BMW 330e and Tesla Model 3 in the test

Tyson Jopson
Going Green
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E in an astonished 'Oh!' escapes the lady, with authenticity and looseness, however, intonated similarly wooden, as otherwise only the amateur actors in 'Aktenzeichen XY ... unsolved' achieve. 'Tesla makes wonderful cars, but we both have more driving pleasure here.' Aha. Which she is not entirely wrong about. The BMW 330e is currently rushing north over the motorway at around 160 km /h.

Transverse joints peck out the pavement, which is due to the originally intended military secondary use because of the panel construction. Previously, both short and long waves excited the chassis with different frequencies, but the coordination of the plug-in hybrid from BMW, which is equipped with adaptive dampers and 18-inch wheels, does not upset any of these. It cushions reliably, processes the bumps cleanly, and moves more clearly than usual for a 3 Series - a first indication of the test car weight of an impressive 1,832 kilograms.

A mass of its own

The steering, meanwhile, gives a feeling of maximum control, as it enables clean straight-line stability and does not allow itself to be teased by every groove or the driver's overly loose wrists. And the drive? Magic in silence. The eight-speed automatic transmission has a synchronous electric motor that has an output of 83 kW (in D-Mark: 113 hp) and generates a maximum torque of 265 Nm. The recuperation power is 20 kW, the energy is in a lithium-ion battery with a gross capacity of 12 kWh. It lodges under the trunk floor and reduces the load volume from 480 to 375 liters, but allows a comparatively high degree of variability thanks to the foldable backrest of the rear seat bench, which can be divided in a ratio of 40: 20: 40.

The can up to 110 km /h E-motor alone keep the 3 Series going in hybrid driving mode (Electric mode: 140 km /h), the two-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine has to run above this - or, if the corresponding performance is requested, beforehand. The turbo engine alone has an output of 184 hp and develops 300 Nm at 1,350 rpm, together both units produce 252 hp and 420 Nm, in the so-called XtraBoost (a sub-function of the sport mode or can be accessed through kick-down) to 292 hp. Which sounds a lot more impressive than it feels. Keyword: weight. On the other hand: Sprinting from zero to 100 km /h in 6.1 seconds, oh, that's pretty quick.

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Compared to Tesla ( Click here for the individual test of the Tesla Model 3 Perfomance ) it only seems less dramatic, since the PHEV lacks the stormy approach of pure electric drive. It just takes an idea until all the components are sorted. In addition, there is the uninspiring, strained sound of the four-cylinder. On the motorway, however, the drive remains in the background. The suspension comfort is impressive, the seats provide perfect support, and integrate perfectly into the mid-range sedan, which in this configuration couldn't be further removed from the mid-range.

Carefully selected materials, perfect workmanship, and only when if you crawl very far towards the footwell and seat console, you will notice the first savings measures by the buyers. Meanwhile, the distance control regulates reliably, recognizes vehicles cutting in early and slows down carefully. The traffic sign recognition also works with the currently apparently maximum 95 percent. Only the connection of both systems leads to a driving style that is too defensive, even for the Swiss. BB King bluest from the Harman audio system, while the online infotainment function lets music lovers down this time, never finding their way back to the previous album after the restart.

Fire Increase

The Tesla connects right away with your Spotify account, if desired. And music takes on a completely different meaning when you click Model 3 are on the way. Right from the start, the American unfolds the entertainment potential that unites all battery-electric vehicles: it shoots off as if ignited. At least looks like that. Because immediately, always, at any time, performance explodes. In the case of the Standard Range Plus (yes, that's what they really call the entry-level model, maybe someone from 'file number XY ... unsolved' came up with) only one motor is used, namely a synchronous machine with 190 kW, i.e. 258 PS that develops a high percentage torque of 525 Newton meters. Yeehaw.

Since the Tesla weighs only 1,622 kilograms, relatively at least,the 5.9 seconds it takes to storm to 100 km /h feels more like four. Now the Model 3 is also roaming the autobahn at 160 km /h; it would of course be faster too, because of the car and the little busy section here. But you can watch how the 55 kWh battery empties. Incidentally, the manufacturer specifies a cobalt content of 2.8 percent, which should be well below the usual average of around eight percent. BMW only wants to get by with the next generation of electric motors (from 2021) without rare earths.

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For the 330e, however, the Munich-based company had a certified CO2 certificate created, which also takes the raw materials into account. According to this, the plug-in hybrid still has a 20 percent better overall balance than a 330i. In any case, both make sense if they can fill up with renewable electricity. Incidentally, with the Tesla, even at the household socket, this works fairly quickly, about 12 hours from zero to 100 percent. You can deal with that. Incidentally, this comparative test does not take into account charging times, quick charging options or charging hub, as is otherwise usual when comparing with hybrid or electric vehicles.

Here, the total range and test consumption are decisive. In the latter case, the Tesla is ahead with 17.1 kWh, but less in terms of range: 326 kilometers. The 330e comes almost twice as far, 54 kilometers purely electrically, after all, many kilometers of it but sometimes only half as fun.

Inspector Random assists

You quickly notice what the Tesla wants , already on the A 81, where nothing is at stake. Its chassis set-up is more harsh, processing bumps in the further course rather brittle, which is partly due to the larger 19-inch wheels (optional). In addition, the steering almost jumps out of the central position and does not report back quite as precisely, so it requires more concentration on long journeys than that of the three-man.

So rely on the assistance systems, lane keeping or even the autopilot function use? Well, even the lane departure warning system acts randomly, while the distance control, on the other hand, feels like a price boxer. Well, then Model 3 will want to position itself as a car for committed self-drivers. And already as youIf you take the motorway exit, the assumption is confirmed: brake, turn in, keep the radius. The Tesla quickly gives you the confidence to add electricity, grips seriously and does not waver. Crazy! More! Yes, more is possible. Okay, at some point, if you sneak a look at the centrally arranged tablet, you will notice that the control lamp of the control electronics is flashing cheerfully.

In fact, however, the Model 3 releases its power so quickly and delicately that you never call it Feel patronizing. And even if the non-deactivatable ESP (only the traction control can be switched off) intervenes, it is much more sensitive than in the BMW. That, in turn, suddenly seems to push its power over the rear wheels, which then report loss of traction. Only now does the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) regulate.

Catching up

In general, the three-man driver has to stretch quite a bit to keep up with the Tesla. Because when it comes to driving through curves of different radii with one steering angle, i.e. what makes a trip on empty country roads to the greatest happiness of the driver, the less favorable weight distribution strikes. In contrast to the Tesla and the other three-part derivatives, the majority of the mass is on the rear axle, relieving the front wheels, which quickly lose grip - also because of the more pronounced body movements.

Since the rolling movements can be stabilized quickly , a different picture emerges with the driving dynamics tests. In the 18-meter slalom, for example, the chassis set-up together with the dynamic load shifting helps to increase grip when turning and to find a good rhythm. The same applies to the double lane change. The Tesla, on the other hand, initially understeers, then the rear swings around, which in turn panics the control electronics. So the interim report from the test track. The current situation on the highway in Hohenlohe, however: fanfares! Cheers!

Another bustle

Model 3 grabs you, carries you away, tears you up. It remains neutral for a long time in the curve before it begins to understeer mildly. The Stromer counteracts a load change with a loose tail that never gets too loose - because of the control electronics.

You sit a little more in the center of a good mood, at least in terms of position. If the seats now boast at least a bit of lateral support and thigh support, you could concentrate even more on driving, as the Tesla will not distract you with anything else. With nothing irrelevant, but also with nothing relevant. Centrally arranged speedometers have always been ergonomically different, but never good. Small numbers on a large tablet do not change that.

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The consistency with which Tesla bundles practically all information and functions (apart from windshield wipers and indicators, which can be used to signal its function with finely composed flatulence noises) may be pleasing, but it is not intuitive to use . Especially since voice control only helps to a limited extent. In general, the Model 3 shows the cost pressure under which it is built. Even Chinese electronic junk looks more carefully put together than the US sedan, the wind noise on the driver's door alone surpassing that of some convertibles - with the top down. And to charge 1,050 euros extra for the metallic paint is bold, because you don't have to remove the paneling to come across unpainted surfaces.

So the lady has to be resolutely contradicted: Offers more driving pleasure the Tesla, but the BMW is a wonderful car. Otherwise the speech dialogue system of the 330e works without any errors. ( How the Tesla Model 3 beats the BMW 330i in the test ).


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