The Ascension R is the hardest cored Tesla Model 3 yet | Top Gear
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The Ascension R is the hardest cored Tesla Model 3 yet

Want to take your EV on trackdays? Unplugged Performance has the answer

Published: 04 Nov 2019

Modified EVs really are becoming The Thing. Mere hours into the Lister SUV-E’s life comes this, the Tesla Model 3 Ascension R. It’s a Model 3 – you’ve likely heard of it – breathed upon by Unplugged Performance – a company with its roots in the wild Japanese tuning scene and genuine Fast and Furious credibility – to make it much more of a trackday warrior.

We’ve driven some of Unplugged’s other Model 3s, but this is without doubt the wildest. A bespoke build for customer Erik Strait – and unveiled at SEMA this week – it’s what happens when you throw weeks of man hours and tens of thousands of dollars at a stock 3.

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“The Ascension R programme is designed and purpose-built for the hardcore EV performance enthusiast who demands the very best,” says Unplugged boss Ben Schaffer, “and for automotive enthusiasts looking to dive headfirst into the most extreme Model 3 variant available.

“Every Ascension R can be driven on public roads daily and can enjoy using autopilot to the racetrack and back home without needing to change any settings.”

This car’s had the works. There’s a carbon body kit (including that wing), 20in forged wheels wrapped in Michelin Cup 2s, a carbon-ceramic brake kit, adjustable coilover suspension (among countless other suspension tweaks) and proper harnessed race seats.

What Unplugged doesn’t fiddle with is the powertrain (unlike Lister), so you’ll want the feistiest Model 3 Elon will sell you to make best use of all the new chassis bits.

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“I’ve always had a deep appreciation of factory tuned, street legal racecars,” says Schaffer. “There is something special about a well-conceived vision that walks the fine line between racecar and grocery getter.

“For years I’ve had my mind set on exploring what a Tesla factory-built racecar would entail and how to strike the right balance in all aspects of the concept. Edgy, hardcore, high performing but not impractical are things not often easy to harness in harmony.”

Reckon the Ascension R has achieved it? Prices for the conversion start at $35,000 post Model 3 purchase, with Schaffer adamant no two Unplugged builds will be the same.

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