Tesla launches new Model 3 Performance variant to rev up demand

Tesla launches new Model 3 Performance variant to rev up demand

When Tesla first released the Model 3 Performance in 2017, it “left a few things on the table” due to its Production Hell. That’s all about to change, the automaker announced today.

Today, following countless leaks over the past few months and on a day when it could use some good news, Tesla has officially unveiled the updated Tesla Model 3 Performance. It’s not only more powerful, but quicker from zero-to-60 MPH and more refined. This is the enthusiast variant of the Model 3 we’ve all been waiting for, and now it’s finally here.



This release signals Tesla is serious about giving the Model 3 a true enthusiast-focused trim that isn’t just about power—this time around, it features all-new motors and an aesthetic redesign that finally uplifts the Performance above other trims in the Model 3 lineup.

First, let’s start with the powertrain. Tesla says that this car has an astounding 510 horsepower, which bests the outgoing model’s 455 HP—that’s a 32% increase to peak power and 22% to continuous output. Tesla also says that the car gets a 16% peak torque bump, which means it should end up right around 565 lb-ft.

The power increase is thanks to two all-new high-performance drive units and has the ability to launch the car from zero-to-60 MPH in just 2.9 seconds as opposed to the old Model 3 Performance’s time of 3.1 seconds. The car gets a very small bump in top speed too, from 162 to 163 MPH.

Tesla has also stiffened the chassis with bespoke hardware (exactly what hardware is an unknown, we’ll likely have to wait for a teardown for that info) and added adaptive dampers to all four corners. Couple that with a new staggered tire setup and lightweight wheels for “increased traction out of corners” and the new Model 3 Performance should drive less like a regular ol’ Model 3 and more like a true sports sedan.



The vehicle will complement all of its hardware upgrades with software ones too. Tesla says that it has revamped track mode and traction control to better suit the performance-oriented nature of the car, plus added in better heat management overall. It also has specific programming for the car’s new dampers, which, in theory, should make the driving experience fairly dynamic depending on the mode that the car is in and its surrounding environment.

Now it’s time to talk visuals. Tesla actually did a great job separating the new Model 3 Performance from the standard Model 3 sedan this time around. The car gets a redesigned front and rear fascias, complete with a unique rear diffuser that signals its importance in the Model 3 lineup.

It also gets reworked on the inside. While the cabin is largely the same as the refreshed Model 3, Tesla has added a few more enthusiast tweaks, like carbon fiber trim, to the interior.

But the real star of the show is Tesla’s new performance seats. These bolstered masterpieces look to be able to hold owners firmly in place while pushing the car, plus, they include a feature that owners have been asking Tesla to include for years—they’re ventilated. And to signify the importance, Tesla places a fun Ludicrous badge smack-dab in the center of the seat (there’s also one on the trunk to serve as a status symbol).



The battery capacity remains an unknown, though it’s rumored to be the same pack in the Model 3 Performance that it is replacing—that would mean 82 kilowatt-hour of capacity and the ability to retain the EV tax credit.

Despite a 5% reduction in drag, Telsa says the car will have a range of just 296 miles compared to the outgoing model’s range of 315 miles. It’s not clear what is responsible for the 6% range loss.

Those interested in picking up a new Model 3 Performance can be relieved that it’s actually a pretty darn good price. The car will start fairly close to the outgoing model at $54,630 inclusive of the destination and order fees, which isn’t awful considering its place in the lineup. Couple that with the likelihood of qualifying for the EV tax credit and the car will cost owners around $47,130. At that price, it’s almost silly to purchase the long range variant given that it actually costs $2,250 more due to it not qualifying to the tax credit.

If you’re like me and bought a 2023 Model 3 Performance last year at $52,990, you might be wondering how much Tesla will give you for a trade-in. Don’t worry, I checked for you already, and with just 16,000 miles, Tesla is offering a hair over $32,000 towards a new Model 3 Performance.

Ordering starts now and deliveries are expected to begin between May and June.

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