I recently had the chance to drive the new Tesla Model 3 Performance, which is the sporty version of the Tesla Model 3. To me, this is the very best Tesla yet — the best all-rounder, the best complete package and the best for car enthusiasts. And today, I’m going to explain why.
First, let’s talk Tesla. The Model 3 first came out at the end of 2017, and the original cars made about 280 horsepower — a nice figure, of course, but not enough to set anyone’s hair on fire, in today’s world where even the Toyota Camry has 300 horses. That’s why Tesla came out with the Performance, which has an amazing 473 horsepower — and does 0-to-60 in an unbelievable 3.2 seconds.
So, what did I think? Well, first off, the technology is absolutely amazing. The latest Tesla features are quite impressive, ranging from the absurd — fart mode, where you can make it seem like a passenger is passing gas, using the speakers — to the radically hilarious: There are built-in video games, and you can play them using the car’s steering wheel and pedals. While the car is stopped, of course.
But it’s not just that. The latest round of Tesla Autopilot is quite amazing, offering probably the best hands-free driving of any modern car system — though other brands are catching up, and Cadillac’s Super Cruise is better in limited circumstances. The car really does drive for you, and you start to gain confidence in the system as you use it more — although, at the current moment, it won’t detect traffic lights or stop signs, meaning you’re always paying attention (or, at least, you should be).
Interestingly, despite the excellent tech features, there are some drawbacks in the car — like, for instance, the lack of cooled seats and the lack of a heated steering wheel. Why not give the car these simple features, which are offered by basically every vehicle at this price point?
With that said, this car offers one other really amazing draw, and that’s the performance. It’s absolutely incredible how it feels when you first stomp on the accelerator and the thing flies forward at a ridiculous rate of speed, launching you down the road and slamming you back in your seat — all without the drama of a loud, angry gasoline engine doing its work. Yes, I admit, I miss the exhaust note — but I miss it a lot less when I’m doing 0-to-60 in 3.2 seconds. It’s amazing.
Handling, too, is fantastic. I was expecting the acceleration, but I absolutely wasn’t expecting the handling, which is shockingly sharp: Steering is really, really quick, with instantaneous response to every input, and the car goes through corners fast and flat without much drama or body roll. I’m shocked by how good it is.
And part of the reason I’m shocked is the styling. While technology and performance are clearly benefits here, the big drawback is the simple fact that this thing just doesn’t look all that cool. When BMW creates the M3, they take the 3 Series and make it more aggressive everywhere, designing a vehicle you truly want to own — one that’s more special than the regular 3 Series. When Tesla creates the Model 3 Performance, they just slap on red brake calipers and a "DUAL MOTOR" badge, and … that’s it. Literally, that’s it. The car is otherwise indistinguishable.
Which is a shame, because some extra features would really make it stand out, indicating that you have something special. And given that the price for this incredible performance and technology starts at a mere $57,000, you do have something special indeed: You have the best Tesla yet. Find a Tesla Model 3