The Tesla Model 3, the most impressive Tesla yet, has arrived on our shores. And it was worth the wait.
If you want a Tesla Model 3, form an orderly queue. The electric-car maker’s entry-level model, competing at about the mark of a BMW 3-Series, has just won Car of the Year at the AutoExpress awards, hailed as “the best Tesla yet”. The hype and production problems combined have meant that demand has far outstripped supply. But now, at last, a right-hand-drive version has arrived on our shores.
The car’s “dynamics and ability will genuinely surprise you”, says Auto Express, offering impressive performance and great range alongside sophisticated technology, unique design and high levels of practicality.
The Model 3 comes in three versions: Standard Range Plus, Long Range and Performance. The basic model alone is “incredible”, says Stephen Jones in the Daily Mirror: it sprints from rest to 60mph in 5.3 seconds and has a top speed of 140mph. The Performance model’s figures are 3.4 seconds and 162mph – supercar territory. The Long Range, as the name suggests, will do 348 miles on a single charge compared with the Standard’s 258, according to Tesla.
And the battery recharges quicker than “we could finish our Burger King at the services”. You download an app to connect your phone to the car and it will notify you when it is done charging. And like all Teslas, the Model 3 is also spacious and light – not to mention “pretty much the safest car you can buy on the market”.
The car’s interior is “like nothing else”, says Tim Pitt in Motoring Research: sleek, minimal and elegant. The dials you usually find behind the wheel are replaced by a 15-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard, which looks “fabulously futuristic”. The touchscreen controls everything and allows you to input drivers’ profiles, which store everything from seat position to climate control preferences to mirror adjustments. Once you key your destination into the satnav, the computer shows you charging points along the route as well as what the battery level will be by then.
It is the most anticipated new car for decades, but it was worth the wait, says Evo. And the performance is incredible: “There is literally nothing out there to match it.” For similar muscle you’d have to buy an Audi RS5 Sportback or Mercedes-AMG C63 S, but they’ll set you back a more substantial £70,000-£80,000. They’ll also be “slower, less practical and far more expensive to run”.
Price: £55,500. Range: 348 miles. Recharging time: 30 minutes at Supercharger locations. Top speed: 162mph. 0-60mph: 3.2 seconds. Engine: fully electric, all-wheel-drive, dual motor.