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Model S vs BMW 5 Series

Discussion in 'Model S' started by CapitalistOppressor, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. CapitalistOppressor

    CapitalistOppressor Active Member

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    I did a thread about Model S Performance vs BMW M5 to marshal arguments against folks who were dissing MSP. But I suspect that most people are like me and will end up purchasing one of the base models. This thread will attempt a comparison between Model S and the BMW 5 series which, along with the Mercedes E-Class, is the primary competition for the Model S.

    • All 5 Series numbers are based on the 2012 model year.
    • All prices for Model S assume a $7,500 Federal rebate, but do not take into account possible state and local incentives.
    • All prices assume the entry level version of the car.
    • If you want options you can shop for yourself, but the depreciation scales so these prices give a good sense of relative value regardless of which options you choose (BMW does offer more goodies than Tesla does if you want to pay for them. That's at least partially responsible for the sense that the 5 series has a "better" interior).

    Abbreviations -
    MSP - Model S Performance
    MS85 - Model S with the 85kWh battery
    MS60 - Model S with the 60kWh battery
    MS40 - Model S with the 40kWh battery

    TCO - 5 year True Cost of Ownership
    • I am limiting this to depreciation, fuel and maintenance. This number is the cost to own and operate the vehicle for 5 years and assumes you sell it to recoup its residual value. Edmunds includes more items in their calculation that I link to, but those are extremely variable and depend on individual circumstance.
    • Model S info is based off of figures provided at Teslanomics: The Economics of owning a Tesla Motors Automobile. Their estimated depreciation is based on how the Leaf is performing, which is a super conservative methodology IMHO. If you click through the links, they also have individual model comparisons and are also based on the Edmunds data.

    BMW 5 Series

    The BMW 5 Series is without a doubt the top dog in the Midsize Luxury Performance Sedan segment that the Model S is competing in. There are three basic trim levels, which also correspond to your engine choice. They are the 528i, 535i and 550i.

    528i
    • Entry level model
    • MSRP from $46,900
    • TCO from $49,300 (again this is the total out of pocket 5 year expense AFTER you sell the car and get back the residual value. Essentially this is the actual cost to you to own the car without including taxes, financing or insurance because they vary. 2012 BMW 5 Series 2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo 8-speed Automatic True Cost to Own)
    • 2.0L 4 cylinder engine. 240 hp @ 5000 rpm and 255 lb-ft @ 1250 rpm
    • Automatic Transmission
    • 23/34 MPG (cty/hwy) w/RWD. 22/32 w/AWD
    • Bluetooth and iPod hookup
    • Stability/Traction Control
    • Optional Navigation
    • 0-60 in 6.3 seconds (Edmunds since they don't roll the car on launch. Factory reports 6.4 which is a "true" number while C/D got a 5.9 with a shallow stage roll. Drag racing primer which explains the difference - Modern Racer - Driving Tips - Drag Racing Basics)
    • 5-60 in 6.8 seconds (this is a much more accurate real life acceleration number which can't be gamed like a launch. Yes it's slower despite the fact that the car is already moving. This is because of the narrow torque band and the large mechanical delay of an ICE vehicle.)
    • 17" tires standard. 18" with Sport Package
    • Range - Gasoline

    Detailed list of features - 2012 BMW 5 Series 528i Sedan 2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo 8-speed Automatic Features and Specs

    List of options and pricing - 2012 BMW 5-Series 528i Sedan Options - 2012 BMW 5-Series 528i Sedan Packages - Motor Trend Magazine


    Reviews -
    2012 BMW 528i Test - Review - Car and Driver
    2012 BMW 528i Arrival - Motor Trend


    538i - short comparison

    Detailed list of features - 2012 BMW 5 Series 535i Sedan 3.0L 6-cyl. Turbo 6-speed Manual Features and Specs

    List of options and pricing - 2012 BMW 5 Series 535i Price With Options

    Reviews - Couldn't find any in a quick check. It's basically the 528i but faster.

    MS40
    • Entry level trim
    • MSRP from $49,900
    • TCO from $31,817 (Teslanomics-BMW: Economic car comparison between the Tesla Model S and all BMW Vehicles)
    • Performance dictated by 40kWh battery output. A/C Induction motor standard. HP and Torque unknown.
    • No transmission. Single gear differential, direct drive.
    • 91/89 (cty/hwy MPGe. Number based on EPA measurements for MS85. It seems likely to be better on MS40. MS40 is presumably hundreds of pounds lighter thanks to the smaller battery, which could affect MPGe numbers substantially).
    • Bluetooth connectivity, class leading 17" touchscreen control.
    • Stability/Traction Control
    • Optional Navigation. Included Google navigation in coverage area.
    • 0-60 in 6.5 seconds (Factory "true" number. Magazine reviews will likely be quicker depending on staging techniques)
    • 5-60 ... Unknown (Because of the nature of the drivetrain, MS should substantially outperform an ICE vehicle. Throttle response is near instant and mechanical lag is miniscule, especially compared to an automatic transmission. Therefor, until I see a measurement showing otherwise, I believe this number would actually be LOWER than the 0-60 number. Feel free to discuss).
    • Range - est. 160 miles of highway range @55mph (Model S Efficiency and Range | Blog | Tesla Motors)
    • Charging - ~4 hours w/included charger and appropriate home outlet. ~2 hours with optional charger. Tesla Supercharging not available (help me out here. I extrapolated these numbers based on the smaller battery size. They could be wildly wrong, as I've mainly researched the 85kWh charging options that I expect to own. Anyone have solid data?).
    • 19" tires standard.

    MS60
    • Entry level trim
    • MSRP from $59,900
    • TCO from $37,617 (Teslanomics-BMW: Economic car comparison between the Tesla Model S and all BMW Vehicles I'd like to point out that you actually get a better warranty with the 60kWh battery in comparison to the 40kWh which should help its depreciation number. Teslanomics is very conservative and is not capturing the kinds of distinctions that should help lower the TCO even more)
    • Performance dictated by 60kWh battery output. A/C Induction motor standard. HP and Torque unknown.
    • No transmission. Single gear differential, direct drive.
    • 91/89 (cty/hwy MPGe. Number based on EPA measurements for MS85. It seems likely to be better on MS60. MS60 is presumably hundreds of pounds lighter thanks to the smaller battery, which could affect MPGe numbers substantially).
    • Bluetooth connectivity, class leading 17" touchscreen control.
    • Stability/Traction Control
    • Optional Navigation. Included Google navigation in coverage area.
    • 0-60 in 5.9 seconds (Factory "true" number. Magazine reviews will likely be quicker depending on staging techniques)
    • 5-60 ... Unknown (Because of the nature of the drivetrain, MS should substantially outperform an ICE vehicle. Throttle response is near instant and mechanical lag is miniscule, especially compared to an automatic transmission. Therefor, until I see a measurement showing otherwise, I believe this number would actually be LOWER than the 0-60 number. Feel free to discuss).
    • Range - est. 230 miles of highway range @55mph (Model S Efficiency and Range | Blog | Tesla Motors).
    • Charging - ~6 hours w/included charger and appropriate home outlet. ~3 hours with optional charger. ~45 minute Tesla Supercharging is an optional upgrade (help me out here. I extrapolated these numbers based on the smaller battery size. They could be wildly wrong, as I've mainly researched the 85kWh charging options that I expect to own. Anyone have solid data?).
    • 19" tires standard.

    MS85
    • Entry level trim
    • MSRP from $69,900
    • TCO from $43,417 (Teslanomics-BMW: Economic car comparison between the Tesla Model S and all BMW Vehicles I'd like to point out that you actually get a better warranty with the 85kWh battery in comparison to the 40kWh or 60kWh batteries, which should help its depreciation number. Teslanomics is very conservative and is not capturing the kinds of distinctions that should help lower the TCO even more)
    • A/C Induction motor standard. 362HP @ 6,000-9,500 RPM and 325 lb-ft @ 0-5,800 RPM
    • No transmission. Single gear differential, direct drive.
    • 91/89 (cty/hwy MPGe).
    • Bluetooth connectivity, class leading 17" touchscreen control.
    • Stability/Traction Control
    • Optional Navigation. Included Google navigation in coverage area.
    • 0-60 in 5.6 seconds (Factory "true" number. Magazine reviews will likely be quicker depending on staging techniques)
    • 5-60 ... Unknown (Because of the nature of the drivetrain, MS should substantially outperform an ICE vehicle. Throttle response is near instant and mechanical lag is miniscule, especially compared to an automatic transmission. Therefor, until I see a measurement showing otherwise, I believe this number would actually be LOWER than the 0-60 number. Feel free to discuss).
    • Range - est. 300 miles of highway range @55mph (Model S Efficiency and Range | Blog | Tesla Motors).
    • Charging - ~8 hours w/included charger and appropriate home outlet. ~4 hours with optional charger. ~1 hour Tesla Supercharging is included.
    • 19" tires standard.

    Reviews - Model S First Drive Reviews

    Options and pricing - Model S Options and Pricing | Tesla Motors

    Notes: TCO calculations are the best way to compare cars. The numbers included above are accurate to the extent that the depreciation calculations are accurate (these are not really known for MS and Teslanomics numbers are open for debate). Based on these numbers even the MS85 compares favorably to the entry level 528i. However, while the baseline numbers are accurate, leaving out taxes, insurance and financing charges understates the cost comparisons of the MS60 and MS85 thanks to the simple fact that you pay tax on the initial sale price rather than on the TCO.

    With the higher MSRP you will pay more in taxes, interest and likely insurance as well. The correct comparison can only be made by taking the base values shown here and adding the actual tax, insurance and financing charges you will personally incur (everyone is different). Make sure to research state and local incentives for purchasing Model S. I know some states have additional tax credits, while others waive the sales tax or provide other incentives.

    But even with additional taxes and financing costs, the MS85 is a lot more car than the 528i and the $4,000-$6,000 extra you pay isn't a huge hit. And when compared to its performance peer, the 535i, the comparison is quite favorable.

    550i
    • Not really worth mentioning in the context of MS85. MSP trounces it in every way including a decisive TCO beatdown. TCO for 550i is ~$73,000 vs a MSP TCO that is ~$54,000. The 550i has a 5 year operating cost in excess of $30,000 vs only $6,000 for MSP, which accounts for much of the difference. 0-60 in 5 seconds for 550i vs 4.4 seconds for MSP. It's a joke really.


    Bottom line. Model S is a flippin bargain at every trim level and most of that savings comes from the extremely low cost to operate. Discuss.
     
  2. Kevin Sharpe

    Kevin Sharpe Active Member

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    IMO for this to be meaningful we need a way of valuing the fit and finish of the vehicles... a lot of buyers in this class will rate the BMW very highly and that has 'value'.
     
  3. CapitalistOppressor

    CapitalistOppressor Active Member

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    Sure. Except we don't know the fit and finish of Model S yet. Elon Musk just spent an hour explaining to his investors that he stopped production to perfect fit and finish. For all intents and purposes, the test cars and 10 delivered Sigs are pre-production examples.

    EDIT: By "stopped production" I mean stopped deliveries. Production has continued, but the cars are being used for test drives, and likely will be sent to the stores after the Get Amped events are over. Essentially they are all practice cars.
     
  4. Kevin Sharpe

    Kevin Sharpe Active Member

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    Agreed... so for the purposes of this discussion are you assuming that the Model S fit and finish will be compatible to the BMW 5 Series in the minds of potential purchasers?
     
  5. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Or at least 80% of the way there (assume that the current crop is about 50%). I don't expect 100% during the first year--that would be asking a lot.
     
  6. Kevin Sharpe

    Kevin Sharpe Active Member

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    Agreed... IMO matching BMW quality in the first year is never going to happen (whatever Elon might say)... so how do we put a value on this difference to make this comparison meaningful?
     
  7. dennis

    dennis P85D

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    #7 dennis, Jul 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
    He was talking about finish details, not wholesale replacement of the interior materials:

    Not big things. Ridiculously silly things. Piece of carpet. Piece of molding on the dash doesn't intersect properly with another piece.
    Little things that are extremely annoying.
    Almost all of them are interior, soft trimmish.
    Keep refining to make sure that the gaps and fit are as close to perfection as physics will allow.
    Beefed up our interior trim engineering group.

    The gaps. How well things shut. Want to set a new industry standard how things fit.


    IMO it is the quality, look and feel of the interior materials that are substandard to Mercedes/BMW/Audi. You have to get past that to start looking at the gaps between the interior parts, and those of us who aren't happy with the interior aren't complaining about gaps. On the other hand, Elon appears to be satisfied with those materials since he is not talking about them.
     
  8. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    You can't, because it will have different importance to each individual. I think for many people even if the S has lower quality compared to a BMW it would not outweigh the other positives. I'd rather drive a Model S while seated on a milk crate than a BMW with a seat :biggrin:
     
  9. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Yes, just like exterior styling, color choices and driver amenities.
     
  10. EVNow

    EVNow Active Member

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    TCO of EVs is purely speculative at this point. We just don't know how much a 5 year old EV will go for in 2017.

    (OTOH, if we had lease numbers it would be much easier to compare TCO.)
     
  11. William13

    William13 Member

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    I believe that the TCO needs to be based on the 8 years of battery warranty, expected driving per year and give ranges for multiple possibilities. Far more than the OP or Teslanomics but in the same spirit. Depending on driving habits I believe that the Tesla is competitive or cheaper...

    Maybe someone is skilled enough and has the time to do a TCO engine with multiple variables that people can input themselves about driving habits and choices which would produce personalized TCO comparisons.
     
  12. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure if you have been following the same threads as me, but the interior materials have been replaced before (the banana leaf with Obeche Wood, the lacewood with a different type and some of the carbon fiber trim is being replaced because it is not durable enough).

    From what I can tell, the biggest gripes with the Model S is not with the interior materials, but rather with the lack of certain amenities: enclosed interior storage, rear fold down cupholder/armrests, the badly designed armrest in the front, electric folding mirrors, seat memory, etc. There are also fit and finish issues (like the rear trunk and some interior panels in the cars being used for test drives). We have whole threads dedicated to these issues:
    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/8864-Opportunity-Console-New-Photos-Poll
    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/8960-Build-quality-alignment-of-trunk
    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/9440-Fit-amp-Finish-of-the-test-drive-event-cars

    I have yet to hear/read complaints about the material choices; in general, the reception to them is quite good (even for the microfiber cloth seats).
     
  13. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    In that case, shouldn't ICE cars be based on the 36 - 48 months of engine warranty?

    Sorry, but batteries in EVs and hybrids don't fail at the end of the warranty. They are good for a considerable time thereafter, just like ICE engines.
     
  14. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    Couldn't agree more. I do not care one bit about vanity mirrors, map lights, or all those other minor amenities that seem to bend some people totally out of shape. IMHO that's all fluff in light of what this car is really all about.
     
  15. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    That's pretty much it along with certain option choices (like the 21" wheel being standard and no rebate if you choose the less expensive wheels, or no carbon fiber interior on the non-performance cars) and colour choices.


    Which appear to be taken care of. At least the latest production numbers don't have these fitting problem (or they are much less noticeable).
     
  16. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    How about $500? So far I always was very comfortable in the S, and experienced both exterior and interior as very pleasing. For example, the availability of a large sunroof is much more important to me than any fit and finish issues I'd expect, assuming that any "annoying" production imperfections will mostly be fixed even for signature cars. The air suspension, and cornering, is well received and much more decisive for subjective ride comfort IMHO.
     
  17. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I think this is a good example of why we can't really put a price on it. I'd pay extra to not have the sunroof (I'm very happy I will not have to purchase it and even happier it will cost less without it).
     
  18. Jason S

    Jason S Model S Sig Perf (P85)

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    I got it: whatever the gap may be, the cost is what it would cost to replace the deficient piece with a custom sufficient or comparable piece.

    For instance: the problem is that the Model S is a 4 door sedan that seats 5, I want a 3 door that seats 14 midgets and a horse. Therefore just figure out what it would take to craft such a thing starting with the base BMW or Tesla vehicle. (In other words, you can't really start with one or other vehicle being perfect if you are going to play this game. Start with what car would be perfect for you.)
     
  19. Kevin Sharpe

    Kevin Sharpe Active Member

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    The problem IMO is that we need a way to value the difference in quality between a BMW and the Model S if this thread is to have any meaning... the challenge is the fact that it's primarily Tesla fans who post here not the target audience suggested by the OP.

    Do we want a serious debate about how we close the gap for the mainstream market?
     
  20. STxTesla

    STxTesla Sig #1278

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    I disagree with you about the degree of satisfaction that Elon Musk has with the interior of the Model S. He made a VERY strong statement about his dedication to putting out The Best Car in the World by halting production to tweak the fine points in the final product in his search for perfection. The car may not be perfect this first round, but I bet that it will be very close to the quality of Mercedes, BMW, etc. because he is not content with mediocrity. I feel that we have the best response team that any automotive company has ever had and the dedication to the customer/end user is phenomenal.
     

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