So, how do the 18-inch aero wheels and Michelin tires compare to the optional 19-inch wheels with Continentals?
Dan Edmunds takes the Tesla Model 3 to the track to find out. He says he wasn't happy with the stopping distance (133 feet) or the front grip of the base setup, and it could've been sharper in his opinion. So, they put on the 19s with Continentals to do some comparing.
Watch This: Tesla Model 3 Top Speed Run On Autobahn
Tesla Model 3 optional 19-inch wheels
The standard Michelins have a treadwear rating of 500, while the upgraded Continentals sit at 400.
First, he checks out 0-60-mph times. The 19s do it in 5.1-seconds, as opposed to the 5.3 Edmunds reported with the 18s. Next is stopping distance. The optional 19-inch wheels improve the spec by five feet (128 feet).
Dan moves to the skidpad and proves that lateral grip is significantly better with the 19s as well. He points out that, all-in-all, you can really feel the difference in how the car handles.
The upgrades will cost you $1,500. Is it worth it? Edmunds provides a wealth of additional information below:
Video Description via Edmunds on YouTube:
Edmunds takes you on a trip to the test track, where we investigate the only significant option available to those configuring a Tesla Model 3 sedan. Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds finds out if there's anything more than a visual difference between the standard 18-inch and the optional 19-inch wheels and tires.
Q: What is the difference between the Tesla Model 3's standard and optional tires? A: The standard 18-inch combination features Michelin tires and dark wheel covers, while the 19-inch option costs $1,500 extra and features Continental tires mounted on silver 10-spoke alloy wheels. Both tires use an all-season tire design and share a tread width of 235 mm.
Q: Does tire choice affect the Tesla Model 3's acceleration? A: A little. We initially recorded a 0-60 mph time of 5.3 seconds using the standard 18-inch wheels and Michelin tires that came on our Model 3. But a set of 19-inch Continental tires bolted to the same car provided a better launch and got the job done in 5.1 seconds.
Q: Does a choice of tires affect the Tesla Model 3's emergency stopping distance? A: Our car executed a panic stop from 60 mph in 133 feet with the standard 18-inch wheels and tires, and that dropped to 128 feet after we installed the optional 19-inch configuration. A small difference but a clear improvement.
Q: Does the Tesla Model 3 corner better on the optional tires? A: Absolutely, and this was the biggest difference we observed. Maximum cornering grip rose from 0.85g to 0.93g on the skidpad, which is significant. In real-world terms, it translated to a much more fun and engaging experience on our test circuit, where the acceleration and braking improvements figure in as well.
Q: Will the optional tires reduce the Tesla Model 3's range? A: Possibly, but we did not observe anything measurable. This aspect needs more study, but we can say this potential drawback does not exist in equal measure when compared to the benefits.
Q: Won't the Tesla Model 3's ride be worse on low-profile 19-inch tires? A: Actually, the opposite proved to be true in our test. The 19-inch tires run at a slightly lower pressure, which helps. But we think it goes further than that. We cannot confirm it, but the 19-inch combination feels like it was the setup used to calibrate the Model 3's suspension.
Q: Should I spend $1,500 on the optional Model 3 wheels and tires?
A: The performance benefits are clear, so on that basis it's clearly worth it. But it's not just about performance because better maneuverability and shorter stopping distance have implications for accident avoidance. And the ride is slightly less jittery, too. That said, if money is an issue and you want to take zero chances with reduced range, the Model 3 on the standard 18-inch tires is still a nicely balanced car that's enjoyable to drive.
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