Watch Tesla Model 3 Get Track Tested With 18 & 19-Inch Wheels


So, how do the 18-inch aero wheels and Michelin tires compare to the optional 19-inch wheels with Continentals?

Dan Edmunds takes the Tesla Model 3 to the track to find out. He says he wasn’t happy with the stopping distance (133 feet) or the front grip of the base setup, and it could’ve been sharper in his opinion. So, they put on the 19s with Continentals to do some comparing.

Watch This: Tesla Model 3 Top Speed Run On Autobahn

Tesla Model 3 optional 19-inch wheels

The standard Michelins have a treadwear rating of 500, while the upgraded Continentals sit at 400.

First, he checks out 0-60-mph times. The 19s do it in 5.1-seconds, as opposed to the 5.3 Edmunds reported with the 18s. Next is stopping distance. The optional 19-inch wheels improve the spec by five feet (128 feet).

Dan moves to the skidpad and proves that lateral grip is significantly better with the 19s as well. He points out that, all-in-all, you can really feel the difference in how the car handles.

The upgrades will cost you $1,500. Is it worth it? Edmunds provides a wealth of additional information below:

Video Description via Edmunds on YouTube:

Edmunds takes you on a trip to the test track, where we investigate the only significant option available to those configuring a Tesla Model 3 sedan. Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds finds out if there’s anything more than a visual difference between the standard 18-inch and the optional 19-inch wheels and tires.

Q: What is the difference between the Tesla Model 3’s standard and optional tires?
A: The standard 18-inch combination features Michelin tires and dark wheel covers, while the 19-inch option costs $1,500 extra and features Continental tires mounted on silver 10-spoke alloy wheels. Both tires use an all-season tire design and share a tread width of 235 mm.

Q: Does tire choice affect the Tesla Model 3’s acceleration?
A: A little. We initially recorded a 0-60 mph time of 5.3 seconds using the standard 18-inch wheels and Michelin tires that came on our Model 3. But a set of 19-inch Continental tires bolted to the same car provided a better launch and got the job done in 5.1 seconds.

Q: Does a choice of tires affect the Tesla Model 3’s emergency stopping distance?
A: Our car executed a panic stop from 60 mph in 133 feet with the standard 18-inch wheels and tires, and that dropped to 128 feet after we installed the optional 19-inch configuration. A small difference but a clear improvement.

Q: Does the Tesla Model 3 corner better on the optional tires?
A: Absolutely, and this was the biggest difference we observed. Maximum cornering grip rose from 0.85g to 0.93g on the skidpad, which is significant. In real-world terms, it translated to a much more fun and engaging experience on our test circuit, where the acceleration and braking improvements figure in as well.

Q: Will the optional tires reduce the Tesla Model 3’s range?
A: Possibly, but we did not observe anything measurable. This aspect needs more study, but we can say this potential drawback does not exist in equal measure when compared to the benefits.

Q: Won’t the Tesla Model 3’s ride be worse on low-profile 19-inch tires?
A: Actually, the opposite proved to be true in our test. The 19-inch tires run at a slightly lower pressure, which helps. But we think it goes further than that. We cannot confirm it, but the 19-inch combination feels like it was the setup used to calibrate the Model 3’s suspension.

Q: Should I spend $1,500 on the optional Model 3 wheels and tires?
A: The performance benefits are clear, so on that basis it’s clearly worth it. But it’s not just about performance because better maneuverability and shorter stopping distance have implications for accident avoidance. And the ride is slightly less jittery, too. That said, if money is an issue and you want to take zero chances with reduced range, the Model 3 on the standard 18-inch tires is still a nicely balanced car that’s enjoyable to drive.

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2. Tesla Model 3
Range: 310 miles; 136/123 mpg-e. Still maintaining a long waiting list as production ramps up slowly, the new compact Tesla Model 3 sedan is a smaller and cheaper, but no less stylish, alternative, to the fledgling automaker’s popular Model S. This estimate is for a Model 3 with the “optional” (at $9,000) long-range battery, which is as of this writing still the only configuration available. The standard battery, which is expected to become available later in 2018, is estimated to run for 220 miles on a charge. Tesla Model 3 charge port (U.S.) Tesla Model 3 front seats Tesla Model 3 at Atascadero, CA Supercharging station (via Mark F!) Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model 3 The Tesla Model 3 is not hiding anymore! Tesla Model 3 (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs) Tesla Model 3 Inside the Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model 3 rear seats Tesla Model 3 Road Trip arrives in Tallahassee Tesla Model 3 charges in Tallahassee, trunk open.

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8 Comments on "Watch Tesla Model 3 Get Track Tested With 18 & 19-Inch Wheels"

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Searching on Tirerack, I’m surprised the 19s are less expensive than the 18s. Considering these are all-season tires, slapping on high/ultra performance summer tires will make an even bigger improvement. Specifically, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S or Pirelli P Zero Nero GT.

Kudos for new the editing feature!

Interesting that Top Gear did detailed braking, acceleration, and lateral performance tests, but zilch testing for range and essentially blew it off as not a factor. Shows where their head is.

A real-world test of 18″ aero vs 18″ non-aero wheel covers found a 5% loss with non-aero.

The wheel change Top Gear did with a bigger wheel and junking the LRR tires would peel off another few percent. I believe for the Model S, they’ve found 5-10% range loss due to higher rolling resistance.

So it is likely that there would be at least 10% range loss going forward, with every mile driven, to get the vanity-driven 19″ wheels. Seems ironic to pay the $$$ extra to get 90 miles extra range with the long-range pack, then you pay even more $ extra to remove 31 miles so you can go 0.2 seconds faster in the occasional 0-60 and look “cooler”.

That’s the $ and energy-wasting mentality that so many of us have mocked with the macho “ICE” crowd. Some things never change.

I doubt that those small test result differences are statistically significant, especially having been conducted on different days (weather and track surface condition are likely to be different). Subjective impressions might be a more worthwhile indicator of the tire setup differences.

I still haven’t heard from anyone trying lower inflation pressures on the 18 inch tires. The GAWR would allow the Michelin 98XL rated tires to lower the pressure to 35 psi without losing any load capacity. Of course, lower pressures might reduce range some but might also improve the ride and handling.

It was a quiet day that day.

“Maximum cornering grip rose from 0.85g to 0.93g”

I wonder what the g improvement would be to use the stickier tires on the 18″ rims? We got the aero wheels, but eventually will need new tires.

Very scientific. Change 2 variables (size, manufacturer) and ascribe the change only to size. This is blogger level thinking, not journalism. The single thing missing in the Youtube video was “What’s up guys?”at the start and the lack of music…

I was thinking the same thing while watching. The focus was on the “19s” as if is the change that accounts for all benefits. Tires can make a big difference (regardless of size). Granted, if he would have been as specific as I would like throughout the video it would have been annoying to a lot of other folks.