ‘Enhanced Autopilot’ package (£3400). This enables automatic motorway lane changes and allows the car to be ‘summoned’ (rolling out of parking spaces to meet you, for instance) via Tesla’s phone app – although it doesn’t make the car fully autonomous.

The i4 hasn’t yet been tested for safety by Euro NCAP, but we suspect it’ll perform very well; it’s closely related to the 3 Series saloon, which scored a full five-star rating. The Model 3, meanwhile, has been tested and generally scored very highly.

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