Tesla Model 3 performance, top speed & motor

The Tesla Model 3 is anything but slow, even in entry-level form – although it doesn't really handle like a sports car in corners

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£41,000 - £49,000
Fuel Type:
Electric
Model0-60mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
Standard Range5.8s140mphRear242bhp
Long Range4.2s145mphFour346bhp
Performance3.1s162mphFour450bhp

Even the rear-drive Model 3 Standard Range Plus is anything but slow, with a 0-60mph time of 5.8 seconds. It feels enthusiastic and willing on UK roads and will give almost any hot hatch or junior sports car a run for its money, despite its 'entry-level' status in the Model 3 range. That rear-drive layout doesn't hurt its potential, either. It feels grippy and confident in 'enthusiastic' use, and even with some faster running, we managed around 230 miles of range from a charge in real-world driving.

While the Performance is intensely quick in a white-eyed, sweaty-palmed way that little else at the price can come close to, there's no doubt that the Long Range and even the entry-level Model 3 are more than fast enough to satisfy keen drivers. While the ride is firm, it’s not uncomfortable, and the Model 3 is as quiet as you’d expect a luxury electric car to be on the move.

Tesla Model 3 0-60mph, top speed and acceleration

You can either have fast, faster, or flat-out ridiculous in the performance stakes with the Model 3. Even the entry-level version is quick off the line, with a 0-60mph figure of 5.8 seconds. The other models get four-wheel drive courtesy of dual motors – one on each axle – and even the Long Range is fast enough to thrill, with a 4.2-second 0-60mph time and that trademark linear electric power delivery through a single-speed automatic gearbox making it easy to judge throttle response.

The Performance is the 'halo model' of the range; its 3.1-second 0-60mph time and 162mph top speed speak for themselves. This car is as much at home pottering around town as it is proving a point to a Ferrari 488. Although this is the most expensive Model 3, it’s arguably great value when you consider the speed on offer.

Handling

This is one area where the Model 3 doesn’t really live up to the standards set by more precise, adjustable performance cars like the BMW M3. The Tesla is fun thanks to the brutal, unflappable way the all-wheel-drive models power through corners, feeling stoic and grippy – if not poised like you'd expect of a more single-minded performance car.

But this isn’t a single-minded performance car, it’s an executive hatchback with sports-car performance, and in that respect it balances fun with unintimidating, accessible handling and potent acceleration perfectly. The car is predictably quiet, too. There's a bit of whine from those two electric motors – one on each axle to provide four-wheel drive – but other than that and a bit of wind and road noise, it's virtually silent.

When it comes to ride comfort, the Tesla is no magic carpet, but it’s smooth enough to make light work of scruffy town roads. However, the Model 3 Performance gets lowered suspension and bigger wheels, which can make the ride a bit harsh on rough UK roads.

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