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M3LR 1st 1000 Miles


New Member
May 28, 2021
I thought I'd write this as my experience as a new M3 and ev owner after my first 1000 miles.

Like most owners I've come from an ICE car and for me an old 2009 Honda Accord at that, so the change was huge. With lockdown, I took a gamble and jumped right in never having sat in a Tesla, let alone had a test drive and needless to say I am very impressed. The M3 is so far ahead of the competition.

It's clear that it's been designed as an electric vehicle from the ground up, with (most of) the car-design-101 book thrown out. When I look around at Golf-E or even Polestars or eTrons it's clear they still have an old vehicle designer in the background designing vehicles with engine, gearbox and drivetrain in mind, and then it's swapped out for a battery and motors as almost an afterthought. Take a look at how high the dashboards sit on those evs against ICE and against the M3 and you'll see what I mean. (On a side note, it makes me wonder if Audi put as much effort into ev as they did into their vehicle lighting clusters and the 'animated' indicators would they be closer in competition??)

This vehicle is leased through my business, which we ordered via a broker. I won't get into whether I got a good deal or not. It's completely dependant on your circumstances, I got a price and term I was happy with and we went for it. Your mileage will undoubtedly vary.
It's a lease car, so it's at M3LR in free white, can't justify at least an extra 1k on a different colour.
Created a Tesla account, added a card and waited in anticipation.....

I'd been following the delivery threads on this forum and had a decent idea through comms from the leasing company and through the excellent work @Mr Miserable does on shipping movements which ship my vehicle was on. There were no comms from Tesla at all, as it seems for everyone - that to my mind needs improving from Tesla.
Anyway once I had a delivery date (lease :)) I could at least do some planning. In the event, I had to wait in all day and the car finally turned up at 5pm with about 60% charge. It was delivered from Brent Cross, and we're only an hour away. I'd called to find out what was happening during the day and the Tesla rep on the other end was helpful, but ultimately didn't provide much detail. I'd have liked the option to collect and thinking back I suppose I could have asked but I'd have liked the option. meh.
I'd heard the horror stories of 'panel gap', but remembering that this is the Internet, took a good mine of salt with some of those comments - especially as the MIC M3 seem to be of a higher quality. Frankly, as long as the doors shut and it keeps the rain out I'm not too fussed. The handover was a bit rushed, but there wasn't, and isn't, anything standout from a quality perspective to worry about.

I'd been through the videos on youtube and from Tesla but nothing will prepare you for a) the silence of electric and b) the acceleration. The first is haunting and the second is a child-like rush that just makes you grin. I started out with creep turned on and then quickly moved to hold for one-pedal driving. The driving experience is as good as everyone says it is, the weight is down low so it handles nicely and the deep windscreen means you can see more of the road and the corners :). Oh and the acceleration...
I've only got the basic autopilot package which works well and is exactly what you need in the UK at the minute. Until legislation catches up, I'll stick with what I have.
My old Honda had radar cruise control and lane-keep assist so I had experienced 'phantom braking' before. I think this gets a bit of a bad rap. In many cases, it's come down to the fact that either the system misidentifies something or that it can't 'anticipate' like a person can. Just put your foot down on the brake or accelerator and it's resolvable. The good news is that it's improving all the time, more cars = more data = better and faster improvements.
I've turned off the automatic emergency steering after trying that out. Driving through the country lanes, the limitations of the system are apparent as it can't distinguish between an overgrown grass verge or a brick wall. I guess it's not designed for that use case, but there's a couple of instances where the correction could have caused an accident.

This is by far the best car I have driven. It's the best car my friends have driven, including a die-hard BMW owner that couldn't take the smile off their face. I haven't had anyone in it that hasn't been impressed by it.

Much like you'll read elsewhere, the seats are comfy the 'vegan leather' is good and not like vinyl and they are exceptionally adjustable.
It is refreshing not to have much of an options list. The lists from other manufacturers are getting nonsense; Comfort Pack A this, Sports Pack Plus that, Storage pack, luggage pack, lighting pack. What a waste of time. I'm pretty sure I have most or more of what you get in a similarly priced Audi and more than a BMW. Again it's that different approach, have heated seats all around and a heated steering wheel - and no that's not a £2k option.

What about the lack of buttons and controls? You will wonder why your old car was so complicated to operate. Our Audi has a screen, buttons, rocker switches, dials, writing input and voice commands. The M3 screen is clear and intuitive. If I had one comment to make, it would be to make better use of the bottom right hand 1/4 and add some user customisable shortcuts here. Yes the AP graphics are kinda cool, but they're not that useful to me when I'm driving. If I could quickly hit a button to move from chill to standard, or something else in here it would be better. The same goes for the right-hand steering wheel 'dial/wheel' thing. That does nothing in normal driving and could be used (scroll up/down) for something else depending on drive mode.
There are a couple of reports that it doesn't feel as luxe as some other 50k cars. I disagree. It's not packed with buttons and vents in a 'cockpit', so there aren't those touches of chrome and other things that give that traditional luxe feel. Fire up the A/C controls on the screen, wave the vents around with your finger and tell me that isn't more luxe than the vents on your old ICE car.

The screen is not clunky or slow, it is bright enough that you can see it and the speedo is not out of the way.

The two stalks on the steering column are easy to use, and they have fixed it so that you can turn off the indicators no matter which way you pull the stalk now. I actually prefer the gearstick here and having a massive storage bin in between the front seats.

The interior is different but not unfamiliar, and I expect Tesla are due a good wedge of credit to have achieved that. Remember different does not equal bad.

I don't have a wall charger at home. I've been quoted upwards of £700 for an install, which buys quite a lot of electricity. I've been running with the granny charger day to day, but I'm fortunate that I have a couple of Supercharger locations nearby. The granny charger is slow, but it goes on every night, much like my phone - and that's the way to think of it. Charge at night, ready for the morning. I have not missed queueing at petrol pumps. Electric charging is more convenient and cheaper, so what if I do it at night - it happens when I'm asleep - and no, if I miss a charge it's no big deal. I am not yet on a smart meter and so have no cheaper night charging, but as diesel is sitting at around the 135p/litre mark, I'm still winning.

But, and let's be clear here, the Supercharging network is the key to Tesla ownership. Pull up at a Supercharger, plug it in a walk away (or not). It's all charged on the back end to a card you have already used. Unplug and drive off when you're done. It's as near to a petrol station experience as you will get. It does lull you into a false sense of security that the rest of the charging networks are as easy to use. THEY.ARE.NOT. It's a myriad of different apps, cards, accounts and speeds. Some of them are free, but you won't often find them fast and free. Most are twice as fast as a granny charger, so think about that next time you plug in for free at Tescos or Sainsburys, if you can find one that's working. I've only used the included Mennekes (blue) cable one to try it out, then it went in the boot-boot and hasn't been out since.

So this is one for the nerds. As far as I can see this is a 'software-defined car', you can buy a 'licence' to include heated seats (in the SR+) or for the EAP or FSD, and presumably, there are other options that we didn't know we needed or existed.
As a result, the car captures and records a lot of data, not least for the AP. I've recently got teslamate up and running at home and I can see where I've been, how much charge I've used on a trip, temperatures, charge speed and charge costs - so I can see what it costs to run. There are loads more if you like that sort of thing and a few other alternatives to teslamate.

It's an awesome car, it really feels like you're driving the future.
This is more or less spot on to my experience with the first few hundred miles on my LR 3. I've set up Teslafi on the free trial for now, but I think I will start paying for it soon. Maybe I should get Teslamate going. As a software engineer having full access to that data could be neat.

I think if you spend so much time reading online about all the issues people have with their cars, you're gonna start to get real worried about everything from the delivery process to the day-to-day with the car. Really though, the people with horrible issues are probably the vast majority. If everything must be perfect for you, maybe the Model 3 is not the right car, but for me at least its a fun enough toy that I'd be willing to put up with way more than what I've had to (which at this point is basically a small rattle or two).
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Op I really enjoyed reading your review. I still feel the same as you describe, after 2.5 years and 26k miles. My wife has a BMW X3 M40i that we custom ordered, with pretty much every option, in the color we wanted both interior and exterior, etc etc. I used to love driving that car, as well as driving the 435 I had before my model 3.

I only lease the BMWs so the 435 went away, but I bought the model 3 as leasing was not available when I purchased. Normally, by now, I am looking at other vehicles, but I am still as happy with my model 3 as when I bought it.

During our Covid 19 "work from home / stay at home", it was incredible to me that I did not have to touch gas pumps etc.

Anyway, thanks for sharing, OP. Tesla has some issues for sure, communication is one of them, but they really nailed the driving experience and the product, for sure.
Great post, fun read, mirrors much of my experience in my [almost] 2 weeks.

The car is so assertively quick, it's like a slot car, press throttle and you're exactly where you want to be.

I instantly acclimated to the center display being the single car information mechanism (an information dense tablet type display made instance sense in my dev/tech head), and now, other cars don't make sense.

The interior is terrific, materials, comfort, and importantly (and often overlooked), the visibility (as you pointed out).
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