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?

Best car ever (overall)! Only thing I find lacking is the handling could be stiffer for less body roll, particularly in the canyons (it's no M5 in the corners).

Previous cars are a S2000, E85 M, E60 M5, E89 "is", etc.

M3, After you make the reservation, you will have to endure the wait. It can be painful. I am on the last 12 hours...I will not sleep tonight!!!'s interesting...I live in Silicon Valley and many of the millionaires/billionaires walk around town in jeans/t-shirts and flip-flops. these car dealers should know better.

I got into my SL500 today after a couple weeks of driving my Model S and I actually felt like something was wrong with the car, it felt so slow in comparison.


You can join me in the widowed BMW support group. Don't worry, there are lots of us.

That is the difference between the East and West coasts! We all walk around like we are millionaires when we aren't! People act and want to be treated as such!
On the West coast you all are chill and you guys don't walk around with your nose in the air and dont expect to be treated like gods.
Just a generalization but kind of true also

Went from '08 M3 coupe to P85. As a daily driver, almost no looking back - can put all 3 kids in the back, right pedal is a kick, car handles very well for a 4,600 lb car, and the suspension is more friendly to midwest potholes. It is a different driving experience - no noise, no shifting, very visceral connection to your right foot.
As a track car, my part of the world is not yet fully ready to embrace electric cars on the track. There aren't too many supercharging stations / charging stations at the race tracks around the midwest.
I personally never had my m3 reach its speed limited top speed of 155. I can't imagine where / what it would be like to do 180. I did get it up to 140 at Road America. That was plenty exciting. Assuming I can get the P85 up to 135, I assume that will be plenty exciting as well.

@ jchangyy: I hope you drive your S to the BMW dealer a la Pretty Woman and say "you wouldn't give me a test drive, you work on commissions don't you? Big mistake!"

I think the M3 - Tesla transition is going to be pretty common.

I've had an M3 for three years now. M-DCT transmission. THe works. I came to it from a 550. I love(d) the M3. It's a great car, with excellent performance characteristics. I've been a BMW owner since 1977 (320i). I've owned a number of 3 and 5 series cars. All great.

About two months ago the local BMW dealer called to ask what I wanted when the M3 lease runs out in May. I told him that after getting 11 cars from him I was leaving the church and moving over to Tesla.

I've had a Roadster for about 15 months, and took delivery of a Model S yesterday. The quick (one day of driving) comparison is:

1) Performance

No question here. The S outperforms the M3. This is really a function of the torque curve. To get comparable performance from the M3 you have to switch to "M" mode, and get the revs up, and then shift through the gears. No such thing here. Want to go fast - just hit the pedal.

2) Size

The S feels larger than the 550. It's way bigger than the M3.

3) Handling

The S feels like it leans less than the M3. It certainly holds the road comparably. I'm not quite ready to push it to its limits. I'll report more on that later.

4) Electro-Elegance

Hands down the "S" it's miles beyond BMW. The bavarians do a great job with mechanics, but definitely struggle with UI design, elecronics etc.

5) Maintenance

This is really the killer. I've switched BMWs every three years because I didn't want to risk ever having one that was out of warranty. No such worry with the Tesla. My hope is that I can hang on to his guy for quite a few years longer than I would ever dare keep any BMW, let alone a high performance one with a transmission as complex as the M-DCT.

Hope this helps


@KennethL - do you have the Performance Model S? Reason I ask is if the non-perf is an M3 beater then that's all I need.

You are such a goner!
Put the ad in the paper for your M3 before the test drive. I trader my 911 4S cab...

Thank you all for your helpful, well thought out and entertaining comments. it is obvious that this car has left deep impressions on its owners an future owners (and most of the automobile establishment). I thought that M3 drivers loved their cars - but you are all besotted, and I mean that in a good way. I am almost afraid to drive that thing. Facing what is probably the inevitable, I have called my insurance carrier, State Farm, and the premium for a 2013 P85 is only a little more than for my 2008 M. That was a bit of a shock to me really, I was expecting much worse. My only other worry is the size and heft of the car after my M3. The M is so sharp and nimble - but I can probably adapt. This is, after all, a paradigm shift. It's a brave new world. I guess I better take my checkbook along for the test drive Sunday.

Michael (We'll see how long it stays M3Michael)

they take credit cards for the deposit as well.

This has been a great thread. Thank you to Michael for posing the question and all who have responded. I'm living vicariously through all of you and your experiences.

Still waiting... (2 years tomorrow). Red

I dont have an M3 but just traded in my Cadillac CTS-V (manual transmission) and got the model S performance. I love everything about the Tesla with the exception of the suspension. It is very good but not as good as the CTS-V which had the magnetic ride. I know most people wont drive at these speed but I feel as if the Tesla gets 'loose' a bit at 85+ mph where the Caddi did it at 95-100.

Overall, I am very happy with my purchase. I just need to figure out what commands the voice activation accepts.

@ Ohms.Law

you placed your reservation 2 years ago and you are still waiting? why are some people getting theirs after only 4 or 5 months? is it because of that RED color? if so i find it very silly to wait so long just for having a diff color imo...

Red is the only REAL color available.

It came late, and has to await clearing the Paint Center of the last of the Signature Reds for Europe to make room in the lineup. Someday they'll have another Center and be able to offer more colours, I expect. (I think 10 is the limit right now.)


I, like many others even longer ago, ordered my car before production began. The plan back then was to order gray. Then in early December when they opened up orders for the new red ("the only real color", thank you Captain_Zap), I changed my order. So it's looking like April if we all are lucky. As many, very many, have said before: the wait is worth it. I'm sure I'll agree!

M3Michael, I was a little nervous reading some of the forum threads about how fast the car is and how you got to watch not clipping someone in front of you when changing lanes and stuff like that because of the acceleration and the hefty size.

Well, for someone who was a little unnerved, it took no time to get used to it. It is sooo easy to adapt to the S.

I am keeping an ICE car for business driving (I get mileage plus I didn't want to run up the mileage on my S) and Gawd! it is PAINFUL!! The feeling is I can't wait till I am back with my S.

Once you've had a taste of it, nothing else can even come close, EVER!

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.)

Does smoking M5's cause cancer?

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

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.

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