The updated Tesla Model 3 Performance is around the corner with new looks and quicker acceleration. Here’s what we know so far – and what it’s expected to look like.
Tesla is months away from revealing the most powerful and quickest-accelerating version of its smallest electric car, the 2024 Tesla Model 3 Performance.
However in recent months, spy photos – and details from Tesla sources – have revealed the model is due to return with more power, sharper handling, a revised look, and more comprehensive upgrades than previous iterations of the Performance.
US reports claim the first pre-production examples have rolled off the assembly line, and that mass production is due to commence by the end of March 2024.
The computer illustration at the top of this story – created by digital artist Avarvarii – shows what the facelifted Model 3 Performance is expected to look like, based on leaked information collated to date.
Using the standard 2024 Model 3 range as a guide – which was unveiled on 1 September 2023, arrived in Australia for media previews and test drives in late November, and commenced customer deliveries in late December – the facelifted Performance could be here by mid-year.
It was speculated the release of the updated Performance could be timed with the introduction of the standard 2024 Model 3 in the US, but this did not eventuate.
The 2024 Model 3 Performance is expected to adopt key changes from the regular line-up, including restyled front and rear fascias, a brighter touchscreen, improved noise insulation, and the deletion of the steering wheel stalks – relocating the indicators to buttons on the steering wheel, and the gear selector to a slider on the touchscreen.
However overseas reports – including by Teslascope, an X (formerly Twitter) account with a strong track record for sharing advance information from sources inside Tesla – indicate the changes for the 2024 Performance will be more significant than the rest of the range.
Teslascope reports one or more of the dual electric motors will be upgraded to improve on the outgoing Performance’s 393kW, good for 0-100km/h in a claimed 3.3 seconds with all-wheel drive.
The user claims it will gain revised versions of the lowered sports suspension, and performance brakes that have long differentiated the Performance from regular Model 3s.
Visual differences between regular and Performance variants are reportedly planned to include 20-inch alloy wheels (in a new pattern called ‘Warp’), and a carbon-fibre boot-lid spoiler lip also in a new design.
Last year images emerged out of a Tesla Model 3 service manual of a badge displaying a pattern, which is the same effect seen in the 1987 movie Spaceballs – of which Elon Musk is known to be a fan – when the spaceship in the film approaches “Ludicrous Speed” said to be faster than light.
It prompted speculation the updated Model 3 Performance could be known as the Ludicrous – a name last used for the rapid acceleration mode in high-performance Tesla Model S electric cars prior to 2021.
However Tesla executives told Australian media including Drive the Performance name would be retained for the new car, which would “exploit untapped potential” in the original Model 3 Performance dating back to 2019.
It is unclear if this badge will make it to production – and if it will replace the red underline beneath the Dual Motor badge that to date has distinguished the Model 3 Performance from lesser models. Both are shown in the illustration at the top of this story.
Inside, the Performance will be fitted with unique sports seats – with tighter bolstering than those of the regular Model 3 – which appeared in the service manual last year, and have been caught on camera in a prototype this week (photo below via Fidel Grandez on X).
The previous Model 3 Performance shared its front seats with cheaper models in the range.
Other changes reportedly planned for the 2024 Model 3 Performance – according to Teslascope – include an updated digital user interface for the Track Mode feature.
“The general sentiment with the new Model 3 Performance is to further deliver the ‘best track experience’ without the price commitment of the Model S Plaid,” the user said in a post on X.
More details on the 2024 Tesla Model 3 Performance are due closer to its unveiling in the coming weeks or months.