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Has Tesla finally made a car that handles?



TESLA MODEL 3 PERFORMANCE
Basic Price:
$ 101 100.
Drives & Performance: Performance Lithium-ion Plug-in Battery Pack, AWD, Range 560 km (NEDC), 0-100 kmh 3.4 seconds.
Vital statistics: 4694mm long, 1443mm high, 2875mm wheelbase, luggage capacity 423 liters, 20-inch alloy wheels.
We like: Fun handling to go with the epic acceleration, good value for a high-performance sedan.
We don't like: Shapeless seats, weak door handles, why isn't it a liftback?

We had a first taste of Tesla Model 3 recently and really enjoyed it. But it was literally just a drive around the block. Now we have taken the flagship Performance version and thrown 500km of hard drive on the Kiwi roads on it. How is it shaped?

Just a smaller Model S then?

  Low armor, but you can also see the front wires from the driver's seat; just like a sports car.

DAVID LINKLATER

Low armor, but you can also see the front wires from the driver's seat; just like a sports car.

Not at all. Model 3 is on a mission much more important than the big brother.

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[19659006] Well, two missions. The first is to take Tesla more towards mainstream status, because it is more affordable. Production figures, sales volume … it's a business story and therefore boring, so we put it aside.

  Model 3 on the Kiwi roads: are we happy? Yes.

DAVID LINKLATER

Model 3 on Kiwi roads: are we happy? Yes.

The other related mission is to conquer the hearts of people who love to drive. Model S and Model X are impressive in their technology extremely fast in a straight line, but anodyne when you're past the news with ramp acceleration.

Model 3 has a stated goal of retaining everything that Tesla is currently loved for, but provides enthusiastic credentials. It is supposed to be more European than American in taste. More car than mobile device.

Especially our test vehicle Model 3 Performance. This $ 101,100 sedan features dual-engine AWD setup, 20-inch wheels, large brakes and 10mm lower suspension.

Model 3 is also the base for the upcoming Model Y compact SUV. But that's another story.

Hold on, what happened to the cheap?

  It's Tesla-fast with 0-100 kmh in 3.4 seconds, but there's more to the Model 3 Performance appeal than that. [19659009] DAVID LINKLATER </cite></p>
<p>  It's Tesla fast with 0-100 kmh in 3.4 seconds, but there's more to the Model 3 Performance's appeal than that. </p>
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<p class= It exists, though it is cheap for a high-tech EV rather than actually cheap.

The NZ lineup opens with Standard Range Plus (RWD) for $ 73,900, which does 460km on a charge and can hit 100kmh in 5.6 seconds.

There is also a Model 3 Long Range (AWD) for $ 92,200: 620km range and 0-100 kmh in 4.6 sec.

  If you are worried about your Tesla Superiority, you can buy the performance: red brake calipers easily identifiable.

DAVID LINKLATER

If you are worried about your Tesla Superiority, you can buy Performance: red brake calipers easily identifiable.

Our flagship Performance Test Vehicle trades by Ome's range for, well, performance: it still does 560 km, but hits 100 km in a truly remarkable 3.4 seconds.

The performance also features a track mode, carbon fiber spoiler and Tesla's Premium interior (shared with Long Range): it includes power / heated seats, premium one-year connectivity (satellite map, internet in the car), upgraded audio and greater storage.

Does the interior actually work?

  Minimalist in the extreme, but works well ... mostly. Black and white interiors are a $ 1600 alternative.

DAVID LINKLATER

Minimalist in the extreme, but works well … pretty much. Black and white interiors are an $ 1600 option.

Tesla has gone full, well, Tesla on the Model 3 cabin: two buttons on the steering wheel, but none on the dashboard. All features are inside a 15-inch touchscreen mounted in the center of the car.

It adds a lot to the concept car atmosphere. If we can say that, it is also a cost-effective way of accommodating the left and right hand because you are merely mirroring the entire event.

It is landscape oriented and high up – a much better arrangement than the portrait screen of the Model S and Model X. The basics are also ergonomic sound and the controls intuitive: the speed reading is on the top right of the screen so you can see it in your peripheral vision . There are shortcut menus available at the bottom of the screen for important features.

  Another design of the door handle from Tesla. And the most fiddly yet.

DAVID LINKLATER

Another design of door handles from Tesla. And the most fiddly yet.

However, just as you have to admire the commitment to get rid of every single button, you know that things have gone too far when you have to go into a submenu to open the glove compartment. [19659006] The seats aren't up to scratch for a performance car either: they lack support and shape. The rear is only hostile to adult passengers: hard to get in, seats too high and therefore poor headroom. But many similar-sized euro sedans are no better.

When we talk about it: it looks like a hatch, couldn't it have been one? So American. The trunk is decent, if narrow, but having a proper tailgate would have made the Model 3 much more convenient.

Congratulations on fit and finish. This is a Tesla built down for a price, but it still feels much more exclusive than the Model S and Model X.

Then go on: tackle it or not?

  Computerized AWD still seems to have a human feel when it comes to entertainment.

DAVID LINKLATER

Computerized AWD still seems to have a human feel when it comes to entertainment.

shown. The Model 3 Dual Motor provides an exciting driving experience. It's a car you'll consider because it's fun to drive, not primarily because it's an EV from a tech brand.

But it still does things its own way. The steering has no feel, and the three modes simply give you degrees of artificial weight. I'm ok with that: electric steering means that most modern performance cars now work more with precision than communication, and Model 3 Performance certainly has it.

There is still a hint of push-pull from the AWD system that you get with the Model S, but these moments are only small, and the driveline does a good job of responding to the driver's inputs and letting the rear engine take the lead for ensuring a smiley-face emoji, well-balanced corner experience.

Any other cars I should consider?

  Doesn't look anything special, but the performance of the Model 3 is definitely an EV for car enthusiasts.

DAVID LINKLATER

Looks nothing special, but Model 3 Performance is definitely an EV for car enthusiasts.

If you want a clean EV with performance and handling purposes, you're a bit stuck. The BMW i3s is not as fast as possible, but still a lot of fun thanks to a great RWD chassis.

Alternatively, we may be looking for a practical high performance machine from a cult status brand.

BMW again, with M3 sedan. It's almost a second slower to 100kmh and $ 60k more expensive … but makes great noises and makes big slides. Then again, the current model is due to retirement.

The upcoming Mercedes-AMG A 45 will be closer in price, 0-100 kmh in the triangles, AWD and outrageous. Similar to the Model 3 performance in some ways, but the polar opposite of others.

The fact that we talk about these cars in the same breath as the Model 3 performance is a real plug for Tesla's latest.


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