Say what you want about Tesla these days—and believe me, there is plenty you could say—I'm genuinely excited to see the new Model 3 Performance hit the road. The company's stock price may need big promises about AI and robotics, but the world needs more great electric vehicles, and the updated go-fast version of the Model 3 feels like the kind of stuff the automaker should be doing more of. 

And while the Cybertruck is still working through a morass of production problems, the Model 3 Performance should, on its own merits, be one of the hottest new EV debuts of 2024. 

Gallery: Tesla Model 3 Performance 2024

Of course, I say all that without having driven it yet. But I've always liked driving the Model 3, the "Highland" update was a badly needed one, and the Performance variant's crazy specs speak for themselves. 

Don't believe me? Check out this video from Germany's Autogefühl YouTube channel, which is among the first to really put the Model 3 Performance through its paces. Host Thomas Majchrzak wastes no time in giving the car some love right out of the gate, calling it a Porsche Taycan for half the price—if not more, based on some Taycan configurations—and perhaps "the most affordable supercar in this world." 

The Euro-spec Model 3 Performance that Thomas is testing offers more than 460 horsepower and a zero to 60 mph (100 km/h) time of around three seconds flat, and our U.S.-spec version should be even wilder with its 510 horsepower. Power is delivered by dual-motor all-wheel-drive, and the battery is an 82 kWh unit that offers up to 528 kilometers of range on Europe's WLTP testing cycle. For us, that will be a very respectable 303 miles of range, which is a lot for the speed you get.

And as Thomas makes clear here, you do get a lot of speed. The new Model 3 Performance seems to have the kind of unholy speed that you used to only get from mid-six-figure supercars. During his Autobahn test, the car jumps from 30 km/h to 130 km/h (around 18 to 80 mph) in less than five seconds. You had better aim it carefully, in other words. And it seems quite at home on Germany's high-speed highways, it easily cruises over 180 km/h (about 110 mph) and has room to go from there.

Model 3 Performance Autobahn Test

Model 3 Performance Autobahn Test

He's not a huge fan of the brakes, which he says don't quite feel up to the task here, nor is he in love with the Model 3's new gear selector button setup above the rearview mirror; honestly, no one seems to love that so far. Surprisingly, the car's "automatic" gear selection feature, which decides if you need to go into drive or reverse on its own, seems to be "pretty reliable," Thomas says. He's also a fan of the Highland Model 3's various interior upgrades, as well as the car's overall efficiency in all of that hard driving. For its comfort and better range, Thomas still recommends the "normal" Model 3 Long Range, but you can't dispute this thing's chops. 

Most people aren't buying EVs just for performance; in my experience, the vast majority of customers just care about range and charging times. But pound for pound, the Model 3 Performance is emerging as a real bright spot in the current Tesla lineup, and a worthy competitor to both the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N and much more expensive EV performance cars like the Taycan and Audi E-Tron GT. I have to wonder what the upcoming Ioniq 6 N may have to say about this thing. That is a showdown I very much look forward to.

Is the Model 3 Performance the Tesla to get in 2024, or is there another fast EV that has your attention instead?

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