Mods make a difference
The Tesla Model 3, according to the many, many reviews out there, is a pretty great car to drive. But what happens if you throw some modifications at it? Can the experience be improved upon, or is the Model 3 aftermarket a waste of cash? To explore this question, Top Gear tried out a pair of the mid-size sedans as modified by Unplugged Performance, an outfit that provides "premium performance upgrades" for Tesla vehicles. We've seen some of their work with the car before.
More plugs for Unplugged Performance
The first modded Model 3 they try out is a rear-wheel-drive version (this, after they drove an unmolested example to help make any differences more apparent). Fitted with a coilover suspension, carbon ceramic brakes, and a set of lightweight forged wheels (among other smaller details) — EV customizers are not yet able to toy with things like power output — they find it "sharper and more focused," and go on to say:
"There’s clarity and communication in the steering, much quicker reactions into corners and a tangibly lower centre of gravity. It feels tauter and more honed, and right up there with a 3 Series for agility."
That's pretty high praise, though they do caution that the car's stability control system pulls the plug if the shenanigans get even slightly out of hand. They also note that the suspension, using parts from the Ohlins catalog, doesn't sacrifice ride quality with the lowered ride and offers some 24 levels of adjustment.
Sliding behind the wheel of the next kitted-out Model 3, this one an all-wheel-drive variant, expectations are somewhat different. While it might not have that feel drivers love when a vehicle is propelled solely from the back axle, it does have a bunch more power, lowering the zero-to-sixty time considerably.
Though they don't give an in-depth review of this car, they do mention that the extra weight of the second motor seems apparent to them and call out the carbon ceramic brakes as being very welcome here. Indeed, they mention it took some amount of effort for Unplugged Performance to get the car's sensors to play nice with the grippier brakes. Five months worth, to be exact.
Overall, they say the modifications help propel the car into the same handling zip code as the BMW M3, Mercedes C63, and Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio, at least until the wick is turned up. A good place to spend time, we imagine, though we think with its constant software upgrades, along with its green and quiet approach, it's already in a class of its own.
Source: Top Gear