Tesla Model 3 Performance Is So Noisy In 20-Inch Wheel Test: Video


The results are shocking, says YouTuber Bjorn Nyland.

That’s after conducting his noise test on the Tesla Model 3 Performance fitted with 20-inch wheels.

Shocking? In what way? Let’s just say shockingly bad.

Basically, the Model 3 Performance with 20-inch wheels is comparably as loud as tiny, sub-premium cars like the Fiat 500e and Volkswagen e-Up! That’s not what one would expect from the expensive Model 3.

However, if you look at the chart you’ll notice the Tesla Model X performs very well in the noise test, yet the Model 3 scores poorly. Some of this noise is surely due to those big winter tires, though in all fairness, every car listed below has winter/snow tires on too.

So, what exactly makes the Model 3 so loud then? We’ll chalk it up to poor and or lack of sound deadening. Or maybe some faulty seals. There’s no other reasonable explanation.

Let’s watch the video and take a look at the chart below to find out.

***We’ve included a few links below on this Model 3 noise issue and one way to seal it up better too.

Just How Bad is Tesla Model 3 Road Noise?

How To Reduce Wind & Road Noise In Tesla Model 3:ย Video

Video description:

Model 3 noise test with 20″ wheels

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31 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Performance Is So Noisy In 20-Inch Wheel Test: Video"

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Low profile, high tire pressure… just sayin…

Winter tires.

I am just saying.

Article says “in all fairness, every car listed below has winter/snow tires on too.”

The simple chart was clear as well.

Not one Michelin in the mix.

Tire tested is Nokian R3 which many other cars also used. eTron on wet suface using same tires has the lowest noise while Tesla on dry surface is noiser than all others using same tires, wet or dry.

As a wise man once said,

Too much rim make the ride too hard


This really shocks me deep to the bones.



The Audi has the same tread. 19s but the wide gap isn’t going to be all due to difference from 19 to 20 and profile. The Audi numbers are coffin level quiet.

Well, I’ve never been in a coffin — but I’m pretty sure it would offer way more than 7 dB dampening… That’s not actually all that much. 10 dB would about half the perceived loudness level.

The Audi also weights two and a half metric tons, with features like double glazed side windows. It’s a big outlier, if you exclude it from the table the difference between the remaining cars is a lot smaller. If you further exclude the much more expensive Model X an I-Pace, the only standout from the remaining cars would be the e-golf, while the rest have nearly the same sound levels. The Model 3 has also been tested with 19inch tires since this video was made, with notably better results. I expect the 18inch aeros will put it near the top of the pack.

Based on the e-golf results, I’m looking forward to the ID.3 being tested in about a year.

Not surprised. To hide noise, VW went with an elaborate honey comb sound diffuser on the bottom, and extra padding on top, of its 2.0ltr diesel engines.

The Audi is an SUV with far larger outer diameter, so even if it had 20s it would have an advantage.

255/55R19 has sidewall minus lip around 12cm.
235/35R20 has sidewall minus lip around 6cm

The Audi has double the functional sidewall to absorb vibrations. It’s apples to oranges. Much more fair would be Tesla 18 vs Audi 20.

Well the results sure aren’t great but I always find it interesting how EVs get a lot of grief when they aren’t the best at everything. Notice how the M3 tires are a 35. That is a super short tire and the short sidewall means it has to be stiff. Stiffness means less compliance, which effects sound damping.

Now add a column to that graph for lateral g-force or lap time rankings and, while the M3 is louder with snow tires, it will be fastest car by far. If you want a performance car there have to be some trade-offs.

Stiffness doesn’t help g-force, all else being equal. Only tire compound (and to a much lower degree, tire width) matter.

Stiffness is more about steering response. When you turn the wheel, a stiffer sidewall will feel more precise, reducing the delay before the car changes direction.

The I-pace has 20โ€ wheels and has a notibly quiet interior. I think the Model 3โ€™s big problem is lack of sound deadening, acoustic glass, wheel well insulation, and thicker/better placed door seals. Here is a good article: https://www.wired.com/2017/03/fight-wrap-cheapo-cars-luxurious-silence/amp

Note that one of the best ways to reduce sound is to add mass. Acoustic glass tends to be thicker and heavier than normal. Sure, there are other tricks to reducing sound besides only mass, like multiple layers with varying densities and stiffness, but adding more layers is ultimately still adding more mass, thus making the car more expensive and less efficient.

The IPace has wheels as big as the eTron. Effective sidewall is almost twice as big as that in the 3.

Your other points are valid, though. The IPace is a lot heavier and very inefficient, so Jaguar probably went nuts with insulation.

Why didn’t you post the updated results that Bjorn did with the 19″ wheels?
Not that it’s much better…


Interesting that the Model 3 has the lowest change from 80 to 120km/h. Must be the great aero.

With 18s, it could be second best at 120.

(IMO, 1.5dB at 120 is significantly better)

My P3D has PS4 20″ summer tires and it is relatively quiet on most roads in the Bay Area, which are filled with potholes in recent rainy months. On fresh pavements it is quieter than most cars I had except a Jaguar XJ with air suspension. For anything with sporty intentions, the P3D is in my opinion has the best ride on top of exceptional handling. I recently drove my brother’s Cayman S, and that thing was filled with noise behind the ears and the suspension felt like a brick. The P3D ruins it for everyone else.

It doesnโ€™t say, but it is a safe bet these measurements are in decibels or dbA. The Audi average is 63 dbA while the Model 3 is 69 dbA. A difference of 6 dbA. Most people cannot hear a difference in sound level less than 5 dbA. Based on these numbers, there is very little difference in sound level of these two cars.

The dB scale is not linear. Sound energy doubles for every 3 dB.

Yeah, but perceptual noise level doubles every 10 dB.

I’d agree its relative, and not a deal breaker. Thinking of reference points, Lime Rock race track has an 89db limit and depending on closeness, airports can climb over 100. Both very loud (knowing what people still run, at LRP).

The Volt is very quiet, too, after GM went after Noise Vibration Harshness (NVH).

Are you saying there’s no noticeable difference between Model 3 and my nv200? That’s not very impressive.

My takeaway from that table is that tires make a big difference, in most cases bigger than the model of the car. The only outliers are the heavier, more expensive cars, the rest are pretty much the same. Just look at the two entries for the e-golf, one is good while the other one is average, even though the first one is on a wet road and the other one is dry.

So, if sound matters to you, get a set of quiet tires, it’ll make more of a difference than getting a different car.

This test is actually a good reminder to everyone why we have those stupid EPA/NEDC/WLTP test, which we all know are artificial and not always indicative of real results: because they are repeatable and thus comparable.

I like Bjorn, but basically what he did was putting all the cars he has tested over a period of time into the same table. We have many different tire sizes and brands, different temperatures and road conditions, different levels of ambient noise by different cars with different weight passing along and other environmental noises and probably a fairly amateur way of taking measurements.

A proper way of testing would be to have all the cars on the same set of tires, same wheel sizes and profiles (as much as you can within the given manufacturer specs) at the same time on a controlled circuit or in-door test lab under different road and temperature conditions.

Model 3 is for sure a good car. But it’s silly to expect that a $35k car doesn’t include severe cost savings.

It’s more like $60K car, being performance version. I’m curious how other $60K gasser sedans compare.

It’s based on a $35k car. I think if you take performance versions of similar cars they’ll be eventually more noise. But “normal” versions of BMW 3, Mercedes C, … and even non premium cars, equivalents from Renault, Peugeot, … should be less noisy.