After six years and two million units sold worldwide in blockbuster sales, Tesla has given the Model 3 a fresh lease on life with cosmetic updates, increased range, and feature upgrades. The upcoming Model 3 may rank among the most eagerly anticipated electric automobiles of the year after a fervent public debate sparked by multiple spy photos and rumours.
The updated Model 3 is more chiselled, sports a modified front and back end, and receives a new interior. It was reportedly internally known as Project Highland. According to Tesla, the company has enhanced its aerodynamics to extract greater range while lowering drag and wind noise. Only the European rear-wheel-drive and long-range (LR) variants have received modifications thus far.
The front end is edgier than before with cleaner character lines, a redesigned headlamp housing, and new signature LED daytime running lights. The crease at the edge of the hood that previously tapered off under the headlamps is now much sharper and extends to the fenders.
The rear end has prominent wraparound C-shaped taillights with Tesla now written out between the lights in place of the emblem, while the profile is still the same. The design of the multi-spoke wheels is also innovative. Ultra Red and Stealth Grey are the two new hues the company is introducing.
The Model 3 is now one inch longer, measuring 185.8 inches (4,720 millimetres), and one-tenth of an inch shorter in height, at 56.7 inches (1,441 mm). Otherwise, the measurements are substantially same. The spec sheet states that the ground clearance has barely decreased from 5.5 inches (140 mm) to 5.4 inches (138 mm).
The estimated WLTP range for the updated RWD Model 3 with 18-inch wheels is 344 miles (554 kilometers), while the LR variant is good for 421 miles (678 km). That’s roughly an 11 to 12 percent increase from the current models’ WLTP range of 305 and 374 miles, respectively. Note that the EPA figures will vary significantly for the US-spec electric sedan.
With the optional 19-inch “Nova” wheels, the RWD Model 3 will go 319 miles (513 km) on a single charge on the WLTP cycle, while the LR version is rated for 391 miles (629 km). Performance figures appear to have remained the same, with a 0-62 mile-per-hour time of 6.1 seconds for the RWD model, and 4.4 seconds for the LR all-wheel-drive variant.
The new RWD version (19-inch rims) consumes 13.2 kilowatt hours for every 62 miles (100 km) on the European test cycle, while the LR uses 14.0 kWh for the same distance.
The Model 3 interior now appears more lounge-like. It features a wraparound design, with an “enveloping architecture” featuring aluminum and fabric materials. The new ambient lighting covers the entire cabin. The brand claimed that the cabin is quieter thanks to acoustic glass and improved soundproofing materials.
There’s more digital real estate inside. The 15.4-inch central screen is the same size but features slimmer bezels for a more usable screen area. There’s also a new 8.0-inch rear display with integrated climate, ventilation, and infotainment controls. Tesla has replaced the column-mounted levers with steering-mounted controls, like the Model S and Model X.
LR model customers will now enjoy music from 17 speakers, three more than before, with two subwoofers and two amplifiers. The RWD will get nine speakers, one subwoofer, and one amplifier. Tesla is also claiming a more powerful microphone to improve call quality.