2024 Tesla Model 3 Performance Preview: Small Package, Big Power

2024 Tesla Model 3 Performance Preview: Small Package, Big Power

Delivering over 500 hp, it stands as the mightiest Model 3 to date.

The latest iteration of the Tesla Model 3, dubbed the Highland variant, is scaling new heights with the introduction of a capital-"P" Performance version, resurrecting the beloved trim level from the pre-refresh Model 3 electric sedan. In addition to inheriting the styling and refinement enhancements seen across the entire Model 3 lineup this year, the Model 3 Performance boasts the title of the most powerful Model 3 to date. With an impressive 510 hp under the hood, it's purported to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds, with a claimed top speed of 163 mph.

Why It's Exciting

Boasting 510 hp and 547 lb-ft of torque courtesy of its dual electric motors, the revamped Tesla Model 3 Performance promises to bring joy to drivers' faces in no time. Tesla claims that these numbers translate to a 22 percent increase in continuous power, 32 percent more peak power, and a 16 percent boost in peak torque compared to the previous Model 3 Performance.

To handle those numbers, Tesla engineers installed new electronically adaptive dampers capable of stiffening up for solid cornering and stability, or relaxing for more comfortable daily driving. The old Model 3 Performance suffered the same stiff ride as other, less powerful Model 3s; the new Highland variant has iced most of that behavior, with the regular single motor rear-drive and dual-motor Long Range variants exhibiting far greater ride comfort and overall refinement when we tested them late last year. Those versions, however, achieve those gains through careful suspension tuning as well as new frequency selective dampers, passive shocks with valving that responds differently to higher- and lower-speed motions, making the Performance's adaptive units unique in the Model 3 family. Tesla adds that the Performance's chassis has improved stiffness and lowered its rolling resistance, making it more fun to drive and agile on twisty roads. Oh, and the new adaptive damping system is controlled via in-house software, meaning it can improve or change with over-the-air (OTA) updates in the future, potentially making the 3 Performance better to drive on the track and the street down the line.

Track Mode V3, an enhanced system that integrates motor and suspension controls, powertrain cooling, and the vehicle's dynamics controller should make it more predictable and consistent on the track, according to Tesla. Drivers will be able to calibrate certain settings to their liking for track driving, like the stability control, regen braking, and handling balance. This new system should make the Model 3 Performance more fun for everyone, and with different types of customizations, every driver can adapt to the car easier.

With Pirelli P Zero tires on every corner, the Model 3 Performance should have tons of grip despite its hard acceleration, and its new 20-inch aluminum wheels are said to be lightweight. Larger brake rotors, calipers and brake pads should deliver more stopping power and a more consistent feel at all speeds.

Enhanced Aerodynamics, Enhanced Range

Similar to the standard Model 3 Highland, the latest Model 3 Performance features updated front and rear fascias designed for enhanced aerodynamics. Furthermore, the carbon fiber spoiler positioned on the Model 3 Performance's trunk lid aids in decreasing drag. According to Tesla, these modifications lead to a 5 percent reduction in drag, a 36 percent decrease in lift, and a 55 percent improvement in front-to-rear lift balance compared to the previous Model 3 Performance model.

Along with the changes to its suspension and lightweight materials, the new Performance model delivers an EPA-estimated 296 miles on a single charge, which is 45 miles shy of the less powerful dual-motor Long Range model—not bad considering the substantial power increase.

Performance Seating and Carbon Fiber Accents

The Highland's new interior cabin brings premium features to the Model 3 Performance, boasting immersive ambient lighting, a dedicated rear-seat passenger screen, and enhanced interior noise reduction. Exclusive to the Performance model are heated and ventilated sport bucket seats, along with carbon fiber trim replacing traditional wood accents on the dashboard.

How Much for All of This?

The new Model 3 Performance starts at $54,630, inclusive of destination charges and a $250 order fee. Thanks to its eligibility for the Federal EV tax credit, the price can effectively drop to $47,130, making it an outstanding deal considering its features. Even in comparison to traditionally powered vehicles like the BMW M3, Mercedes-AMG C63 (now hybrid!), or Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, the Model 3 Performance is priced at least $20,000 lower and reputedly faster.

We're eager to acquire one soon, as Tesla has announced deliveries starting between May and June of this year.

The article is excerpted from Motortrend and Tesla.com.
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