The Model 3 is nothing if not modern. It wouldn’t look out of place in a futuristic racing video game set in neo-tokyo. The most obvious feature is actually more the absence of a feature. With no engine to keep cool there’s no need for a radiator grille on the front and of course no need for an exhaust at the rear.
When you’re reinventing something it’s a great opportunity to evaluate the importance of many of the facets that you might have taken for granted previously. When it came to designing the interior of the model 3, the designers threw out the standard style guide that comes with most cars. There isn’t a single dial to be found on the dashboard. Arguably, there isn’t really a dashboard at all. There aren’t even any fiddly wheels to angle any air vents. What there is, is a 15 inch touch screen in the middle of what would be a dashboard. Oh, and a steering wheel.
The large screen is the central control unit for all the tech in the car. Everything is controlled and displayed on the one screen, barring a couple of nubbins on the steering wheel that can be used to effect some of the features, it is the access point for everything from climate control, to fog-lights, to opening the glovebox.
All the space that in another car would be taken up by mechanical components is considered storage in a Tesla Model 3, most of the central console is actually storage. There are large door bins in the front and rear. And the glovebox is pretty spacious too (once you work out how to open it).
The build quality feels like a vast improvement over early Teslas, it may not be quite up there on the luxury quality levels of Audi but, for Tesla, it’s a step in the right direction.
Even the standard model 3 feels exceptionally fast. The instant power you get from electric motors leaves even the most powerful petrol engined cars in the dust.
It takes just 5.3 seconds to get up to 60mph in the most basic model, upgrade to the performance model 3 and you’ll be looking at 3.4 seconds. For what is, at the end of the day, a family saloon those figures are pretty darn impressive. You’ll have to travel a long way up the sportscar hierarchy to find acceleration matching that. Top speeds are 225 km/h for the basic car rising to 261 km/h in the performance model.
Euro NCAP scored the Model 3 its highest ever rating for the safety assistance tests. 94% for the car with its standard safety features. It scored well in other categories as well, bagging itself the full 5 stars overall.
The advertised range of the standard Model 3 is 409 km (254 miles) on a single charge, upgrade to the long-range version and you’ll be expecting 560 km (348 miles). With these ranges the larger battery Model 3 is real competition for this year’s best selling electric vehicle, the Hyundai Kona. The Kona has a range of around 449 km or 279 miles.
Pricing is starting from €48,900 for the Standard Plus Model 3, but most people will probably be opting for the increased range of the all wheel drive longer range version which is starting from €57,990