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Video | The Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor Performance Is Amazing — But Also Depressing

Renting a Tesla Model 3 for a last-minute trip to Las Vegas for SEMA was a terrible idea. It’s not because this dual-motor performance model I rented is a bad car, as it actually surprised me in a lot of ways. It’s because it was so good that it actually depressed me a little bit at the same time.

I rented this car using an app called Turo that helps strangers rent cars to other strangers, and in the case of this Model 3, I also had to borrow their phone. This Tesla has no key, just a phone app to get inside and drive away. I was actually locked out of the car for a minute until I realized the phone had to be unlocked for the Tesla to unlock. The future is now.

Being a heavily optioned, dual-motor performance model, this Tesla was far away from being a price point that’s accessible to the masses. Its $71,000 MSRP could buy you a well-equipped Mercedes-Benz E-Class or a BMW 5 Series, but instead, people are lining up to buy these, which really don’t impress on the surface. The party tricks found in the Model S, such as the retractable door handles and the giant touch screen, don’t exist with the Model 3, nor does it drive as well. I think my 2005 Toyota Prius has less road noise, and it certainly has more comfortable seats than the Model 3, but none of that really matters.

With the Model 3, much like the Model S in 2012, Tesla puts us in a time machine to see what cars will be like in 5 to 10 years. The acceleration is the most impressive part, with its almost painful throttle response. The 3.5 second 0-to-60 number is a figure the Ferrari Enzo could barely reach a decade ago, and this Tesla can do it all day long, or at least as long as the battery lasts. With the all-wheel drive, I could actually accelerate at insane velocities in the corners, as well, leaving my foot to the floor and allowing the traction control to do all the thinking for me. Normal driving is pretty thoughtless, too, since a double click on the bottom of the gear selector engages Autopilot, which enables the Tesla to nearly drive itself right up the Las Vegas strip.

The Tesla’s proximity-detection system gives a readout of objects, representing them as formless grey blobs of various sizes. The car will avoid these grey blobs whether Autopilot is enabled or not, making this ridiculously performing car ridiculously safe as well. I also think Tesla is predicting the future with these blobs representing cars, too, and after viewing all the displays for aftermarket performance accessories at SEMA, I was kind of depressed.

In the future, we’ll all have cars accelerate faster than a Bugatti Veyron, but we won’t care because everybody will have one. There’s no exhaust or intake to modify on a Tesla for extra performance — no superchargers, turbos or nitrous kits either. Even installing an aftermarket stereo would be impossible, since the stock ones are integrated with vital systems like the speedometer and the windshield wipers. I guess you could still install aftermarket wheels and graphics, but that would be just as silly as someone doing the same to a V6 Mustang today. If the future is cars like this Model 3, the SEMA of 20 years into the future will be filled with battery seminars and software engineers.

I’m sure there will be plenty of people clutching the keys to their gasoline-powered cars to the grave — including me. At the same time, I certainly wouldn’t be bored daily driving this crazy Model 3 as well. So, like the future of cars, I’m pretty confused right now.

Editor’s Note: Tyler Hoover mentions Super Cruise in the video above. This was an error — the technology is actually called Autopilot.

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  1. I lament the future of our beloved 4 wheeled transportation but technology is evolutionary, I think we all expected to have flying cars by now but instead we have electric vehicles.

    I think the future of sports cars is undoubtedly hybrid like the Acura NSX, Porche 918 Spyder etc, We all are going to want the sound of a gas burner, Perhaps the future of sound will be very BMW i8 like with fake and enhanced sound until our generation kicks the bucket (If we ever do with life extension technology) then the next generations may not care as much about engine sound, Perhaps they will prefer the whir of electric engines and perhaps they will somehow enhance that so it sounds like some futuristic spaceship jumping to warp speed.
    At some point flying cars with zero point energy power plants and anti-gravity drives will replace the last remaining 4 wheel vehicles with perhaps a handful of enthusiasts still using the roads now largely abandoned for the skies, This may actually become the golden age of car enthusiasts since we could probably drive as fast as we want with very little traffic and likely very little enforcement of speed limits, That’s of course granted we aren’t taken over by a technocratic AI overlord who watches our every move. 

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