The story is different for the Tesla Model 3 Performance. It has acceleration times that would embarrass a Ferrari or Lamborghini, yet it undercuts the equivalent BMW M3 or Mercedes AMG on price, too.
This Tesla won’t just save you cash though, as the Model 3 drives well, is spacious and packed with technology. It might not steer with as much precision as the Jaguar I-Pace, but it isn’t far off and its swift acceleration makes it more fun than many of its petrol or diesel rivals, like the BMW 3-Series for example.
The first question any buyer swapping out of a conventional petrol or diesel car will ask is about the range and charging. There are different versions of the Model 3, but even the cheapest standard model (now simply called Model 3) has an official range of more than 300 miles. The bigger battery version, called the Long Range, adds another 70 miles to that total. Most owners will find that to be plenty and top up at home or work. If you do need to charge in the middle of a journey, there are now thousands of compatible fast and rapid chargers throughout the UK, including Tesla’s own superb super-fast Supercharger network.
Where the Model 3 really sets itself apart from rivals is with its tech. The minimalist interior might take some getting used to as almost all of the functions are controlled by a central ‘tablet’ screen, leaving the rest of the dashboard clear and uncluttered.
Unlike most conventional cars, the Tesla gets smarter the longer you own it; updates sent to the car over the internet add extra technology and upgrade features while you sleep.
Hidden deep in the menus are all sorts of interesting features, from the ability to make the car self drive on some roads to Tesla’s infamous ‘Easter eggs’. These are features you won’t find in the owner’s manual and include special light shows at Christmas, the chance to change the screen into a retro games console or even the, er, entertaining option to turn the seats into virtual whoopee cushions. These Tesla toys are also updated over the air so you never know what’s coming next, which can inject some fun into a miserable Monday morning.
Safety is also top-class. In the independent Euro NCAP safety tests and its equivalent in the US, the Model 3 has gained one of the highest scores ever, thanks to its excellent protection in impacts and the clever technology which will help you avoid a crash in the first place.
So what’s the catch? Well the Model 3 isn’t quite perfect. It’s only available with a separate boot rather than a hatchback, which will limit its appeal for some as it’s not so easy to carry bigger loads, or a dog, for example – but here the Tesla Model Y can help. The rear seats are oddly-shaped too, and sitting in them can be uncomfortable for taller passengers as the floor is unnaturally high. There have also been reports of build-quality issues on early cars and parts supply problems.