Rental Car Review: 4 Days with a Tesla Model 3 Performance

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716
Location
98245
I could have written that review. It's exactly how I feel about them.

A poster above mentioned "poor agility". That's simply not so. These cars are heavy, yes. But they have the suspension goods and the weight distribution to be very agile indeed. If you like to drive like and idiot (I do) these cars are for you. That agility shows up in the autocross times, as Model 3's on sticky rubber are consistently in the fastest group.
I chose the word "agility" carefully. I did not say "roadholding" or "cornering". A heavy car like a Tesla can have the suspension and tires to stick to the road through the corners. But, as a famous engineer from the future said, "Ya canna change the laws of physics!". All that mass has inertia even if it sticks to the road well. If you're going through the slalom or switch-backs it is a lot of weight to slug back and forth and consequent slow response time. All else equal, a lighter car is more nimble because it has less inertia.
 
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5,551
Location
Los Gatos, CA
It seems you covered the duality here. If you love to drive, you may or may not love this car. It's an overweight lead sled. Very fast in a straight line, but all that weight means poor agility and the "ipad on wheels" means low driver engagement, a point and shoot affair.

Are you the kind of driver who loves stick shift, double-clutching, heel and toe rev matching, etc. with nimble handling and quick turn-in and a bit of throttle oversteer, the only music or stereo you want is the ICE roaring through free flowing exhaust, high engagement being "one with the car", the car does exactly what you tell it, instantaneously, without being second-guessed by a computer? Do you always get the manual transmission even if the automatic shifts faster and saves a few tenths 0-60, because you want the fun visceral experience? Then you will not love the Tesla.
It sounds as if you have never driven a Model 3. The handling is incredible. A true driver's car.
They go like stink. A Model 3 Performance will make life miserable for cars costing 3 times its price.
 
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716
Location
98245
+1 We had a Model 3 P show up for our autocross this year and once he got some good rubber on it, it be was usually FTD. Very impressive car.
In autocross, you're constantly accelerating & decelerating. The insta-torque of an electric engine motor is a HUGE advantage there, likely enough to overcome the disadvantage of being so heavy.
 
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10,317
Location
Jupiter, Florida
In autocross, you're constantly accelerating & decelerating. The insta-torque of an electric engine motor is a HUGE advantage there, likely enough to overcome the disadvantage of being so heavy.
The responsive electric drive may be part of the equation, yet we all know the Miata turns in fast autocross times not due to the engine, but due to the chassis and size. The other part of the equation is that the Model 3's 1.3G cornering forces are generated instantly. The polar graph of forces clearly show world class response time. Please don't get hung up on the mass. The cornering power is there, the steering effort is light, the mass is very centrally located and it's low.

We can argue mass all day, but one look at the F22 fighter jet and it's 20+ tons of weight dart around like it's a toy. There is enough force to move all that mass rapidly, much like the Tesla.

The Tesla does everything well except go fast for long periods of time.
 
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9,594
Location
Ontario, Canada
Would the tesla be a better autocross car if it was 1000lbs lighter with the same power to weight ratio? Yes, but it seems that the chassis(tires, shocks, brakes) can have their capacity increased to sling around a heavy car pretty much the same as a lighter car. The old days of the 60's Mini vs Mustang racing were only kind of even because the Mustang's chassis wasn't as capable for its weight as the Mini.
 
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716
Location
98245
You all make some good points.
My point is that 2 cars with the same lap times can have a completely different feel and experience when driving. To me, the ideal sports car has no electronics or computers, the instant nimbleness and agility that is unique to lightweight cars, with a visceral, mechanical experience when driving. A prepped Miata may have similar autox lap times to a Tesla, but a totally different experience for the driver.

@Cujet mentioned an aviation analogy. An F22 goes faster and pulls more Gs, but a vintage aerobatic taildragger like a Citabria has the visceral, immediate flying experience that I prefer. That's not a perfect analogy since their "lap times" would not be similar. But I think it expresses the idea.
 
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1,478
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USA
I have been writing to my local state reps and senators about taxing electric cars for their use of the roads. I pay a lot of taxes (through gas purchases) to use the roads. It seems to me that it is only fair that e-car users get an annual bill for road taxes of several hundred dollars to make them comparable to gas cars. Nobody should be able to use a taxpayer supported road system with out paying for the privelege.
Calif is starting to charge $100 extra on registration starting next year. Cars 2019 or before are exempt which I think had to have been a political decision because it makes no sense. The tax is to help participate in road costs not just let others pay for it. Age of car has nothing to do with road use. At least it’s something.
A plug in is the way I like. Essentially all the electric perks of instant acceleration etc but no need to think about charging if don’t want to. For me I dont need or want 2.9 0-60, for what?
 
I love Teslas and think the future is here BUT the fit and finish is not up to par and if you are in an accident nobody but Tesla makes parts so it may take a long time to get your vehicle repaired plus with a very limited dearler network you are going to wait if your car ever needs service. The limited range is an issue too. I drive to Mexico City a lot, so to me a Tesla wont work. I do want to buy a EV in the future, and keep a ICE vehicle. Just my opinion, I'm in awe what Tesla has done and commend Musk for his forward thinking and the cajones to take on the big auto makers and baisically woop em.
 
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1,301
Location
south dakota
I wish there were more used ones for sale. They seem to hold their value very well. I want one but am going to wait a little longer however they seem to be a very dependable vehicle which is something I like. If gas were a lot higher priced they would sell more. Gas is still very reasonable in South Dakota therefore I am in no huge hurry. I cannot imagine paying $0.00 for gasoline and buying an 80,000 or 90,000 mile set of tires and wiper blades as the only wear items. That would be totally AWESOME!
 
Messages
456
Location
VA
I wish there were more used ones for sale. They seem to hold their value very well. I want one but am going to wait a little longer however they seem to be a very dependable vehicle which is something I like. If gas were a lot higher priced they would sell more. Gas is still very reasonable in South Dakota therefore I am in no huge hurry. I cannot imagine paying $0.00 for gasoline and buying an 80,000 or 90,000 mile set of tires and wiper blades as the only wear items. That would be totally AWESOME!
that battery has a life span just like anything else
 
Messages
456
Location
VA
I have been writing to my local state reps and senators about taxing electric cars for their use of the roads. I pay a lot of taxes (through gas purchases) to use the roads. It seems to me that it is only fair that e-car users get an annual bill for road taxes of several hundred dollars to make them comparable to gas cars. Nobody should be able to use a taxpayer supported road system with out paying for the privelege.
The people who are in love with these rare earth element driven vehicles are the same idiots who are against nuclear power plants being built.
 
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