The Tesla Model 3 is the first affordable, mass-produced model in the American manufacturer’s all-electric range, offering customers something very different from conventional rivals such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia.
The Model 3 has no direct electric rivals for now; it’s more expensive than EVs like the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Kona Electric but smaller and cheaper than the Jaguar I-Pace. It’s closer to the Jaguar in nature, however, thanks to its minimalist but luxurious high-tech interior, massive desirability and incredible performance.
The newest Tesla is a clear evolution from the design of the Model S but with extra emphasis on the amount of interior space that can be gained owing to the absence of a conventional combustion engine. This has resulted in a bonnet that is much shorter and a rear window that stretches almost to the tail, maximising room for passengers and their luggage. There are myriad clever features, from the key that’s actually your smartphone to a single-slot air-vent that can somehow adjust airflow and direction as if by magic.
Three versions are available initially, starting with the rear-wheel drive Standard Range Plus that’s capable of 258 miles from a full charge and 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds. Long Range AWD and Performance versions gain an extra motor and four-wheel drive, giving the Performance almost supernatural acceleration – 0-60mph takes 3.2 seconds. These more expensive versions have 348 and 329 miles of range respectively.
The Model 3 Long Range AWD feels addictively fast and relaxing, thanks to near-silence from its electric motors. The car’s handling belies its weight, with excellent grip and good resistance to body roll, and the suspension is comfortable enough to allay our fears the Model 3 would feel too stiff on British roads.
Read more: Car Buyer