The Tesla Model 3 has come and left of us all in awe. It’s undoubtedly a game changer for the small luxury sedan segment, and potentially a game changer for the rest of the industry as well.
The small luxury sedan market is not an easy playground to just jump into, but we don’t think the Model 3 will have much trouble holding its ground against proven cars like the BMW 3 Series or the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
We’ve selected a handful of the other important small, luxury sedans that the Model 3 will be competing against to try and showcase what this brave, new electric car will be up against when deliveries begin in around two years.
The BMW 3 Series has been one of the best go-to small, luxury sport sedans for over 40 years.
With a starting price of around $33,000, the BMW 3 Series is not only cheaper than most of its gasoline competition, it’s cheaper than the Model 3 too, not counting tax incentives.
If you want something more sport-oriented but you don’t want to step up the power or jump up to a BMW M performance car, you can add a $2,300 performance package to the base 320 model. With that you get sport brakes, sport suspension, different, more aggressive-looking wheels, and electronic adjustable suspension.
There’s a bit more to most good sports sedans than quick acceleration. Too bad we really don’t yet know how aggressive the Model 3 will be performance-wise.
The Jaguar XE is one of the newer cars out of the bunch, but it’s also one of the most impressive.
Like most of the other cars on this list, the Jaguar XE borrows its looks from the more expensive side of its brand’s lineup. Because that brand is Jaguar, the XE looks very, very good.
What’s also impressive with the XE is that its all-wheel-drive system is able to send a 10:90 split to the front:rear wheels, the other way around with a 90:10 split front:rear, and 50:50 for optimal traction when you’re really stuck.
This power split helps you corner better when needed and also provide the most amount of traction possible when you’re really begging for it.
The Jaguar XE is priced right below the Model 3 at $34,900.
For many car people, one of the most important features in a sporty car is the transmission.
Among other cars on this list, the Jaguar XE offers a manual transmission option.
Of course, the Model 3 does not.
I think if I had to choose shifting gears over instantaneous electric torque, I’d choose the gear shifting.
The Audi A4 is a bit more boring than the rest, but that’s okay.
When you pay $37,300 for a new Audi A4, you get a well-refined, German luxury-sedan. That’s about it.
It’s not a car that’s meant to impress in any insane way, it doesn’t have in your face luxury or in your face speed, it’s just a car, and it’s pretty good at just being a car.
There’s tech, which is nice.
You can get the new A4 with Audi’s signature 12.3-inch LCD gauge cluster.
It’s nice, but it’s not overwhelming.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is affordable luxury at its finest.
In 2014, Mercedes-Benz debuted their current generation C-Class. It was a massive step up from the previous generation and it brought the brand’s standard corporate looks down to a level that normal people might actually be able to afford.
Basically, they took the looks of their flagship S-Class sedan, and brought it to a $38,000 car instead of a $95,000 car.
You can get it with as much as 503 horsepower in the high-performance C63 S model, or as little as 241 horsepower in the base car.
It doesn’t have a massive screen like the Model 3, but other parts of the interior might be even more luxurious.
The C-Class can be optioned with things like power sunshades, a “cabin fragrance system,” and heated and vented front seats.
Oh, and at least it has gauges.
With these cars, it’s mostly down to personal preference and brand loyalty.
So take your pick.
Or wait two years for the Model 3. I couldn’t.