the best electric car?

Best-seller of the Californian brand, the Tesla Model 3 underwent a major update at the start of the year. The opportunity for Automobile Propre to take charge of this 2021 vintage in its Performance version.

If the Model 3 regularly evolves on its software part thanks to remote updates, this does not prevent the manufacturer from reviewing certain practical and technical aspects of its flagship model. Launched two years ago in France, the Model 3 underwent a major series of updates at the start of the year. A good excuse to get back behind the wheel of the Californian sedan in its high-end Performance version.

500 horsepower under the hood

More compact than the large Model S, the American four-door sedan has the ideal size for the European market. With 4.69 m in length, it directly competes with German premium sedans and is distinguished by its exceptional performance.

With a lower chassis compared to the classic Standard Plus and Long Range versions, this 2021 Model 3 Performance is one of the most powerful electric cars on the market. Equipped with a dual-motor configuration, it incorporates an electric motor on each axle. At the front, the first develops up to 215 horsepower while the second, placed on the rear axle, climbs up to 298 horsepower. Cumulatively, the theoretical power exceeds 500 horses.

On the battery side, the manufacturer still does not communicate official information. However, we know that this new generation still benefits from Panasonic cells with a pack totaling around 80 kWh of energy capacity.

Aesthetically, the changes made to this 2021 vintage remain slight. This performance version is therefore characterized by its small carbon spoiler at the rear and new 20-inch turbine rims mounted on specific tires. The manufacturer has also eased off on the chrome elements of the old version. These are now replaced by black inserts which, less dashing, bring a touch of elegance and a little sporty side.

Retaining its capacity of 50 liters, the Frunk can now be opened remotely. It completes the boot space which, also equipped with a motorized opening, offers a base volume of 425 liters as well as a 70-liter double bottom to easily accommodate charging cables. Unfortunately, the tailgate is still not in the game.

At the front no change except slightly improved finishes. The main development lies in the presence of a large central tunnel. Very spacious, it incorporates two docks for mobile phones with induction charging, two USB C sockets and a large armrest housing a 12-volt outlet. Another novelty of this 2021 vintage: the glove box which, beyond its classic opening, can be locked like a safe using a PIN code.

On the multimedia part, the Model 3 evolves according to updates made remotely by the manufacturer. On the latest version of the software, the left part of the screen is larger, which reduces the size of the GPS. Ultra-responsive, this navigation device identifies superchargers and incorporates a very practical route calculator for long journeys. The Model 3 being devoid of instrumentation and minimalist in its physical buttons, it is through the central screen that almost all of the car’s functions are regulated. There are also applications like Spotify but also new games including an astonishing adapted version of Mario kart.


Snow and wet roads don’t worry our Model 3 Performance which, equipped with an engine on each axle, offers the best traction system available today. In use, the direction changes depending on the driving mode. Too firm, the sport mode will be avoided in town. Especially since Tesla’s car does not offer exceptional handling. The more players will be able to test the Track mode which allows to distribute the traction on the front or the rear while disconnecting the traction control. A feature really suited to open roads and that we reserve for a future test on the circuit.

In terms of soundproofing, we continue to hear rolling noises despite the integration of double glazing. It must be said that the large wheels of this Performance version do not work in its favor.

On small winding roads, Tesla’s electric car doesn’t take an ounce of body roll and offers exceptional traction. To climb a pass, there is nothing better. Downhill, it’s something else and the car will necessarily be handicapped by its overweight vis-à-vis its thermal rivals. Even if Tesla says it has gained 40 kilos in this 2021 vintage, the whole remains heavy and ultimately weighs nearly 2 tonnes (1923 kg).

240 km / h on German motorway

For this test, we went to Strasbourg. The opportunity to cross the border to go and test this Performance version on the unlimited German highways. With a 0 to 100 km / h guaranteed in 3.3 seconds, the American sedan is still as impressive on its acceleration phases. The traffic density did not allow us to verify the 261 km / h announced by the manufacturer, but the 240 km / h could be reached without batting an eyelid.

As soon as we exceed 130-140 km / h, the soundproofing is not optimal. Despite the presence of double glazing, there are still air noises and some rolling noises. This remains quite logical, however, given the rims used on this Performance version.

On the consumption side, we reach an average of 42 kWh / 100 km on the small portion of the German motorway taken. What figures the autonomy to about 200 km.

On our return trip to Paris, we reached an average of around 25 kWh / 100 km on the motorway, which is not so bad given the negative outside temperatures. Estimated at 300 km in these winter conditions, the autonomy of the Model 3 on the highway could climb to more than 350 km with milder temperatures.

An exceptional service price ratio

This Performance version is the most luxurious and the most powerful of the Model 3 but also the most expensive. Invoiced € 59,990, it is clearly not given but displays an incomparable quality-price-service ratio in the automobile. However, our preference goes to the Large Autonomy version, which is more comfortable and above all € 8,000 cheaper than this high-end version.

Once again, the advertised prices are exclusive of options. It will thus be necessary to pay 3,800 € to benefit from the improved Autopilot, which integrates automatic lane change and parking, and 7,500 € to unlock the “fully autonomous driving capacity”. A device that will only find its real utility from the moment the legislation authorizes its various functionalities.


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