Tesla Model 3 Performance in limbo – for now

Tesla Model 3 Performance in limbo – for now

Tesla Model 3 Elon Musk

The high-performance version of Tesla’s cheapest electric car is conspicuously missing from the updated Model 3 range shown last week. But could it be preparing to return with a bang?

The future of the Tesla Model 3 Performance is unclear after it was conspicuously absent from the updated Model 3 line-up unveiled last week – and buyers in the queue for an old model have had their orders cancelled.

However unverified reports out of China – which have not been confirmed by Tesla – claim the flagship Model 3 could return within the coming months featuring more comprehensive upgrades than those applied to the rest of the range.

The Performance has been the fastest variant in the Tesla Model 3 line-up in Australia since launch four years ago, with a claimed 0-100km/h acceleration time of 3.3 seconds – making it the quickest-accelerating new car on sale for less than $100,000.

Customers in Australia who ordered the outgoing Model 3 Performance – prior to the unveiling of the updated 2024 model – say on social media they have been advised their orders have been cancelled, and encouraged to switch their deposit to a different Model 3 or Model Y variant.

The Performance is not listed on Tesla’s website as part of the updated Model 3 line-up, and prospective customers overseas have been told it is “unfortunately … not currently available”.

The top-of-the-range variant – which previously cost $13,000 more than the Long Range all-wheel-drive model on which it was based – has historically only accounted for a few per cent of Tesla Model 3 sales, and is the least popular model.

However, as with performance models from most car makers, it is believed to attract a higher profit margin than other variants due to the extent of its upgrades: a more powerful rear electric motor, larger wheels, stickier tyres, lower suspension, performance brakes, and mild visual tweaks.

Tesla is yet to comment on plans to return the Model 3 Performance to the line-up.

It would be a surprising change from the rest of the updated Tesla Model 3 range, which is said to be unchanged in its electric motors and batteries – but with a slipperier body unlocking a longer driving range.

The outgoing dual-motor, all-wheel-drive Tesla Model 3 Performance quoted a 393kW power output (according to Australian government documents), 3.3-second 0-100km/h acceleration time, 267km/h top speed, and 547km of claimed WLTP driving range.

For comparison, the outgoing Model 3 Long Range claimed 366kW, 4.4 seconds, 233km/h, and 602km in each respective metric.

Regular versions of the updated 2024 Tesla Model 3 are now equipped with a 201km/h top speed limiter – 24km/h to 32km/h lower than equivalent 2023 models – due to new tyres fitted with extra internal cushioning designed to improve comfort over bumps, but which are not rated to travel as quickly.

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