Tesla has made the revised Model 3 Performance a much better car than before, and you can now tell it’s the Performance just by looking at it. It has different front and rear bumpers, a carbon fiber spoiler in the rear, and upgraded wheels that balance being aerodynamic and looking sporty.

Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla’s chief of design, will tell you that all the visual changes you see on the Model 3 Performance over the regular model serve a functional purpose. The front bumper, for instance, is lower and deeper to help give the car a more planted stance, but it also has aero slats on the side that send air into the front wheel wells. In conjunction with the new Performance wheels, this has a significant effect on the car’s aero credentials.

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The old Tesla Model 3 Performance didn't look special

Even though the previous Model 3 Performance was far quicker than the regular dual-motor, the only way you could tell them apart was by their wheels.

Even the small trunk lid spoiler has had much thought put into it. Looking at it closely, you will see the central part is higher than the sides of the spoiler. Von Holzhausen says this was not done purely for aesthetics, and the taller part is there to create more downforce in the center of the vehicle. The sides are lower to minimize the drag created by the spoiler as much as possible, and the fact that this difference in height looks cool is a fortunate byproduct.

The 20-inch forged Performance wheels are also stiffer than the regular 19s that equip the Model 3 and better in this respect than the old 20-inch Überturbines that came on the previous Model 3 Performance. Tesla Vice President of Vehicle Engineering Lars Morvay notes that these stiffer wheels also make the steering feel sharper and more connected.

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The significant change inside the Model 3 Performance is the addition of more body-hugging sports seats. Given how quick the car is around a twisty road, you need the extra support. Driving the Model 3 Dual Motor recently, I found it produced so much grip that I was holding on to the steering wheel to keep myself in the seat, wishing for more side support.

Tesla also equips the new Model 3 Performance with upgraded brakes and adaptive dampers for the first time in the nameplate’s history. The old Performance model was very good, but it’s been taken to the next level both visually and in terms of its ability to string corners together on a challenging—we can’t wait to get our hands on one to experience all of these changes and see how much better they make the car.

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