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Potential M3 LR buyer questions

I'm not (yet) a Tesla owner but I am seriously considering the M3 LR/AWD and my research throws up questions that I am sure this forum could help with. If that's considered bad form then please disregard and accept my apologies.

Background: I've been a Mercedes sort of person (sorry!) for many years and currently drive an E400d 4WD, which is a fine car, with similar performance to the M3/LR. I live in Cumbria, which means that everything is a long way away but Tesla outlets/servicing places are even more so. I'm a retired electronics engineer so I have a decent understanding of the technology and can see that the BEV is rapidly coming of age. Tesla is top of my wish list principally because of the dedicated charger network.

Here's my top three concerns that I'd like opinions on:

Noise levels. My starting point is the E400, which is pretty quiet, with just a bit of tyre noise intruding at motorway speeds. I see many comments about wind/tyre noise and various experiments with after market noise reduction kits. Is it really that noisy? I don't necessarily expect E400 quietness but my days of driving raucous cars should really be behind me by now!

Tyres. No spare wheel and, apparently no option for run-flat tyres as I have on my E400. Really? Around these parts hedgerow cutting provides an annual opportunity for the tyre fitters to make a few quid on puncture repairs but I have to be able to get there before the darned thing goes flat.

Servicing. I'm used to the annual pilgrimage to the Merc place in Carlisle to do oily things and I realise that is not really the case with a Tesla. But with the nearest service outlets a good two hour drive away it's an area of concern. How does it work out in practice?

Grateful for any insight that established owners can provide.

John
 
hard to say with noise levels. What I will say is that you’ll hear more tire and wind noise than in an ICE car, simply because there is no engine or transmission sounds to mask them. My model 3 is by far and away the quietest car I’ve ever had, but if it’s a priority for you. Arrange a test drive.

flat tyres. Having a spare wheel is pretty rare with any car atm. You can buy space saver style wheels and carry them around the boot for about 260 quid if it bothers you, but as with any new cars make sure you have have good roadside recovery.

servicing. Changing some fluids such as brake, and screen wash every 2 years is recommended, but unlike Mercedes there is no nag to have the car serviced. personally, id book it in every 2 years for a peace of mind check, but there is no requirement to do so
 
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My model 3 LR is not as refined as my old E class. The Model 3 is much quieter at low speeds but on the motorway it seems to be affected by the road surface and can be quite loud. You'd really need to test drive it and see if you can get on with it. The ride on the model 3 is also a bit firmer than the merc again I'd advise a test drive to see if your ok with it.

On a smooth road at 70 mph my (maybe not that accurate) Apple Watch says the Model 3 is 65db, on a poor surface it can be as high as 72db.

mine has a fair few rattles as well.

I personally think its a good compromise which is why I have one.
 

pgkevet

Active Member
Jul 1, 2019
1,783
1,578
mid wales
I have the S rather then 3 and it is quiet with just enough road noise on slow country lanes with crunchy surfaces to warn the wildlife. Lots of hedge brushing here too but none of my 4 punctures were thorny things (had shedloads of punctures on my compact tractor though).
Also agree re spare tyre but looks like most marques are losing them to keep costs down/stop silly beggars changing wheels in dangerous places.
I kept meaning to buy a scrap spare but I guess write off Teslas don't go the standard route due to battery combustion worries so wheels are never cheap just to keep one at home in the barn.
Biggest issue for me is lack of proper PDI. Mine was an ex showroom model so pretty tidy. I fell into the trap of having them check the alignment at 1 year - it was a little out and I'm personally convinced it was likely that way from the get-go. Guff about heavy cars needing alignment checks doesn't gel with the my Garage who will do the next check at les than a quarter Tesla fees.
Other service costs are minimal - brakes need checking/cleaning (local garage can do that) otherwise a filter change is cheap unless it has to be the S a/c dessicant which means degas/regas at tesa fees.
My biggest costs related to rodent damage - It now lives within a RatMat and barn full of bait boxes. Tesla costs are high but roadside has done a good job and decent loaners (from Enterprise) for as long as needed ('cos Tesla fixes are slow)
Depreciation on mine is near £50K in 3 years and while the car is nice to drive manually the rest of the fancy toys and automations are near useless and winter range on moderate journeys is poor.
 
I can't say I find it noisier than my previous 5 series - in fact every time I drive the 5 (now family car) my first though is that the exhaust must be loose :D but that's a cold 6-pot diesel startup for you!

While Tesla don't offer runflats at point of sale, there's nothing to stop you from buying a set and fitting them. You could easily sell the near brand new Michelin PS4s it'll come with to another member of this site, and cover the cost of decent runflats like the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3s. If you can't find the exact size tyre, use a site like WillTheyFit to check the difference the new tyre size would make to speedo reading, etc (anything less than 2% difference is fine IIRC, but I'd always aim for speedo to read higher than standard, so you know you're actually going slightly slower).
 

Irata

Member
Oct 16, 2020
996
603
UK
It's not a noisy car at all, it's all road noise. Unfortunately it doesn't have the fabric lined wheel arches found on most other cars, so you hear things thrown up by the tyres. So to be honest, it won't match your current car. However, it's probably nothing like you may imagine from reading the reports. I don't really think about it at all. At very slow speeds, it's near silent and most of the noise is the ventilation system. I get the impression that efficiency rules with Tesla, so anything that adds weight or drag is second place.

Yep, sadly no spare tyre option like many new cars. I feel just the same. I haven't yet purchased a space saver to keep in the boot, or keep at home for someone to bring out to me, but I will buy one. I don't need the jack kit many come with, so I'm awaiting stock for just a space saver wheel and tyre which is around £179. I use to have contiseal tyres on a previous car, but I don't see them in the size needed - but obviously they only help for very minor punctures.

There is no scheduled servicing and not being serviced does not impact the warranty. This is a real plus for me. However, you may have a snag list from new and so it may need a trip after delivery for a few minor issues if they matter to you. Testing the brake fluid can easily be done yourself, the kits can be purchased online, just dunk in the reservoir bottle. If needs changing, it doesn't have to be done by Tesla. Brake pads will last a very long time as regen does most of the work.

Despite any negatives, overall I'm so glad I made the leap to electric. Good luck with whatever you decide.
 
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Dilly

Active Member
Feb 24, 2020
2,867
2,306
Norfolk
I made the jump from a gas guzzling Subaru to a Prius hybrid to an Ioniq Electric and then to a Model 3 LR. I wanted extra range and got it in spades.
Is it a great car? No. Am I sorry I bought it? No. Do I enjoy owning it? Oh yes.
it has an enormous amount of potential but as yet, much is unfulfilled. With OTA software updates an awful lot is possible.
An electric car, if you have enough solar panels, is an absolute no brainer. My 2400 miles since new has cost £10.87 in electricity. My Subaru did 6K miles per year but seemed to cost more than that once a fortnight!
 
As others have said I'd take a test drive first before making any decisions.

Test drive will answer your road noise questions, it's generally not a quiet car if you've had an Audi/BMW/Merc or 'premium' car in the past.

As for servicing being 2hrs from a service centre would put me off, I think a stat recently was 70% of new Teslas go back to the service centre at least once in their first year. Mines been back twice, once to fix the passenger door that wouldn't shut easily and fix a mis-installed wheel arch lining. I've then been back again this week to have a faulty repeater camera replaced. The second you'd probably get a ranger to come to you but the first would have had you making the trip. For me the trip to Milton Keynes service centre is about a 30 min journey which was tolerable though not as good as when Audi would simply pick the car up from my workplace carry out any work required and drop it back to me.

In the end only you can decide what level of inconvenience/loss of comfort you're willing to accept in exchange for a Tesla/EV.
 
About a year ago, I went from a CLS to an M3P.

Build quality on a Tesla is nowhere near Mercedes level. Paint, fixtures, fittings and general clunks are not as good. ‘Vegan leather’ seats are just what used to be know as vinyl.

Road noise isn’t actually too bad. I know many seem to complain, but with no engine, my Tesla isn’t really noticeably louder. At slower speeds, it is very quiet.

I’ve had one flat tyre. The onboard pressure sensors let me know and I headed straight to Kwik-Fit the next day with a half inflated tyre. It wasn’t a catastrophic tyre failure, so I could limp there.

No servicing concerns for me as I’m close to a servicing centre.

Overall, no regrets in changing to a Tesla. The instant whoosh of speed when driving is really addictive.
 

NewbieT

Active Member
Aug 16, 2019
1,434
1,023
North West
Road noise: newer 2021 double pane / laminated glass is definitely an improvement on the 2019 (have owned both). Acceptable IMO.

Tyres: Getting a spare for your garage isn’t that hard or too expensive if you’re not bothered what it looks like for the 3 days you might use it. If you do get a flat away from home you will be waiting for a flatbed - car can’t be towed on 2 wheels.

Servicing: there is none!! but if you buy new, expect 2 trips in the first year for manufacturing defects, after that you should be fine.
 

Mr Miserable

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jul 8, 2019
6,397
13,405
UK
We went from an S class Merc to Model 3 LR.
They aren't in the same league and at first you may wonder what you are paying for.
Stick with it though, the Tesla is fun and a pleasure to drive. It's also way, way cheaper to operate!
I'll soon be celebrating my 2nd anniversary with the Model 3 and I have no wish to change it.
I was planning to buy a Model Y when they came out but I've changed my mind and will stick with the Model 3. I would never go back to ICE.
There are a host of really good EVs coming to market shortly and they look very tempting until you drive any distance and realise just how good the Tesla Supercharging network is. I'm looking forward to heading up to Scotland again when it opens - a simple journey that becomes an adventure in anything other than a Tesla. As for that trip to S of France I'm resigned to the fact that France is probably a Non for 2021 but it hasn't prevented me for tapping the address into the screen and seeing how easy it would have been.
As far as servicing is concerned I wouldn't worry since there is nowt to service. I shall have the brake fluid and cabin filter replaced in a couple of months time and that will be it, I think. When you get your car, examine it carefully and report the faults on the app - many of them may be sorted by a visit from a Ranger. The Ranger service is much better than I expected - very competent techs in my experience.
Punctures are a worry and I am surprised I haven't had one yet. I used to get them regularly with runflat P Zero's.
I have a can of Holt's gloop in the boot if the dreaded day comes.
My other concern is that there was a shortage of suitable tyres in the UK since January - I don't know if this situation has improved recently, no doubt someone will put my mind at ease (or not!)
 
Many thanks for the really helpful replies everyone.

Yes, I do need to sort out a test drive to get a feel for noise levels. Point taken that the newest version is improved. A brand new £50k car shouldn't have any rattles at all! Nor, for that matter, should it have manufacturing defects after delivery.

The tyre situation is as ludicrous as it is astonishing. It never occurred to me that a car with no spare wheel would have anything other than run flat tyres fitted as standard. That a puncture could require a flat bed recovery just makes matters worse - it could take most of a day to get that organised up here! It sounds like the tyres are some special type, which may give my excellent local tyre depot apoplexy.

My biggest concern though is that the nearest service depots are two hours away. As it seems that new Teslas need several visits to fix manufacturing defects I think being so far away from a depot would become intolerable. Maybe Tesla will get to Carlisle or Lancaster in due course.

My inclination is that owning a Tesla up here in deeply rural Cumbria might be just too much hassle right now. That's a shame, as I really like the Tesla concept. I'd be happy to get away from German dominance of the luxury car market and drive a car with fewer oily bits.

Convince me otherwise!
 

browellm

Active Member
Oct 4, 2019
1,032
994
Notts
My only contention with your post is that that E400d is closer in performance to the SR+ than the LR. But overall you'd struggle to find two more dissimilar cars so a test drive, or perhaps even better a weekend/week's hire, would be mandatory I'd say.

I, like a lot of owners on here, migrated from a BMW 330d which is perhaps a little closer in character to the LR, if for no other reason of size. The LR is better through corners at road legal speeds than the BMW. The suspension is a bit firmer than on my adaptive damper BMW - probably close to the Sports setting, or the passive M-Sport version suspension. I don't find the road noise intrusive at 70mph - the better tyre noise damping of the BMW was offset by the engine noise.
 

Billbrown1982

TM3 LR 2021 | Red | FSD
Dec 21, 2020
611
351
Basildon
Many thanks for the really helpful replies everyone.

Yes, I do need to sort out a test drive to get a feel for noise levels. Point taken that the newest version is improved. A brand new £50k car shouldn't have any rattles at all! Nor, for that matter, should it have manufacturing defects after delivery.

The tyre situation is as ludicrous as it is astonishing. It never occurred to me that a car with no spare wheel would have anything other than run flat tyres fitted as standard. That a puncture could require a flat bed recovery just makes matters worse - it could take most of a day to get that organised up here! It sounds like the tyres are some special type, which may give my excellent local tyre depot apoplexy.

My biggest concern though is that the nearest service depots are two hours away. As it seems that new Teslas need several visits to fix manufacturing defects I think being so far away from a depot would become intolerable. Maybe Tesla will get to Carlisle or Lancaster in due course.

My inclination is that owning a Tesla up here in deeply rural Cumbria might be just too much hassle right now. That's a shame, as I really like the Tesla concept. I'd be happy to get away from German dominance of the luxury car market and drive a car with fewer oily bits.

Convince me otherwise!

All I can add really, be careful when you go for the test drive, because you will probably have the radio off and be paying super attention to every little noise you hear, which ends up being made worse as there's no engine to drown out the sound of the road grit flicking up under your wheel arches.

When you drive it like you own it, with your radio on and your window down and enjoy it for what it is, its an incredibly nice drive. I've had my model 3 since March and have never looked back.

The new batch of made in China model 3's have been overwhelmingly good as far as quality control and problems goes. Not to say you won't find anything, but, ideally, any problems you do find will be able to be picked up by a ranger, or might require one SC visit to get them all taken care of plus if its under warranty, then you can ask for a courtesy car - but tl;dr there have been FAR FAR less SC visits from this last batch of owners, than any before.

Granted 2 hours is a bit of a mission to drive, but on the flip side - its a perfect excuse for a 2 hour drive in your fantasticly fun new Tesla, and then you get a loaner car that can be anything from an S to an X that you can do with as you pleasure, with free supercharging while you have it.

The spare wheel thing, yeah ok bit of a concern admittedly. I'm still undecided on how I feel about it but I will probably end up buying a road angel or whatever those space saver wheel kits are and just keeping that in the back of the boot. Which frankly, I find huge but a strange shape. As its so long, my spare will just sit at the back behind the seats and I'll pretty much forget about it. Also rather than relying on Tesla's breakdown, if you have your own and they are any good, they can usually get you going again in a reasonable amount of time.
 
My only contention with your post is that that E400d is closer in performance to the SR+ than the LR. But overall you'd struggle to find two more dissimilar cars so a test drive, or perhaps even better a weekend/week's hire, would be mandatory I'd say.
Yes, it's sort of in between (0-62 in 4.9s) but it is a 4WD, like the LR. Fact of the matter is I have got rather bored with Mercs, having had several (E320, 2xE350 and now the E400) so I fancy something "dissimilar"! Great suggestion to do a week's rental and, surprisingly, there is a rental outlet that is less than two hours away. That seems to make a lot of sense, thank you!
 
Know what you mean re the test drive.

back in summer 2019 there was a lot of stuff on social media with very divided opinion about the M3 so I took one for a brief test so I could decide whether the BEV/M3 haters were right (this being the camp I was in, very much a petrol head background) or whether the “pro M3” lobby were right (and intuitively they weren’t).

anyhow, one test drive later and I was completely won over. Importantly so was SWMBO. The reputed build quality etc looked fine to me, and the driving experience was astonishing.

So from taking the test drive expecting and indeed almost wanting to hate the car I came away needing one in my life. However at the time I had only just taken delivery (by 3 months) of my current car so a swap wasn’t viable.

2 years later I’m sat waiting for 17 May so I can collect my M3 LR and experience the pleasure I had on the test drive 2 years ago on a daily basis.

Hence I’d certainly recommend a test drive and reckon you’ll come back hooked or able to rule it out completely
 
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I love my M3LR. Have had it just over a year and (touch wood) no issues. I know of others who have had issues (rear screen replaced due to heater not working, squeaking suspension replaced, grinding steering column replaced) but then I have had issues with my wife's Lexus. I recall Elon saying the biggest barrier to Tesla ownership was distance from a service centre so he would be opening as many as he can.

In your particular circumstances chances are you buy one and have no issues. But if you do have an issue, or when it does come time to have a service, it's going to be a pain (unless mobile service will come to you, of course.)

Anyway, if you have a doubt I would recommend you do NOT test drive the Tesla because people almost invariably buy after a test drive. When I drive my wife's Lexus RX450h it feels like a tractor to me now.
 

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