A simple question deserves a simple answer – but don’t expect one here.
This question was asked on social media by Matt Miller in response to news that we were heading to Amsterdam for our first European test drive of the Tesla Model 3. “Interested to see how you think it compares to the standard, uppity sports sedans. Would you own a Tesla Model 3 over an Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series?”
Well, would we? After the big build-up, is this the car that could finally make the electric vehicle usable, affordable, practical and viable for people not as a replacement for a city-hopper or school-run supermini or a family’s second car, but in place of a proper, good-sized, fairly high-mileage executive saloon?
We had 36 hours to begin finding some answers, with the keys to a range-topping Model 3 Performance in one hand and those for a brand-new BMW 330i M Sport in the other. We knew before we started, of course, that this would be only the beginning of a long process, and a critical year, in establishing exactly what the state of the zero-emissions passenger car art currently is. Of establishing, too, exactly how much the Model 3 moves the game on; and whether it’s quite the transformative car that Tesla’s ever-zealous supporters so desperately hope it’ll be.