Agoodmancharliebrown: does it feel capable of carving out a niche in the premium automotive market? Once there are electric C-Classes, 3 Series, and A4s, will the Model 3 still have enough going for it to keep it as a viable choice?
If you’d asked me that before driving it I’d have answered this a different way, but there’s a depth of quality to the way it moves that I wasn’t expecting. As we’re all learning, speed is easy in an EV, but it’s the Model 3’s handling that’s suprisingly tidy – not as engaging as the 3 Series, perhaps, but it’s fun in other ways. Where it trails the Germans you mention is in interior quality – the minimalist aesthetic is a brave statement, but Tesla’s idea of leather seems to come from an entirely different animal to something you find in an Audi.
Where it leads its rivals is in connectivity and interface. Ultimately all premium manufacturers now have some form of mild autonomy, on-board internet and associated apps, but like Apple pulled off with the iPhone, Tesla presents it all in the simplest possible way, with a sense of fun thrown in. You don’t get ‘Santa Mode’ in a 3 Series. Truth is, having all the information on a single screen down and to your right can be extremely distracting, but it’s bold and in touch with a generation who are used to observing life through a screen. That’s where it needs to maintain its advantage when a wave of competitors arrive.
Read Top Gear’s full review of the Tesla Model 3