New Tesla Model 3 and Jaguar XE vs BMW 3 Series: costs

The electric Tesla Model 3 provides a genuine alternative to petrol and diesel power for executive saloons. Let’s see if it can beat the fossil-fuelled BMW 3 Series and Jaguar XE...

BMW 3 Series side driving

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

If you’re a company car driver, the Model 3 is so much cheaper than its rivals that the following few words might be all you need to read to make up your mind. As an enticement for you to go electric, you won’t have to pay a penny in BIK tax between April 2020 and April 2021 – and even after that, the payments will be tiny.

Over the next three years, assuming you’re in the 40% tax bracket, the Model 3 will cost you just £1824 in tax. If you choose the 3 Series, you’ll have to sacrifice £12,604 of your salary, while the XE will cost you £12,691. The Model 3 will also add just £540 to your electricity bill every 12,000 miles – less if you sign up to an Economy 7 tariff and plug in overnight. Driving that many miles in the XE would mean spending roughly £1700 at the pumps and more than £2000 in the 3 Series.

Jaguar XE driving

The Model 3 is also the much cheaper option in the long run for private buyers paying cash, due mainly to its slow depreciation. The 3 Series and XE will cost you around £8000 and £9000 more respectively to own over a three-year period. However, if you’re buying on PCP finance, the 3 Series is fractionally cheaper per month than the Model 3, while the XE is roughly £40 a month cheaper again, thanks to a generous deposit contribution from Jaguar.

You do have to pay a small fee (24 pence per kWh) every time you use Tesla’s Supercharging network, but at least you have access to it, meaning you can charge relatively quickly (a 0-80% charge takes up to 40 minutes) from one of around 300 stations across the UK. This is currently a big reason to choose a Tesla over any other electric car. You can also recharge at regular public CCS sites or by using a Type 2 connector at home.

Tesla Model 3 driving

The Model 3 comes with Tesla’s Autopilot package as standard; this includes adaptive cruise control and the best self-steering system we’ve tried. It’s really handy for motorway driving, although you still have to keep your hands on the wheel for safety reasons. Adaptive cruise control and a panoramic roof cost extra on the 3 Series and XE. Like the Model 3, the 3 Series does at least have heated front seats (these cost £170 on the XE). Mind you, both of the European cars have real leather seats, whereas the Model 3’s are made of faux leather.

Safety is another area in which the Model 3 excels; it scored brilliant marks in its Euro NCAP appraisal. The XE was tested under on older and less stringent set of criteria back in 2015, but there were no obvious areas of weakness, whereas the 3 Series has yet to be tested at all. All three cars come with automatic emergency braking as standard. 

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