Launched in 2017, the Tesla Model 3 quickly became a landmark in automotive history. Now is the time for renewal, and we are the first French media to get on board.
Like most manufacturers, Tesla was more interested in the high spheres of the automobile in its infancy to offer itself a brilliant image throughout the world. Statutory, the Tesla Model S and Model X were however not within the reach of all budgets. It was not until 2016 that the American brand unveiled what would become one of the biggest automotive successes in history: the Tesla Model 3.
The promise ? A concentrate of all of Tesla’s know-how in terms of electrification and on-board technologies, in a car with more compact dimensions, better thought out for the family and, above all, available for less than $30,000. If this last promise was not really observed from the launch of the baby Tesla, that did not slow down the very many customers: in six years of career, the sedan has already been sold to more than two million copies around the world. A success never seen before for a nascent brand, and offering only a handful of models in the catalog!
With real arguments, but above all benefiting from a solid brand image, the electric sedan is not running out of steam. Despite its ability to improve over time thanks to its remote updates, the hour of renewal has still struck for the Model 3. While the Web has ignited like never before on the arrival of a restyled model, known under the Highland code name, the new version is presented to us today, exclusively!
The Tesla Model 3 facing its restyled version
A pencil stroke in the service of efficiency
In accordance with the first leaks observed on the Internet, the restyled Tesla Model 3 adopts a new, more piercing look, somewhat inspired by that of the next Roadster. The sports car has also rubbed off on the sedan, which now adopts sharper features, and ignores its characteristic snout. At the rear, the evolution is noticeable too, with C-shaped LED lights. A stylistic sleight of hand which makes it possible to visually widen the car. A more statutory side also underlined by the new diffuser, quite similar to that of its big sister, the Tesla Model S. This new style thus makes it gain 3 cm in length (a total of 4.72 m), but the wheelbase of 2.88 m is identical.
These exterior changes are accompanied by new sets of 18 and 19-inch rims. As always, the first are hidden by large hubcaps. The second assembly is only adorned with a few covers between the sticks to perfect penetration into the air. Customers will also be able to choose from two new body colors Ultra Red and Stealth Grey.
The new pencil stroke, however, takes into account the aerodynamic considerations, placed at the center of the specifications of this Highland project. According to the designers of the brand present during this presentation, the sedan now displays a Cx of 0.219 (Cx of 0.23 previously), one of the lowest recorded by a Tesla to date. This therefore serves efficiency, all the more improved by the tires supplied as standard: there are the entry-level Michelin e.Primacy, and the all-new Hankook iON Evo on 19-inch rims.
Silence, it’s spinning
Tesla’s teams also focused on one of the sedan’s biggest flaws: its on-board noise level. Thanks to this restyling, the air flows are thus better guided around the cabin, which makes it possible to control noise pollution. Added to this are acoustic windows all around the habitable cell (only on the front doors with the previous version), as well as more soundproofing. Just listen to the muffled sound of the doors when they close to be convinced, which also contributes to the feeling of perceived quality.
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All these improvements make it possible to drastically reduce noise levels on board. If we will not fail to measure them on our usual bases, the American brand announces for the moment a 30% reduction in aerodynamic and ambient noise, and a 20% reduction in rolling noise. Promising.
This will therefore allow occupants to get along better on board once on the highway, but also to be able to enjoy a better communication experience on the telephone, for example. The sedan has a second microphone for this, but also new hardware installations that improve reception. Thanks to a revised TCU (Telematic Control Unit), all telecommunications are optimized: transmission between the car and the smartphone is more efficient, signal reception has been improved by 50% while the Wi-Fi range, necessary for updates to the electric sedan, has been doubled.
A Baby Model S inside
Contrary to early speculation, the interior ambience of the Tesla Model 3 is quite similar to what we know. At least in terms of architecture, where there is a large dashboard on which rests a central touch screen which includes all access. With a size of 15.4 inches, the panel has a larger display surface thanks to the thinner edges. The Model 3 therefore still does not have an instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, as is the case on the Model S and Model X. The accustomed driver will also notice the appearance of a new, uniquely round steering wheel (c to be specified with Tesla), which embeds physical and tactile controls with haptic feedback. As on the top-of-the-range models, driving is therefore done without the controls.
Looking further inside, however, there are clear improvements in quality. With a few aesthetic alterations (dashboard, door panels, etc.), the sedan is dressed in better quality materials. The enveloping dashboard is grafted with aluminum inserts and a ribbon of configurable ambient LEDs. It is also embellished with a premium fabric, while the upholstery is similar to that of a Model S. The assembly of the panels seemed to us to be much improved since the very first versions launched on the market. Also, the changes in terms of perceived quality are notable: larger seals, beefier trunk varnish, etc. Tesla takes customer feedback very seriously.
On the equipment side, we note the appearance of a double induction smartphone charger, USB-C ports with a maximum power of 65 W as well as an 8-inch rear screen. In addition to the heated functions (front and rear) the front seats are now ventilated. Finally, the sound system is entrusted to a system composed of 17 speakers, two subwoofers and two amps on the Grande Autonomie. There is a 9 HP device, a subwoofer and an amp on the entry-level version.
A little more autonomy
For the rest, the Tesla Model 3 is perfectly identical to the previous vintage. The technical platform and the traction chains are unchanged. On the other hand, the engineers have revised the ground connections towards a little more flexibility to improve comfort on board. Also, always with a view to preserving the interior noise level, the shocks would be better absorbed by the new shock absorbers. But spokespeople assured us that the typical sedan behavior would not be sacrificed thanks to new geometry tweaks. To be confirmed during our test.
Tesla Model 3 restyled: the technical sheets
|WLTP autonomy (19-inch rims)||Autonomy is. (18 inch rims)||Weight||Performances|
|Propulsion||513 km – 13.2 kWh/100 km||544 km||1 761 kg||201 km/h – 6,1 s|
|Great Autonomy||529 km – 14 kWh/100 km||678 km||1 824 kg||201 km/h – 4,4 s|
On the technical sheet side, no really notable differences therefore. Not even in terms of weight, which, despite the more soundproofing, remains at similar levels: according to the sheets, the Propulsion is credited with a mass of 1,761 kg (+9 kg), while the Grande Autonomie drops to 1824kg (-6kg). The performances are therefore unchanged for these two versions, which retain their respective batteries (same capacity and peak recharging power) and their mechanical configuration. However, the top speed was limited in both cases to 201 km/h. A habit that is observed more and more among manufacturers of electric cars.
The Tesla Model 3 Propulsion is homologated for 513 km of range with the optional 19-inch rims, and estimated at 554 km with the smaller rims. For its part, the Long Autonomy version climbs to 629 km, or even 678 km with its small rims. According to the WLTP standard, this represents respectively an extension of 22 and 27 km compared to the previous version, a gain of 4.5% in both cases.
Orders are open
Long-awaited, the restyled Tesla Model 3 very seriously corrects the faults of the previous version. More streamlined and significantly improved inside, the family sedan is more than ever a small Model S, accessible to as many people as possible. And this is also the case in terms of autonomy: with a range (unofficial, of course) of nearly 680 km, it crushes the competition. This should delight the many customers of the brand, furiously attached to the Model 3, who should also enjoy better comfort on board. However, we will have to wait for our first test of this new sedan to confirm it, but it seems that it is already in the box. Stay connected.
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In the meantime, the Tesla Model 3 has just joined the brand’s catalog. Despite all its improvements, the prices have not inflated and it retains a clear price advantage: the Propulsion is displayed from €42,990 while the Long Autonomy is available from €50,990, i.e. an extension of only €1,000 in both cases.