The car was traveling south on the Bronx River Parkway when the driver lost control and hit a concrete barrier before smashing into the tree near Watson Avenue about 4:15 a.m., according to an NYPD spokesman.
"The car burst into flames real quick. You could hear the car crackling and popping," said witness Deidrea Tisdale, 60.
"The flames were shooting up to the leaves on the tree."
The two passengers in the front, who were both men, were ejected by the crash but a third person, Bill Bido, 20, was trapped in the flaming wreckage and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
The two front passengers were taken to Jacobi Medical Center where one of them, 20-year-old Xavier Rodriguez, was pronounced dead at 5:10 a.m. The other, 23, was in critical condition, according to the NYPD.
Both men who were killed lived in The Bronx.
Rodriguez resided at 280 East 161st Street and Bido at 173 Father Zeiser Place.