Nearly three years after its initial presentation on March 31, 2016, the Tesla Model 3, which has caused so much ink to flow and has raised so many doubts and controversies, is finally preparing to land in force on the Old Continent. Already available in the USA since the end of 2017, then in Canada since the summer of 2018, the car must propel Tesla into the mass market represented by the C segment, namely that of compact sedans like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series or Mercedes. Class C. We have carried out a Tesla Model 3 Performance review.

Some copies have already arrived discreetly and drop by drop in European territory, and Tesla France offered me the opportunity to try one by making it available to me freely and without constraints for a short morning . The test of the Tesla Model 3 took place in the form of an improvised loop in the west of Paris from the headquarters of Tesla France in Chambourcy in the Yvelines.

To note : I made two Live Facebook videos for this Tesla Model 3 trial, which you will find in this article. On the other hand, I could not find an interesting spot for taking photos since the region, made up of expressways, motorways and activity areas does not really lend itself to it. It is all the more true that it was taken by icy snow and that any excursion on an isolated road to take photos was practically impossible without risking to soil or damage the car. So I just took a few photos at Tesla before I took possession of the car, which you will find in the gallery of this article. I will have this car again for another Tesla Model 3 test in better conditions in two weeks time during which we will shoot a video and take a real photo session.

The model available for this test is the Tesla Model 3 Performance "full specs", namely the most powerful and best equipped version, with in particular its superb 20-inch stick rims, its large red brake calipers, its rear spoiler in carbon and its lowered body mounted on more rigid shock absorbers. Note also, its superb red livery, an option billed anyway 2600 euros.

Small disappointment: on these test models of the Tesla Model 3, the autopilot has been deactivated and is not available. However, given the nature of our test, the configuration of the places, the density of traffic and the weather between snow and ice, it was perhaps not worse, especially as we know the Tesla autopilot well for having already tested it several times on other models of the brand.

The idea here, beyond electricity and technology, was to really take full control of the car to judge its driving qualities and comfort. I was not disappointed, and what I discovered was worthy of the concert of praise that I have been reading and seeing for several months on forums, groups and YouTube channels of American and Canadian customers and users. Here are my first impressions after two hours behind the wheel, on the departmental, national and highway.

Tesla Model 3 exterior design

I will not hide from you that by dint of monitoring it, the Tesla Model 3 no longer had many secrets for me. I had already discovered it for real at the last Paris Motor Show, where two copies were exhibited on the Tesla stand, then at the Tesla Store in Lyon where it was visible for a few days last December. Anyway, I think we already knew her and me very well. In her magnificent red dress in performance version she always throws as much.

It cannot be said enough how the rims can literally transform the look of a car. This is the case here with these 20-inch wheels with large, brushed aluminum-colored carved spokes, which really pose the car. The line is pure and fluid (aerodynamics obliges) and nothing exceeds. Whatever the angle from which it is observed, the charm operates, with this mixture of class "premium" in European and sportiness. This is particularly the case with its short, flat front cover (the front engine is on the front axle and takes up very little space), leaving plenty of room for the wheel arches to accommodate the huge rims fitted with large, very large tires. low. Almost a small scent of Porsche on this collected and unadorned front face. The absence of a grille reinforces the unique side of the car, even if everyone is not a fan and might have preferred a thin and dummy air intake like that of the Model S. I got there easily accustomed during this test and test Tesla Model 3.

Tesla Model 3

Another characteristic is the “integral” glass roof which runs from the top of the windshield to the birth of the rear window, which has the effect of dressing the car with a huge glass surface covering almost all of it. ci, from the front wipers to the rear spoiler.

This aesthetic choice however induces two constraints: there is no sunroof or tailgate, this second point may perhaps prove to be prohibitive for some users because even if the rear trunk is huge, it will not be possible to '' store large objects in height. In the chapter of storage space, remember that like its two big sisters, the Tesla Model 3 also offers a front trunk in which it is possible to easily accommodate a suitcase with cabin baggage and some other odds and ends.

In short, as in all Tesla, there is no shortage of space.

Get started with Tesla Model 3 live

Posted by Presse-citron on Thursday January 31, 2019

Interior design

The Tesla Model 3 that we had in test is available in two interior colors: white and black. The model tested was black, which suited me perfectly since I am not a fan of white. The interior is dressed in "leather" which is not really because since for ethical reasons, Tesla no longer uses animal leather in its cars. Rest assured it is not leatherette or kitsch imitation leather but real vegetable-based leather. If you don't know, I doubt you can tell the difference because the feel and appearance are the same as that of real cowhide.

We know, Tesla has bet on sobriety and minimalism throughout its range, but it is even more visible in the Model 3. Here there is absolutely nothing superfluous, nothing beyond, since the only “physical” commands that are made outside the screen are those of the indicators and wipers via the left-hand commodo and cruise control via the right-hand one. Add to that the two contextual knobs controlling different functions depending on what you assign to them (mirrors, steering wheel adjustment, etc.) located on the branches to the left and right of the steering wheel, and you've gone around the buttons.

Everything else takes place on the large central screen installed in landscape mode in the center of the dashboard, from air conditioning controls to autopilot settings including music, navigation and even the opening of the glove box. Now let's move on to our Tesla Model 3 exterior aesthetic test.

In terms of interior design, we are therefore stripped down which almost borders on asceticism. A center console covered in smooth black piano texture like a surfboard and no instrument cluster in front of the driver. Again, not everyone will be a fan. I admit that during the first presentations of the Model 3 I was a little doubtful, even in fashion What the fuck, a car without a dashboard, not for me. Then I got used to it and I admit that with use, after a short period of adaptation, it is rather practical at the same time as quite playful.

The finishes and assemblies are of good level on the Tesla Model 3 without claiming to reach the quality of certain German premiums of the same segment, but given the counting of the whole we are almost on another philosophy, and the quality is still the appointment. Of course, when you close a door you don't have the unique sound that has been studied for a long time by acousticians such as an Audi, but it just works.

Tesla Model 3

Driving

Let's go for a roller coaster ride in the snowy and icy plains of the great west of Paris in late January as part of these Tesla Model 3 tests. The procedure is always the same: no starter, no key, it all you need to do is pair your car with your smartphone via Bluetooth after downloading the Tesla app and the two recognize each other.

When you approach the car with your smartphone in the pocket, no need to take it out, it will unlock automatically. Ditto when you get out and go away: once about three meters from the car, it locks by emitting a little horn to warn you by saying goodbye. The device is completed by a credit card format card, black matt and stamped with the Tesla logo, which will take over from your smartphone if it has no battery left or if by mishap you no longer have it with you .

This double security will also allow you to lend the Tesla Model 3 or someone you trust to use it even if it does not have a key card on hand, just with your smartphone sounds, provided, however, that you have provided your owner IDs for the application. This is a little extra that we did not directly test during our test of the Tesla Model 3.

The driving position is very good, we are well wedged in the soft seats which are electrically adjustable in travel, height and lumbar support. The steering wheel is also electrically adjustable in height and depth.

Once properly installed, all you have to do is activate the forward gear by pushing the gear lever up while pressing the brake pedal, and … nothing happens. It’s always a bit confusing at first but it’s when you just let go of the Tesla Model 3’s brake and flick the accelerator to start moving. Slowly on the accelerator, the car is relatively light (1847 kg) and extremely lively, and just waiting to jump, in total silence at low speed. It’s amazing, our Tesla Model 3 test took a new turn.

The power steering and set fairly firm, even in comfort mode, and also quite direct, even if the turning radius of the Tesla Model 3 does not seem exceptional. The car reacts to the slightest request and we roll on a thread of gas, sorry watts, reaching very quickly a level of performance of which we are only aware when we see very quickly disappear the other cars in its mirror. This is where we realize that we are really in another world, that of the overpower and the hyper reactivity of electric energy.

Even without wanting to enter the Tesla Model 3's sporty driving mode for this test, the simple fact of moving from point A to point B with this type of car is a unique experience: no noise, no friction , no energy loss, everything is there when you want it, as if the propulsion is an extension of your brain and your right foot. In fact it’s as responsive as it’s your own body, with a few more horses. So even if you have a very light foot, you drop almost everything that moves. Without showing off and without even realizing it.

And if you really decide to get on your nerves a bit, then the guys from Fast and Furious will quickly forfeit since this "small" Tesla Model 3 goes from 0 to 100 km / h in less than 3.5 seconds, a performance that places it in front of most production cars, with the possible exception of one or two Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini or… Tesla Model S or X.

To situate you the thing, know for example that the BMW M850i ​​xDrive Coupé M Performance which I tested recently hardly done as well with one of the most efficient thermal engines of the market, namely a large V8 stuffed with two turbos developing 530 horsepower. The Tesla Model 3 Performance in test develops the trifle of 450 horses, and they are all there. Not bad for a compact family sedan whose base price barely exceeds 60,000 euros (against more than 150,000 for the BMW)…

Handling side, even if I did not push the Tesla Model 3 within its limits (which in any case seem quite distant and difficult to reach), we can safely say that it is a flawless. The car is a kart literally welded to the road which turns flat and seems impossible to fault. Several reasons for this: on the one hand the architecture of the car, common to all Tesla, with a chassis specifically designed from the outset to receive the batteries in its floor, which guarantees an ideal weight distribution and a center very low gravity, especially on this lowered Performance version.

On the other hand, the wide pneumatic tire, and finally the electronic management of the distribution of torque and power, ultra-efficient. Add to that a fairly short wheelbase and you have an incredibly agile, precise and sound car. I have read several times on North American forums that it is typed "propulsion" in conditions of less grip. This means that the distribution of power between the front and rear axle is deliberately in favor of the rear, which recovers more power, which probably contributes to the "player" side of the car and to a certain propensity to love the drifts. To be checked during another test of the Tesla Model 3, perhaps on the circuit this time, a fortiori when we know that this Model 3 Performance has the bonus of a "Track" mode (track) which gives a real sporty behavior by sending a maximum of watts on the rear wheels. Fun in perspective.

Tesla Model 3

We cannot conclude the driving chapter without recalling the amazing management of kinetic energy recovery (more simply called engine brake) which is inherent in electric propulsion. A characteristic that we had discovered and tamed during our previous tests of the Model S and X, and which is also present in the Model 3 that we had in test.

After a short adjustment period, the Tesla engine brake is so powerful that you hardly ever brake when driving these cars, except in emergencies. An advantage in economic terms, because you do not use the brakes, and in ecological terms also, since you do not emit fine particles from friction in the braking system. Good point for this Model 3 during our tests.

Live behind the wheel of the Tesla Model 3

Posted by Eric Dupin on Thursday January 31, 2019

Comfort and life aboard the Model 3

What is amazing with this Tesla Model 3 is the contrast between the apparent minimalism of the cabin and the plethora of equipment and features available. To convince yourself, just take the time to take a tour of the menus available on the screen through the excellent (and now very fluid) user interface.

Do you want heated seats? It's possible. And not only the front seats but the five seats, individually adjustable on three heating levels. Do you want voice commands to start navigation (via Google Earth) or Spotify? Also available. Do you want to adjust the steering assistance or the energy recovery engine brake force?

No problem, a tap on the screen of the Tesla Model 3 is done. Also note that the latest version of the Model 3 computer system equips the car with a "dashcam" (on-board camera) using one of the car's eight cameras to film the road permanently on demand, keeping in mind a USB key a recording of the last minutes of travel. Possibly useful in the event of a dispute with another road user.

Other features available or coming in the coming days, which we could not see during this test of the Tesla Model 3: the "Summon" mode which allows you to remotely control the car, for example to park or 'call, and the "Sentinel" mode which allows the parked car to monitor its environment and warn its owner in the event of suspicious movements nearby.

In fact, in the Tesla Model 3 all the equipment that is often optional in other brands is standard, and it would take too long to list them. All this contributes to the comfort of a car that only asks to swallow the kilometers in peace. For these Model 3 tests, we were won over.

On the comfort side, a note, however, which concerns the sound environment. During this taxi, I was struck by the fact that rolling noises are quite present in the cabin. This is due to the twenty-inch rims fitted with low-profile tires, but also to a sound insulation slightly below what we are used to in cars of the same category and the same price range (thermal, therefore).

As much as we hear almost no engine sound, as from 70 km / h the rolling noise begins to be fairly present in the passenger compartment (depending on the surface too). I am used to the very high insulation of Audi for example, I was surprised. It would have to be tested with a specialized device, but I would not be surprised that at 90 km / h the level of decibels produced in the passenger compartment of a Model 3 Performance is higher than that of an Audi A4 TDI. However, it should also be tested with a Tesla Model 3 "Standard" fitted with 19 inch rims with less firm and narrower tires in order to see if there is a difference.

IT and connectivity

It is known that all Tesla are natively connected to the 4G network, which allows them to offer various online services, and also to receive regular "over the air" updates like your smartphone. The Tesla mobile app offers a number of complementary services. In addition to transforming your smartphone into a ignition key as we saw above, the app also allows you to manage the air conditioning of the Tesla Model 3 remotely.

Are you at a restaurant and it's cold outside? Never mind, you can preheat the interior of your Tesla without getting up from the table using the app. Another positive point in our Tesla Model 3 test. Better, not only can you choose the duration and the temperature of heating, but you can also activate the seat heating, by choosing which of the five seats you want to heat.

Do not panic, this will consume very little battery, at most two or three percent for a good quarter of an hour. And it will be hot when you get on board. This will allow you to take advantage of the many Easter eggs hidden in the screen management interface, such as the Romance Mode (animation of a chimney fire in full screen) or even the farting cushions … This may seem like a little gimmick on these Tesla Model 3, but that also contributes to its charm.

Conclusion of our Tesla Model 3 test

With the Model 3, Tesla is playing very big on entering the mass production arena, and is very likely to shake up a whole section of the automotive industry, whose figures show the extent of the current blast. Beautiful, efficient, well finished and over-equipped, the Model 3 is a success in most aspects, and it is a safe bet that it will turn heads in Europe in the coming months. Our Tesla Model 3 test and trials convinced us.

It remains for the Californian manufacturer to keep all its promises, and in particular to produce and offer without delay the version which was at the center of its promise, namely a Tesla Model 3 at 35,000 dollars to demonstrate that it is capable of crossing the crucial milestone separating the “confidential” luxury segment from the mass market.

I love

  • The look, the line
  • Outstanding performance
  • Road qualities and chassis balance
  • Equipment and high tech on board
  • Interior and storage space

I love less

  • A still perfectible finish
  • No tailgate
  • No trunk with electric opening
  • Perfecting filtering of road noise

Model tested:

Model 3 all-wheel drive Dual Motor Performance
Range 530 km
450 horsepower
250 km / h
0 to 100 km / h in 3.5 seconds
Multilayer red color
Performance Pack
20 ″ Performance rims
Performance brakes
Carbon fiber rear diffuser
Performance crankset
Interior entirely in black Premium
Price: 64,300 euros + 2,600 euros for the multilayer red paint option

Here is our test of the Tesla Model 3 in video:

And you, have you tested the Tesla Model 3? Did she convince you?