Motor Trend Pits Tesla Model 3 Performance Against I-Pace, Alfa

Tesla Model 3 Performance


Track Mode engaged!

It’s an admittedly odd Devils Triangle, the Tesla Model 3 Performance gets matched up with the Jaguar I-Pace and the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, which Motor Trend introduces as the “best classical internal combustion sport sedan in the world right now.” The Big battery-powered Cat is, of course, a crossover that has some performance credentials but seems a little out of place among the two lither sedans. The mid-sized cars make more sense but are obvious opposites in terms of drivetrains. Which of these three wins in a comparo? Well, that all depends on what you value, among other things.

MT brought the unlikely trio to the technical asphalt of the Streets of Willow Springs course: a 1.6-mile track at the Willow Springs racing complex that comes complete with a skid pad. Here, they let them all loose with racecar driver Randy Pobst and let the chips fall where they may to declare a winner. Like life, not everything is that cut and dry, though.

We first take a look at some standard performance numbers. Of course, the Jaguar isn’t shaped to beat out its new friends here, so the emphasis falls to the Tesla and Alfa. The Italian claims 55 more horses than its American competitor and edges it out on the skidpad .98 to .95 g’s. The Model 3 can somehow brake (just a little) better, though no numbers are given. In the figure eight they are equals at 24.2 seconds each, while the Dual Motor setup of the electric allows it to punch the rear-drive Quadrifoglio in the face, 3.8 seconds to 3.3. On the track, it’s a bit of a different story.

Boiling down a well-told narrative — bookmark this if you enjoy fine automotive prose and additional, informative details — the spicy Italian, which starts at $73,700, walks away with its pride intact. It managed to make its way around the course in as little as 1:22.78. The California car, which pencils out at $69 K with the Performance package, and which had the benefit of the pre-public version of Track Mode, finished a full 1.12 seconds behind with a respectable 1:23.90. MT allows that this is a shade better than the Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack 2. The $80,500 I-Pace HSE acquitted itself quite well with a Subaru WRX STI-beating 1:27.00.

So, it’s clear that the Alfa is the superior vehicle here, right? For now, it is, though the price of admission to the top step of the podium was a set of high-end Pirelli front tires. Apparently, these were destroyed in just a few laps, while the Michelins on the Model 3 emerged merely scuffed. It is also worth noting that Track Mode is in its infancy and will likely see improvements both before it’s released to owners in an over-the-air (OTA) update, and afterward, in subsequent OTAs. Indeed, while the track-machine crown sits on the Alfa’s head, it does so uneasily.

For most buyers though, this result isn’t everything. If you like your high performance with the ride height of a crossover and with solid off-road chops, the Jaguar I-Pace is your only choice among these three. Want a vehicle that can hang with the big dogs and which will only get better features and improved performance over time, than the Tesla is your only choice here. If you want the pinnacle in 20th Century drivetrain technology, and don’t give a fig about the negative consequences of burning gasoline, well, there’s something here for you too, we guess. Before you consider buying the Giulia, though, you owe it to yourself to take the future for a little test drive.


Source: Motor Trend

Categories: Jaguar, Tesla

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59 Comments on "Motor Trend Pits Tesla Model 3 Performance Against I-Pace, Alfa"

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Victor Reynolds

Track mode isnt on the “base” p3d tho, so the MSRP is higher than 69k, right?


People mock Tesla’s build quality, and there certainly have been some bad examples, but aren’t Alfa Romeos legendary for poor quality and disastrous defects?


FCA products in general – I currently have a car from FCA and build quality is very low – but I got a discount that compensated for it (brand new car with 1km on odometer for €5000 is a good deal for someone who doesnt care about how their commuter car looks).


The standards for a Jeep or Fiat, are different and lower than the required for an Alfa. In the same way than a Skoda or VW are not like an Audi, or Toyota hasn’t Lexus quality. Jeep is under the average of any european maker like Renault, Seat, VW, Opel, Peugeot…. at least in Renegade, Cherokee or Compass. I don’t know the Grand Cherokee either the Wrangler. Fiat 500X, 500L and Tipo, have similar quality. But Alfa is different.
My opinion is based on vehicles on sale in Europe, I don’t know if they are different in USA.


Welcome to 2018. We can’t compare a maker using topics that have decades. Alfa has evolved a lot. I know the Giulia and Stelvio and both are quality products, like a Mercedes or BMW equivalent.


FCA just recalled 34,000 Alfa Romeos last week…for potential to lose power and/or catch on fire: Article on recall


BMW does recalled a couple of hundredthousand vehicles for catching fire. What’s your point?


How many cars recalled Toyota, or Audi, or…..


You’re kidding right? The Giulia alone has become notorious for reliability and quality control issues.


The Giulia has had extreme reliability issues, so it definitely isn’t just something from Alfa’s past.


Alfa’s reliability isn’t as bad as you’d hope it was, as evident by UK’s survey where it easily topped its German rivals:
Meanwhile, Tesla’s record isn’t exactly pristine:

Not trying to bash Tesla, they are leaders of auto innovation IMO. Just giving credit where it’s due since Alfa’s also doing a great job in it’s own segment with the Giulia.


I get your point and know it’s just a survey, but I can’t bring myself to check those links. Whatcar is just utter crap.


Alfa Romeo is almost famous for bad reliability :), not so much for bad materials.
But the latest models are not like that from what I know, they’re also priced accordingly, being as expensive as the premium German equivalents.
This is subjective, but I guess I’m not alone, the Alfa is a world apart from the others regarding design.

I believe nothing beats Tesla’s regarding poor quality and reliability… not even an Alfa from the 80s :).

Paul Smith

But you have never been known for being unbiased against Tesla.

John Doe

At least they used to be. Now so few cars on the road I don’t hear much about Alfa at all.
I can drive for weeks without seeing an Alfa.
All new cars have to be better then the old Alfas. I’m sure FIAT and Alfa is much better then before.


Giulia:0.99 lb/mile
iPace:0.00 lb/mile (at vehicle)
Model3:0.00 lb/mile (at vehicle)
I mean you are spewing a pound of CO2 in the air per mile of driving the Giulia. That is disgusting.


Not to mention the noise that comes along with these speeds.


Not to mention the petroleum wasted on tires that have a 60 treadwear rating. I’ve never seen anything this low in a OEM tire.


Musk: model 3 beats anything in its class on track. Lol with ‘its class’ he probably meant Chevrolet bolt and BMW i3


Your comments are just sad, poor troll. Let me guess nervous with Tesla quarter report right?


Nope, musk wrote that, you can read on Twitter. And the first car it was tested against destroyed the tesla, so will the BMW m3


The car they tested it against also destroyed its tires to do so where the Model 3 tires held up better. Model 3 would likely beat it with comparable traction tires.

Your Dad

Musk actually said that. You are the fanboy troll here.

David Cary

Tires mean a lot here. A tire with a treadwear of 60 is not in the same class as the tires on the 3.


Why quote the performance 3 price with performance upgrades but then give the STARTING price of the alfa? especially when the alfa has upgraded tires that were blown out just to beat the PM3 by 1 second. Rediculous..

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Yeah, these types of comparisons/contests need to show price as tested and optioned as selected.

C. Hubbs

It’s not ridiculous at all. The starting price of a base Giulia is about $38k. The highest performance version, the Quadrifoglio, starts at closer to $78k. It takes $69k to make the Model 3 have performance that is at all comparable to it, i.e performance dual motor and the performance upgrade with 20” wheels and upgraded brakes. $69k doesn’t include enhanced autopilot or any optional colors. The only option that really does anything for performance on the Alfa beyond the base price listed is the carbon ceramic brakes which are $8k. Hard to say just how much difference they really make without a proper comparison.

The tires are the tires that are standard on each car. Obviously, Alfa prioritized performance over wear to a greater degree. That said, the Tesla has outstanding tires from Michelin on it. If I was picking a tire for high performance car, they’re the ones I would pick. Again it’s tough to really say how much track performance is different between the two tires.


The problem is if you pick the Model 3 Michelins and put them on an Alfa, you now have a car that costs more and goes slower than the Model 3.


Anyone suggesting that the Alfa is faster than a Model 3 needs to buy a few sets of Pirelli P Zero Corsa AR Asimmetrico tires at around $300 each. If someone has that much extra cash to buy tires, I would suggest a more expensive performance car that doesn’t munch tires after 3 laps.

Let’s point out practicality for a Model 3 that doesn’t use gas, oil and spark plugs. Sure, someone can go around a track faster, but at the cost of $1200 for a track day, he or she can do better.


No that was a fair price quote. The Alfa starts in the low $40’s but the Quadrafolia costs nearly double. The review was vague to inaccurate about Track mode on the Model 3. Did it have track move, yes or no?. If yes, and it was functioning the the car costs $74k. My guess is that once track mode makes it to it’s 2nd OTA , the Model 3 will beat the Alfa and from all appearances the Tesla battery will Outlast the Alfa’s tires.


Im noe even going to read it, after that infomercial Motor Trend and Randy Probst did for Jaguar last month, they have zero credibility.


Motor Trend lost credibility for me about 6 years back, when their chief advertisers kept winning their “Truck of the year” competitions back to back. Their Tesla reviews are head and shoulders above what every other magazine records, and conveniently they are get Tesla’s before any other magazine. Car and Driver had to break down and borrow an owner’s model 3, 1 YEAR after motor Trend did their review.


that is pretty good for the first round of Model 3 Performance.

I wonder if the Performance updates coming next year would totally make up any shortcoming there is.


Very respectable time for the Model 3. Congrats Tesla!

The Jaguar seems out of place in this comparison as I don’t see it as a track car, but running with a Subaru STI is actually quite impressive as well.

Overall it shows that EV’s are nipping at the heels of ICE vehicles even on the track. I can’t wait until the Porsche Taycan is released. I have a feeling it could be one of the first EV’s that could crush sports cars like the 911 on the track.


Porsche won’t have it. Taycan will be limited so it’s slower than the 911.


We already know the tires on the P3D Performance Package are still a compromise between performance and range/efficiency. Tesla should offer an optional competition wheel and tire pack with something more extreme to catch headlines. Maybe some forged or CF wheels with wide Trofeo R’s or something like that.


Unless I missed it, one major downfall of the Alpha will be its resale price. ICE/hybrids vehicles can be guaranteed to lose their resale value quite quickly over the next couple of years.


So the Giulia gets groceries 1 second faster than the Model 3?

What’s curious is they repeatedly compare the Teslas to gas guzzlers at what the gas guzzlers do best. But never a serious mention of the pollution shortcomings the gas guzzlers present as compared to the Teslas. A very small fraction of car buyers of any stripe are ever going to a race event let alone put their own car on a track. So the relevance of these comparisons is basically nil. Tesla apparently does this just to keep the ICE makers on their heels. There’s no other good reason to do it.


While I do think Motor Trend is a bit too chummy with Tesla these days, it is hard to deny the Model 3 performance is in impressive company these days. The fact that we are now seeing an EV compared head-to-head with ICE based vehicles (and a 10 best winner at that) speaks VOLUMES as to both how far EVs have come and just how good the Model 3 Performance is.

Is the Giulia a better all-around track start than the Model 3 – yep. However, the Giulia is continually lauded as a pretty special car from a car maker that has been making performance cars for forever. The Giulia also beat out other special performance cars like the BMW M3, etc. The fact that the Model 3 performance right out of the gate is competing well is impressive indeed.


Nice try this comparison, but completely useless. To my humble opinion, nothing beats the character of Sophia Loren.


Here are my favorite quotes from the article:

“The other day, I read Bob Lutz espouse that “Tesla has no tech advantage, no software advantage, no battery advantage. No advantages whatsoever.” With all due respect, Bob, that’s bull.”

And to sum up our vision of the future:

“If there were a book simply titled The History of the Sport Sedan, you’d find a dramatic picture of this exact blue Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio on its last page. The story line building up to it would ping-pong between Turin and Munich, and with every turned page there’d be episodes of engineers finding new ways to polish the sport sedan’s ingredients to a perfect gloss. Like this car’s twin-turbo V-6 engine, eight-speed paddle-shift transmission, multilink rear suspension, and 505 horsepower laser-beamed to two rear tires.

Tesla nods, closes the book, and places it on the shelf with the rest of automotive history. Park the Giulia next to the Model 3, and Leonardo da Vinci beside Robert Oppenheimer. The ultimate artist-engineer meets the calculating disrupter of worlds.”


Motor Trend needs to makes a Head to Head video against the Giulia when Track Mode is refined.
…and using same tires in both cars!


All these comparisons go the extreme, most expensive model. How about take the base model of each vehicle and do that head to head? While lots of people aspire to the top performance model, the reality kicks in and they make compromises. Doing the base model comparison, as well as the top model comparison, could be very interesting.
Would base Model 3 best the base ALFA?


The base I-Pace will do better than the base Model 3 because there is no difference in hp/torque between the base model I-Pace and the top of the line I-Pace. In fact, it may do better because it is lighter without those extra accoutrement.


Very good result for Tesla, being with the best is a great result. Jaguar is so so, even for a SUV it could do better.


Even if the Alfa could lap this circuit in 50 seconds I would still pick the Model 3.

Bob Wilson

Motor Trend hit the nail on the head, “With all due respect, Bob [Lutz rjw], that’s bull.” Lutz thinks cars can be assembled from a J.C. Whitney catalog and he is right but it would be a Frankenstein on wheels always running 10% worse than a designed car. Something like a Bolt.

Roy LeMeur

Yawn. Put the Model 3 and the Alfa on the same tires then wake me up.