TESLA CHALLENGES BMW M3 ON PERFORMANCE, HANDLING AND PRICE
Laying down a challenge which will undoubtedly enrage BMW owning petrol-heads, Elon Musk recently tweeted that the new Tesla Performance 3, which costs about the same as a BMW M3, is both 15% faster and has better handling.
A bold claim but probably true, as apart from unusably high top speeds, the new Tesla looks to outperform the Mercedes AMG C 63 S, Audi RS5 and BMW M3 Coupe, and is substantially cheaper.
For years the traditional German companies BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi have been the favourite cars of the cash-equipped Americans, but one person, Elon Musk, is challenging that trend.
It's exciting times for his Tesla company, as Model 3 production closes in on the planned 5000 units a week. The latest market figures from California show that the new Model 3 is outselling the Audi A4, BMW 3 series and Mercedes C Class. At the same time, the larger Model S outsold every other luxury saloon combined. The new AWD and Performance versions will increase the pressure even further, so it's no wonder the old-school German companies are panicking.
Tesla’s new 3 Performance Edition, unveiled last month, is set to be an incredible vehicle. It comes with AWD, dual motors, 20-inch wheels, a black and white interior and carbon fibre spoiler.
The production version could even end up a little faster with Musk commenting recently:
... not promising anything, but we *might* be able to increase Model 3 Performance power output a little.
The Model 3 Performance with all options except Autopilot will set owners back US$78,000 and boasts a class-leading 3.5-second 0-96km/h time and a 250 km/h top speed.
By comparison, a fully-loaded Mercedes AMG C63 S costs just over US$106,000 with a top speed of 290 km/h and 0-96 km/h in 3.8 secs. A fully-loaded BMW M3 is US$91,759 and is slower at 260 km/h with 0-96 mph in 4.0 seconds, and finally, an Audi RS5 is around US$93,325 hits 280 km/h and 0-96 km/h in 3.9 seconds. So apart from unusably high top speeds, the Tesla out accelerates these iconic cars and is substantially cheaper.
The new AWD Tesla 3s have a very useful claimed 500 km range and can, of course, use the Australian Tesla Supercharger and Destination network with over 500 charge locations now and many more said to come.
Both new Model 3s employ an AC induction front motor (like the Model S and Model X), and a switched reluctance, partial permanent magnet rear motor with silicon carbide inverters. One is optimised for performance, the other for range. Musk claims that the system switches between motors constantly and does so smoothly enough that the driver won't even know.
Tesla regularly updates vehicle features with over-the-air updates and last year, Tesla rolled out a performance update for the Model S P100D that enabled the full-sized luxury saloon to hit the 96 kph mark in 2.4 seconds, the fastest accelerating big saloon bar none. Tweets from Elon suggest that this may happen with the P3 as well
Coming soon to all Model 3s with AutoPilot is "Summon" which enables the car to open a garage, enter, close the door, park and switch off. It can also do the reverse when you need to leave again. All current Tesla vehicles use the same setup of cameras, sensors, ultrasonic radar and GPS to enable these features.
BYE BYE DEALERS
In good news for those who hate traditional dealerships; Tesla will soon enable owners to request service from their phone with a few taps.
This will, as usual, be in the USA only to start with, but will eventually roll out globally.
Rob Follis has been writing about tech on and off for over 40 years, is a designer, photographer, information omnivore, gadget-head, Hi-Fi afficionado, owner of far far too many things and sadly an unsuccessful app developer. A born & bred Londoner now happily living in Melbourne. Email Rob.
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