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Discussion Starter #1
My 3-year lease is up on my beautiful 2018 Tanzanite Blue 440i GC and its decision time. My 3 options are:

1. Buy my 2018 BMW 440i GC
2. Lease a Tesla Model 3
3. Lease a 2020 BMW 330i

My goal is to reduce my monthly $734 lease payment since I have a kid going to college in the fall.

Option 1: Buy-out my leased 440i GC. While I love this car looks, power and engine (much better than my 2015), I have been driving a GC for 6 years now and I am ready for a change. But BMW is offering me a $3,000 discount on my residual value and 2.99%. Still, looking at $32k + tax on a car with 30,000 miles.

Option 2: Lease a Tesla Model 3 (dual motor). I test drove one recently (overnight) and I liked it…sort of. I loved the power (0-60 in 4.4 sec but feels faster), the exterior design (which is very subjective, especially here) and color (blue). It felt neat and gadgetry, but its simplicity is plain and somewhat stressful, if not just goofy. I mean, everything is controlled through the 15” screen, even the windshield wipers! At times, I felt nervous and even a bit frustrated just changing the vent direction and temperature. The handling was good as it felt like it hugged the road with front wheel drive precision, but it did not really excite me that much. I hated the smallish steering wheel and miniature rear view mirror. And rear visibility was even worse than my GC (if that is even possible). I was also not a huge fan of the stark white/black contract “premium” interior (and I have white interior now!). The fake/vegan leather felt sort of rubbery and too cushy for a sports car, the white strip on the dash reflected on the side mirrors, the (awkward) trunk and 'frunk' are manual open/close, and there’s no parking cameras (other than the large rear view) or heads-up display. My wife and kids however, loved the cabin, and felt it was fun and “cool” to drive.

Option 3: BMW 330i. Not expecting much from my test drive, I hopped in and instantly felt “normal” again, if not completely comfortable behind the wheel and using the controls. I had no instructions from the salesmen for either test drive due to the social distancing so for both these cars, I was basically just handed a key and told to go. I was surprised at the responsive acceleration of this 4-cylinder BMW and even if some of that exhilaration I was feeling was due to the piped in fake/simulated sounds, I liked it. I loved the new tech, especially the camera views for parking. I liked that now the comfort access allows you to open even the rear doors with a touch. The familiar heads-up display, fat and luxurious steering wheel, and oyster leather cabin was as comfortable as a pair of UGGS. My main complaint is that the exterior styling, even with the refresh in 2019, is still too boxy and dated-looking compared to my GC. It is still an attractive (and manly-looking) car, just not as modern-looking as I would like and its too similar to the previous generations. My other complaint is the color options. I hate that BMW limits the colors for M-Sport versus other variations and that BMW’s blues range from strange to full-on ‘douchy’ in my opinion. Mediterranean Blue is nice, if not a bit dark and Portimao Blue Metallic look too purple in my opinion. The Tesla Blue is really a nice color and looks good with the 19” silver wheels.

Verdict: ? Both the Tesla and 330 have a similar price based on the options I want (actually, the BMW is ~ $1,300 more) but the Tesla lease will cost me over $120 more per month due to Tesla’s ****ty lease program. But the Tesla (conceivably) would save that amount per month in gas. I say ‘conceivably’ because I used up quite a bit more charge than the miles I used. If you have a heavy foot and gun it, don’t use the highest setting for regenerative breaking, prefer “creep” mode, etc., these things all drain the battery. Instead of using up 145 miles, I drained the battery a whopping 220 miles during my test drive!

All in all, the Tesla was cooler, ultra-modern, more stylish and more powerful. While the BMW was much more comfortable and sportier. I’m leaning towards the 330i at this point because in the end, its all about the driving experience and while the Bimmer is less exciting than the Tesla, it doesn’t stress me out or annoy me like I think the Tesla would. But I’m still torn as really wanted to like the Tesla more, especially since I have been driving BMW’s since 1990. It seems that everyone who owns a Tesla loves them, even with their flaws and quirks.
 

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All good choices and well written up logic. I would also be torn. Wondering if personal property tax comes into play in the total cost of operating. It is in my state. New always more painful.

My thoughts:

- 330 because it’s a G20, improvement on the F30. I was pleasantly surprised when I drove one at the BMW Driving Experience event in ‘19. Though it’s less HP than your 440, it’s about the feel and familiarity. Moreover, it’s on a brand new warranty & limited no cost maintenance. Aside from that, you can always count on some sort of BMW loyalty discount I’ve gotten that with every BMW I got-lease or purchase. That should be added in the consideration.

- Tesla is a nice vehicle with modern stuff that makes a lot of car manufacturers’ products look dated. BMW needs to catch up fast. But the amenities and familiarity makes me push towards BMW. I know they’re pushing out for more supercharging stations nationally but their plug is proprietary to rest of world. There is likely an adapter but you’re way more researched in this area.

The child/children in college dampens the discretionary expenses. I’m glad mine are out. Good luck in your choice.
 

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If you were driving 20k miles/year, it'd be no-brainer to lease a new BMW. High annual mileage actually makes leasing a new BMW every three years cost effective.

10k mile/year is low mileage. Buying and keeping your car another three years would still only rack up 60k miles. BMW's really don't start giving you a lot of trouble until around 75k miles. That $32k car would still be worth at least half that ($16k) after three years. However, you'd need spark plugs and air filters, three oil changes, and some tires ($1300), maybe brakes ($1000).

A $32k, 2.99%, 36 month car loan would be $930.46/month, more than the lease on a new BMW 330i. But, you'll have a $16k car free and clear at the end.

If that Tesla gets you open commuter lanes and saves you an hour each day, that's a factor. But, if you take road trips with your car a Tesla is useless, despite what the cultists say. Road trips are why I own expensive cars, and what I save on airline tickets and rental cars helps pay for those expensive cars.

My 2014, $73k MSRP, 66k-mile 535i is now worth about $18k. My average monthly depreciation, maintenance, and capital costs for the first six years have been $867/month. That's about where I'd have been leasing two of them. But, it's the next three years were I'll be saving about $25k over leasing a new one, and that's even budgeting $2k/10k miles in maintenance costs. My average monthly depreciation, maintenance, and capital cost will be around $400/month for the next three or four years.

BMW's new four-cylinder engines yield amazing fuel economy if you stay in EcoPro and drive "hybrid-ly." My ten mile trip to Chic-Fil-A last week in Frau Putzer's G01 X3 xDrive 30i yielded 30.0 MPG, and that included waiting in the drive-thru line. On my road trips from Bubbaville to Pensacola, I get 34 MPG. On a recent 14-mile trip in light suburban traffic, I got a real 40.1 MPG in the X3. A RWD 330i would be 450 pounds lighter and punch a much smaller hole in the air.

If you're not willing or comfortable keeping your current BMW another four, five, or six years, you're probably better off leasing a new 330i. They're offering deals on them, now.

California's different that Bubbaville, Floriduh. But, here BMW's offering 0.9%, 60-month financing and $2500 incentives on 2020 3 Series cars on the dealer's lot. USAA or BMWCCA gets you another $500, and then you can haggle with the dealer on top of that. Most 330i lot bunnies have been there a couple of months due to the lockdown/smackdown. So, the finance companies who "floor plan" new car inventories are getting nervous, and are calling the dealers asking when the check will be in the mail.
 

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I'm curious about that 330i in the pictures. Is that an M Sport Package? If so, how did it get the bright window trim? Or is it a Luxury Line with an M steering wheel and pedals? Either way... me likey!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That's the 330i in Mediterranean Blue with the Luxury Line that I found on the internet. I actually like the chrome accents and the silver on the grill (not a fan of the closed/black plastic look of the grill).

However, I'll probably get the MSport Line instead because of the front & rear design and the steering wheel.
 

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The Luxury Line 330i's I've seen had some strange pewter trim around the windows, as shown on the BMWUSA.com. It looks nice, but it doesn't match the grill and the extra chrome on the bumpers. The Sport Line has something close to chrome around the side windows, but not chrome trim on the bumpers. The blue car in your pictures seem to be a combination of all three trim lines: Sport Line, Luxury Line, and M Sport.

The M Sport's come with black wheels with bright spokes if you get performance tires. The other lines come with gray wheels with bright spokes. M Sports have three choices for tires: staggered performance RFT's, staggered performance non-RFT's, and square set-up all-season RFT's. The other lines offer square set-up, all-season non-RFT's.

I wish BMW would let you pick the tires, wheels, and set-up (staggered or square) a la carte. After ditching the OE tires on my 535i, I have exactly what I want: gray wheels, square set-up, performance non-RFT's. That's another incentive to not replace my 535i anytime soon.

We passed on the M Sport Package on Frau Putzer's G01 X3 xDrive 30i because we couldn't get the non-RFT version of all-season, square set-up tires. That cost BMW about $2k off the window sticker.
 

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We passed on the M Sport Package on Frau Putzer's G01 X3 xDrive 30i because we couldn't get the non-RFT version of all-season, square set-up tires. That cost BMW about $2k off the window sticker.
After years of dealing with bulging, wear patterns and the occasional nail requiring replacement of my performance tires, I switched this time to all-season run-flats and have been satisfied with the performance, looks and especially the wear. My performance run-flats would wear out in 18,000 miles which was unacceptable to me.
 

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After years of dealing with bulging, wear patterns and the occasional nail requiring replacement of my performance tires, I switched this time to all-season run-flats and have been satisfied with the performance, looks and especially the wear. My performance run-flats would wear out in 18,000 miles which was unacceptable to me.
I've run though 34 performance tires over the years. I'm addicted to them now.

I have non-RFT Michelin PSS's on my 535i now. They have 35k miles on them, down to between 3/32" and 4/32". I have a square set-up, so I can rotate them front to back. The tires on the back wear about 50% faster, the reason I avoid staggered set-ups on "normal" BMW's (not real M cars).

Frau Putzer's X3's all-season tires are run-of-the-mill SUV tires, Bridgestone H/P Sport AS's. I had some excess wear on the outside half of the tread. I got it aligned. But, BMW of Bubbaiville says that's a common issue with BMW SUV's. If it continues, I can have the tires flipped on the rims at their half-life, since they're symmetric. Doing that, I should get 55k to 60k miles out of the OE tires.
 

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Interesting decision-- this is same one I faced a bit over a year ago. I like gadgets, so I actually consider that an advantage for the Tesla although the idea of doing everything on the touch screen is daunting. I'm on my 5th BMW starting in 2008, so I'm familiar with the user interface.

My wife has a RAV-4, so road trips in my car wouldn't be an issue (she feels much more comfortable in the Toyota due to her arthritis, so if we were going long distance it'd be in her car regardless).

In Feb or 2019, when I got my 330i, the major reason I didn't buy the Tesla is that I feared they'd be soon in bankruptcy and where would one get parts or service? Then last summer my car was in the shop for 3 weeks with an electronic hardware problem and I wondered if it'd be a Lemon and thus I'd have the same decision again. After multiple consultations with BMW NA technicians and consults with Munich, they solved the problem and the car has been flawless since.

I bought, not leased this car, so lease terms didn't matter and paid cash, so interest rates were irrelevant.Back then there was still a federal credit for electric cars as well as a sill in force regional air quality discount.

Now the federal money is gone (isn't it?) so that'd be a disadvantage to the Tesla in the current calculation.

My 330i gets about 32 in the city and 37mpg at 75mph in comfot mode (amazing). But I have a solar system in my house, so electricity would be cheaper.

I really like the Teslas but I'm still uncomfortable with putting this much money in a company with a crazy impulsive genius at the helm. Perhaps leasing would reduce this worry. You'd only be stuck with the car for the term of the lease, even if it was undrivable and unrepairable.

I'm an old guy, so my G20 might be my last car. However, if I totaled it ( or my wife did the same with her Toyota) I guess I'd still consider Tesla.I want Tesla to succeed and feel a bit more comfortable about their financial situation although not about their leader.
 

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After years of dealing with bulging, wear patterns and the occasional nail requiring replacement of my performance tires, I switched this time to all-season run-flats and have been satisfied with the performance, looks and especially the wear. My performance run-flats would wear out in 18,000 miles which was unacceptable to me.
My F30 328i is now on 2nd set of Driveguard A/S RFT, which is quieter and smoother than OEM Pirelli P7 RFT. Since Driveguard is designed as replacement for non-RFT OEM tires, it does drive and feel like non-RFT, with the extra performance edge of RFT.
 

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Radial tires wear evenly and are more fuel efficient because the cords in the sidewalls are only in the radial direction. That allows the sidewalls to stretch in the circumferential direction. That stretching allows the tread to more evenly conform to the pavement. With bias-ply tires, the tread tends to buckle inward in the middle of the contact patch, sort of like a deflated basketball or soccer ball. A deflated ball doesn't get a flat spot, it gets a concave spot, since the total surface area of the ball remains the same. That buckling causes the tread to scrub on the pavement, and to concentrate the wear along the edges.

RFT's are radial tires, but that stiff sidewall prevents the sidewalls from stretching in the radial direction. So, they have the same problems as bias-ply tires. The Goodyear LS2's that came on my 535i are (were) notorious for wearing excessively along the edges. Overinflating them would prevent that, but the ride would become bone jarring.

I've heard Bridgestone Driveguard's are the best RFT's around. But, I don't care. I'm done with RFT's and every car I buy must have a spare tire from here on out.

Having a spare tire allows me to do my own tire rotations, since I can use the spare as a place holder.

The X3's recommended pressures are 32 PSI front and 35 PIS rear. At four PSI over the "decal pressures" I was getting even average wear. The decal pressures are rarely the optimal pressures for even tire wear. Ride quality and the ability of the tire to maintain adhesion with the road when encountering pavement discontinuities dictate lower pressures. The fronts were still wearing more on the sides, but the rears were wearing an equal amount more in the middle. With rotation, the wear would even out.

My recent Michelin's and Bridgestone's have come round shouldered, with about 1/32" more tread depth in the middle channels than on the side channels. I've learned to slightly overinflate them to concentrate the wear in the middle. Ideally, all four channels would hit 3/32" of tread depth at the same time. I've now gone to 38 PSI in the front to concentrate the total average wear in the middle. The ride quality is still fine, but it would not be with RFT's.

BMW and M-B dealerships sometimes lower the pressures on new cars being used for test drives, to get them to ride better. Buyer beware. I've had loaners with tire pressures below the decal pressures.
 

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How much do you insist on dropping your $734 per month lease payment? You can get a decently optioned M340i for less than that....
 

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OK. That makes more sense. For the price, and everything outside of just acceleration, I imagine the 330i is very well rounded. And I just cannot get with the interiors on the Teslas. Simpler I can understand.....stark and void of passion I cannot. The interior is where you spend most of your time with the car......I want somewhere nice to be!!!
 

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The used car market has gone down the toilet. You can negotiate a better deal with BMW FS than their initial offer. They will take a big hit when you turn in your leased BMW right now. Below is my review of my Tesla 3 Dual Motor.

I am an architect and that influences my perspective on my cars. I am 68 and my wife was pressing me to reduce auto costs which wes another consideration. I am a long time BMW Enthusiast. They make impressive cars and BMW as a company has always treated me well when the occasional bump in the road occurred with their cars or I just needed a favor. I am very pleased with battery electric vehicles and I believe that it is future. For me the idea of driving that is green is a huge plus. Having drivien my Tesla 3 Model 3 Dual Motor for two weeks, I can make a direct comparison to my $75,000 fully optioned 540iX.

Overall Impressions
Overall I am pleased with the Tesla Model 3, but is clearly a paradigm shift. Battery Electric Vehicles are the future. Tesla has done a great job with the Tesla Model 3. It is a great value. It is comparable to my 2017 540iX in most respects. The total of lease payments and fuel costs in a direct comparison translate into 30% savings with the Tesla Model 3 Long Range Version Dual Motor AWD. As a poster noted above the money factor for leasing is not as good as BMW but is not bad either. However for a comparatively equipped Tesla Model 3 and 540ix the MSRP difference is $75,000 versus $52,000. The sales price difference is $67,500 versus $52,000. However it is not a BMW, but BMW does not offer any electrified vehicles that are remotely close at this time to Tesla Model 3 and Model S.

Practicality
The Tesla Model # is perfectly practical and suits my needs well. However one needs to be attentive to charging the Model 3 and keeping it fully charged. That is not a big deal for me. Longer trips would require planning and more thought about when and where to refuel. My wife has an X3 so we would most likely take that on longer trips.

Driving Dynamics
The Tesla handles surprisingly well. I would put it at approximately 95% of my 5er with the M Sport Suspension. At 70 mph and above the BMW 540iX M Sport feels somewhat more planted. The Tesla with the Sport Steering setting steers better than my BMW 5er. That is baffling. When taking turns at speed the Tesla is very close to the 5er. However the Tesla seats do not resist lateral forces nearly as well as the BMW Sport Seats.

Size
The Tesla Model 3's cabin size and dimensions are pretty much spot on with the G30 5er. The ergonomics of the seats and controls are better the 5er. Tesla seats only come in pleather. Tesla seats are fine but not as good as the 5er. Overall the 5er is longer but cabin and the rear trunk are just about spot on identical. I can get my road bike in the trunk of both both.

Controls
Tesla relies on a computer screen for pretty much everything. Once one adjusts to the new paradigm the Tesla is fine with reservations. I am 68 and I use reading glasses. BMW font size is perfect for me. Tesla font size is slightly too small.

Audio
The Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor has an audio system that is slightly better than the $800 Harmon Kardan system in my 5er. However, Tesla does not have an AM radio for some bizarre reason. Tesla syncs music and contacts but it is not as seamless as BMW.

Electronic Driver's Assistance
Without purchasing the optional $7,000 Tesla self-driving package, the Tesla Autopilot is dramatically better than the BMW Drivers Assistance options on my 2017 BMW 540ix. It works unbelievably well and is quite predictable. It keeps you glued to the center of your lane and is not bothered by faint road striping or rain. I did not test drive the current 540ix with current BMW driver assistance options so undoubtedly BMW has made progress.

Design
As an architect design matters to me. Tesla's design is fine but not as sophisticated as BMW. BMWs are visually rich and quite beautiful with interior details and materials. The Tesla interior is minimalist and is fine. But it is not as inspired or well-executed as BMW. BMW's exterior aesthetic is more innovative and sophisticated than Tesla. However, Teslas are highly respected by the general public and admired for their green credentials.

Manufacturing and Build Quality
Tesla had issues at the outset. Those have been addressed and fixed so that they are now fine. However, BMW has tighter door and panels gaps and panel alignment. On the Tesla Model 3 there is a very slight panel misalignment on all Tesla Model 3s where the rear hatch meets part of the diver's side rear quarter panel. It is idiotic that they not fix this rather repeating the same slight problem on all model 3s.

Tesla as a Company versus BMW as a Company

Having leased and interacted with BMW as a company for 19 years, I much prefer and appreciate BMW's commitment to customer satisfaction and retention. When issues arose for many BMW 5ers, like squeaky door seals in 2004 on the new iteration, it took BMW a while to sort it out, but they replaced all door seals if yours squeaked. For 2004 the BMW web site said the M Sport 5er came with a M Sport suspension. The order form deleted it. BMW after the uproar here replaced 5ers that were affected. they refunded lease payment and gave a $1,000 credit while I drove my old 5er. With our current pandemic, BMW FS let me delay the payment by 30 days without penalty. When Illinois dealership showrooms were closed it became very difficult to return my 5er at lease end. They extended my lease by a month for free after I complained. Ordering and leasing a BMW has always been a relatively easy direct experience. Tesla sales and leasing experience is clumsy and awkward. Their attitude is take or leave it. I don't have the answer to your legitimate lease questions, but just trust us. BMW values you as a sales client and customer. Tesla sales staff are very uneven. Some are fine, but some are indifferent to the customer and not knowledgeable.

Electric Range with BMW Current Electrified Cars
The range is always calculated on super ideal conditions. Anything less than the advertised 320-mile range is not viable in my opinion if you are serious about driving in all-electric mode. BMW got off to a great stat with electrified cars. Then everything stagnated for 7 years for idiotic reasons and Tesla has made great inroads with the BMW faithful here and amazingly in Europe.

Summary
I am very pleased with my Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor Sedan. It is 30 percent less to lease and operate than my comparately equipped 5er which I consider to a peer. However, it is new and very innovative. It is less refined than BMW cars. It lacks the BMW German obsession with beautiful design, engineering, and manufacturing. BMW as a company treats its customers with the highest respect and values the long term relationship. Tesla falls short in this area. However they deserve credit for taking on enormous risks and challenges creating a paradigm shift and delivering fine product.
 

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On my Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor my first months payments totaled $5000. My car has the premium paint and the 19" wheels. My payments are $622 a month. The cost of electricity is 30 percent of the cost of premium gas. I park in a City of Chicago garage next to the Art Institue of Chicago. I charge my car there for free.

Another option for you is to do something temporary and get the BMW i4 when it goes out next year. If my business holds up through the recession, which is doubtful, I will seriously consider getting BMW i4.
 

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Is your 440 RWD or xDrive? From the wheel gap in the photos, I'm not sure. But if it is RWD with the 704 MSport suspension, she's a keeper, particularly in that lovely low mileage Tanzanite with the bigger wheels. As Putzer noted, she's likely got at least another 45,000 trouble free miles in her, outside of routine maintenance.

RE: the 330: Not sure how things are in Cali, but in the Northeast, BMW is waiving your first 2 lease payments, and some dealers are throwing in a third waived lease payment. With college around the corner, that's an important consideration. You need to take delivery by 6/1 (unless the program gets extended) so that means finding a car on the lot you like. There may be no orderable G20's for a while anyway, so getting one built to your specs may not be an option. If you're inclined to go the G20 route, do yourself a favor and ring up Jon Shafer at BMW Santa Maria. He can take care of you. It's not THAT far of a drive from San Fran, and taking the coastal route home would be a great way to break in your new whip.

As pharding noted, it's also okay to wait. BMW will allow you to extend the lease on your 440, maybe for up to 6 months. And there are several VERY tasty lease assumptions available on Swapalease. Unlike leasing a new BMW, there are no big inception costs (just the $500 application fee), and some of them are heavily subsidized by lessees who lost their job to COVID. You could buy yourself some time while helping a brother out. Maybe a 2020 4 Series will be the ride that ticks all your boxes, and the lease assumption can tide you over till she gets here.

Tesla? Dear God, no. They are disorganized now; just imagine what the ownership experience will be if the petulant baby daddy decides to take his ball, his plant, and move to Nevada?

Keep us posted.
 
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