Model 3 impresses on the open road

It’s flawed, but it’s an addictive electric car

Every time I’ve driven a Tesla Model 3, my overwhelming feeling has been: Why isn’t everyone making one of these? The Model 3’s combination of price, performance, practicality and range seems close to a perfect car.

You can start to see, at least a little bit, what all those rave Tesla fans were all about. However, until recently, no one else could offer a car that was in direct competition with the Model 3.

That’s changed now, at last, BMW has introduced its new i4, an all-electric version of the 4 Series Gran Coupe, and in terms of price and electric performance – not to mention size and shape – it’s more or less a bang on a rival 3 model. Which gives us a good excuse to take another role in the Model 3, and even better, this is the Model 3’s performance.

Previously, we only had the opportunity to test the long-range version on Irish roads, and to be honest, there was always some doubt as to whether the performance – with its higher price tag and shorter range – was worth the upgrade. After all, no one gets out of the long-range Model 3 and complains about its acceleration.

Model 3 impresses on the open road

The large touch screen dominates the cabin

The large touch screen dominates the cabin

Well, the answer is: Yes, the upgrade is definitely worth it. You may only be able to safely post a performance run a few times a year, but the laughter that ensues will make it all worthwhile. Hold your foot from a 30cm rolling start and the Model 3 will hit 100 km/h in just 3.3 seconds.

Now, you won’t do it over and over in a row – the battery will eventually cry enough, and the power will be reduced to allow the cells to cool down and recover – but like I said, the chances of doing that will be limited anyway. Just be sure to warn your passengers in advance not to press their heads hard against the seatbacks.

The Model 3’s impressive performance reminds me of an old story about the late Carroll Shelby’s tactics to sell the original Cobra sports car. Shelby apparently pinned a $100 bill to the dashboard of the Cobra, inviting a potential customer for a ride. If that customer could get to the front and grab the cash while Shelby gave her the whole grain in second gear, he could keep it. According to legend, no one got the money.


Before anyone starts accusing me of rampaging riots or worse, one of the most impressive things about the way the 3 Performance actually drives is how it handles low revs.

Flip the switch on the large touchscreen to adjust the acceleration from “sport” to “cold” and it looks like the Tesla is completely stabilizing at 50 km / h. Some high-performance cars are hard to curb at urban speed limits, so hyperactivity is throttle response, but not a Tesla. It is actually a very comfortable car to drive around the city. Even better, you feel a nice vanity because (directly) you’re not burning any unnecessary hydrocarbons.

On the more open roads, the Model 3 keeps popping up, but the opponent’s column starts to fill up a bit. The steering is completely synthetic. It’s good in terms of weighting and response, but not in terms of feedback. Tesla makes up for that with a sense of agility. It helps that the windshield deflectors feel as low as your knees, which gives you a massive front view (they are spoiled by the large windshield pillars a bit).

The added performance of 573 hp is addictive, yet it can still reach 547 km on a full charge of its 76 kWh battery.

The added performance of 573 hp is addictive, yet it can still reach 547 km on a full charge of its 76 kWh battery.

Model 3 features heated seats

Model 3 features heated seats

Model 3 has a suitable boot space

Model 3 has a suitable boot space

Added to this are the Model 3’s slim dimensions. At 4.6m in length and 1.8m in width, it’s on the small side (although the flat-floor design means it’s roomy inside), and it feels smaller behind the wheel—about the size of a Fiesta, subjectively.

Of course, the cabin is dominated by a large touchscreen, but while you get used to it, the lack of simple physical buttons for key controls remains frustrating, as is the lack of an instrument panel or driver display. . Cabin quality overall looks good, although whether “quality” is good enough at the €65,990 performance price tag (or more than €77,000 as tested) is debatable at best.

Smoothing is a problem. Obviously all the electric motors are silent, but this reveals a cabin full of rattles. It doesn’t help that the ride, on the 20-inch “Uberturbine” wheels, is very sturdy. It’s not objectionably stiff as the 3’s sibling, the Model Y, but it’s stiff enough that he can feel some bumps and lumps, and definitely hear them. The occasional cacophony of cabin rattles is also heard, which does not bode well for a car with relatively low mileage.

From the outside, you’ll still spot some gaps in the Jami board, which doesn’t inspire confidence. This doubles as some extra systems, like electric windows that screech and groan when they slowly finish, and automatic windshield wipers that seem to struggle to tell what rain spray is.

On the upside, nice touches like cordless phone chargers lined in suede, as well as reasonable trunk space, a useful “comfort” luggage compartment at the front, and large storage areas at the front of the cabin. Heated seats are good too (although no heated steering wheel, which is a shame).

However, there is also the eerily named “autopilot” system to contend with. Not only is it institutionally irresponsible to name Active Cruise Control and the steering setup to keep lane (and not get us started on the optional “full self-driving” that’s no such thing), it’s also troubling that Tesla has dropped its ultrasonic sensors From the Model 3 automated systems, it is now entirely dependent on cameras.


These cameras can suffer very easily – watch the big screen animation of parking lots and people around you and you will often notice that the cameras either decide that some are moving in a direction that doesn’t seem obvious or miss them entirely. It’s not a system that I feel properly safe in using in any circumstances, but it’s a relatively straight and straightforward highway. And until then, to be honest, I’m less than anxious.

I’m very keen on the rest of the Model 3. Sure, it has its drawbacks and drawbacks, and your opinion of Elon Musk’s character might push you away from buying one of these, but the Model 3 remains a compelling electric sports saloon.

The extra performance of 573 hp is addictive, yet it can still reach 547 kilometers on a full charge of its 76 kWh battery. Plus, there’s the allure of Tesla’s unbeatable network of high-speed “Superchargers” when you’re out and about.

BMW is getting closer, and soon the others will be. The i4 is handsome and capable, albeit a bit more expensive and slower if you opt for the higher-spec M50 version. Although flawed, the Model 3 remains compelling in the face of mounting opposition.

Tesla Model 3 performance: the inside info

  • Energy: 420 kW dual-motor setup backed by a 76 kWh battery pack with single-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
  • Carbon dioxide emissions (annual car tax): 0 g / km (120 euros).
  • electric range: 547 km.
  • Electricity consumption: 16.4 kWh / 100 km.
  • 0-100 km/h: 3.3 seconds
  • price: 77,327 euros depending on the test; (Model 3 performance starts at €65,990, Model 3 range starts at €49,990)
  • Verdict: The competition is approaching, but despite its shortcomings, the Model 3 continues to impress.

#flawed #addictive #electric #car

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