So far, we’ve only driven the range-topping Model 3 Performance and the Long Range, which is currently unavailable to buy. The latter certainly isn’t slow, with a 0-60mph time of only 4.5sec and near-instantaneous acceleration from the moment you put your foot down. Those stepping from a BMW 3 Series or Audi A4 will be more than happy with how the Model 3 picks up speed.
However, even those used to a BMW M3 or Mercedes-AMG C63 will be in awe of the Model 3 Performance. The sprint from 0-60mph takes just 3.2sec – a Porsche 911 can’t even manage that – and, such is the ferocity with which all four wheels claw at the road to slingshot you forwards, if anything, it feels even faster.
Compared with other electric cars, even the pricier Jaguar I-Pace, the Model 3 also handles really quite well. True, it’s still a heavy car because of all those batteries it carries around, so doesn’t tuck its nose into tight bends or change direction as keenly as, say, a BMW 3 Series, but the Model 3 still handles well. There’s a bit of body lean, but grip levels are high and it never feels wayward despite having plenty of power.
The Performance gets lowered suspension and larger 20in alloy wheels with sticky Michelin sports tyres to help channel its greater power output. The minimal body roll is really well controlled, and the speeds at which you can tackle corners is startling, all while feeling incredibly stable and secure. Sure, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio may ultimately be more entertaining, but the Model 3 is still hugely accomplished dynamically.
As for ride comfort, the Performance version is firm – hardly surprisingly when you consider it has sports suspension and massive 20in wheels as standard. But it’s still no less forgiving than M Sport versions of the latest BMW 3 Series and only thuds noticeably over particularly craggy urban roads. At low speeds, the firm ride means a Jaguar I-Pace is slightly more comfortable, but at a motorway cruise the Model 3 is incredibly flat and stable, with only big road imperfections troubling it.
If comfort is your priority, the Standard Range Plus is probably the one to go for. The slightly softer suspension and smaller wheels which we’ve sampled in the Long Range should take some of the sting out of those imperfect city streets, although it will still be firmer than the Audi A4.
Being a pure electric car, the Model 3 is, unsurprisingly, whisper quiet at low speeds so it’s extremely relaxing to drive around town. However, on faster roads there’s quite a lot of road noise and you can also hear the wind whistling around the frameless doors. The same can be said of premium electric car rivals, though, such as the Jaguar I-Pace.
The brakes deserve a special mention for being far less grabby than those in the majority of electric cars. This makes it easy to slow down smoothly without your passengers thinking you’ve only just passed your driving test.