Notices
The Loft (Evom Car Talk Corner) The landing pad for automotive discussions, news, articles, and opinions. A place for the community to kick back and chat.

Defecting to the Dark Side: Tesla Model 3 Performance

 
Old May 16, 2019, 11:39 PM
  #1  
Evolved Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (34)
 
deeman101's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 960
Received 5 Likes on 5 Posts
Defecting to the Dark Side: Tesla Model 3 Performance

My fellow EvoM'ers, the time has come. I have finally decided to stop being a luddite and join the modern world. The back story is quite simple and maybe some of you will relate. I'm a diehard gearhead and have been modding track cars since before I even had a license. I've owned my Evo VIII MR for 10 years and have thoroughly enjoyed the crap out of it. I've logged 70k miles of daily-driving (in the early years), cross country road trips, and somewhere around 3k track miles. It may sound like another totally bagged, run down evo, but really its (especially lately) one of the cleanest streetable track evo around. And a huge huge money pit. But in the last 4 years, there are way too many factory made track machines. Actually since the CBA-R35 was released, being competitive has gotten way too challenging. Actually I remember when there was huge resistance from the purists about how heavy it is and how its computers just make the track times by itself and the driver is there for the ride along. Then the Z28 Camaros, GT350s, Z06/ZR1s, etc. I used to hang with 997 GT3s driven by comparable drivers with my 315whp evo. Now well modded BRZ/FRS's can just destroy me. You may just think I'm a **** driver. Maybe I am! Props to the ultra-dedicated track guys here that are pushing this chassis and their driving skill to the ragged edge, but I'm throwing in the competitive towel. The Evo is for me an "driving experience" car, like taking a classic well modded air-cooled 911 around the track. Tracking it is more about experiencing the raw analog feel rather than setting records. I just wave everyone past, lol. Anyways, couple years ago I pushed too hard to keep up with a modded NA1 NSX with a very good driver, experienced oil starvation, and spun the rod bearing. Life circumstances meant its been a slow rebuild process. Meanwhile the track scene continues to progress with ultrafast cars while I become old and way worse a driver.

Fast forward to 2017 when the Model 3 actually got released and I was part of the haters. I thought it looked ugly (still does), stupid, poor quality, and for people that basically don't like cars in the first place and want it to drive itself. And Tesla was doomed to fail due to sheer Muskian hubris. Then I saw that it was actually the right size sport sedan (considering all sport sedans now are big and heavy AF), was actually capable of decent range (actually same as my Evo on a full tank), and apparently car reviewers thought it was a decent enthusiast car. Then the track times came out....surprising! Then tuning companies like Unplugged and Mountain Pass Performance (the owner I know personally) were developing really good products and demonstrating what a tuned Model 3 could do. And then track mode dropped and the track times + driving experience really started to take it to a level where I as an enthusiast driver may actually be happy owning. Not that I was convinced. What really pushed me to test drive one is my wife has been embracing her inner environmentalist. I was VERY impressed with the acceleration of course, but it also had actually a very composed chassis, and otherwise had good features and the right size. I was about half convinced at the time. But after driving the comparable BMWs, Audis, and I just skipped the MBs all together, I decided to buy into the Tesla kool-aid. And go full-fat as well with the Performance version because track mode was completely mandatory. I was actually going back and forth with MPP to see if their hack box to disable VSC could be done in the regular awd version, but alas it really can't. And also the regular awd apparently overheats in like 2 laps. So I got the M3P, and here is my perspective in the first week as an actual driving enthusiast. Rather than a techy, trendy, millenial type.

Design/Finish:
Its weird. Morever, its weird for the sake of being futuristic. I'm actually pretty good with computers and digital systems, but it just seems like the interior is an exercise in being ultra techy cool rather than driver focused. Initially I thought it was quite ugly. Now I think it looks ok, especially with the bit of a spring drop with the M3P version. More importantly with design though is the fit and finish. The paint quality is not that great, especially for cars in this price range. There are no paint defects like some of the early builds but there is significant orange peel. Everyone has heard of the quality issues as the initial Model 3s were rushed out the door/tent. Since at least this year though, they seemed to have settled into a rhythm and build a good car reliably. The body lines and gaps were not MB tight but were definitely closer to an Acura than a Kia. Not quite at the BMW/Audi level. I'm coming from an Acura, so good enough! There were very few defects, such as a wrinkled door seal, and a slight groan from the steering column at low speeds. Not enough for me to do something about, but this wouldn't happen in a BMW (I hope).

Practicality:
So here is something you totally don't expect: The Model 3 is the ultimate road trip car. The supercharger network is vast, even on the V2 charger it charges FAST (I managed 25 mins from 10% to 80%), the cost of charging is way cheaper than gas, it has autopilot, and it a very quiet interior. Its routine maintenance for DD is almost nonexistent. You need a 240V system to charger it, and it takes 8+ hrs from a 240V source (definitely an overnight thing). Although charging it every night means I never have to think about making it to a gas station. Its about the size of a F80 BMW inside, which is just about right for me. The trunk space is definitely larger than most cars. The frunk is....nothing special and not much height to it. There is tons of center console storage. And actually the fact that it gets OTA updates and improves over time is a big plus. Sentry mode and Dash cam mode for example was a great addition. Its lack of integration with iphone and android is surprising and tragic. Even economy cars do better at integrating with phones.

Driving:
This is where things get interesting. I only test drove the regular AWD version before buying the Performance version (again, because track mode). I was not that impressed with the regular suspension's comfort or damping control (neither was my wife) and was committed to getting ohlins/kw based coilovers quite early. The M3P though is actually better damped and perhaps more comfortable. It actually feels like its already like a high quality coilover, but just with a low spring rate. Combine that with the battery being so low, the pilot 4S tires, a very good steering actually (think Evo 8-like but with 20% slower rack), and not just instant but very linear and controllable torque delivery, and you get a car that can be quite chill if you are relaxing, but gets very fast, precise, and feels like second nature when you get on it. It definitely has good bones to work with. I've not experienced understeer yet in the car, and its natural tendency is to stay neutral. There is also a huge amount of traction despite 470+ lbft of torque available instantly, and you can easily go WOT at the apex of a corner without drama. The only time I got it to wiggle a bit is in the rain when just hamming it into a corner. I haven't done a track day in it yet but it doesn't even seem to need much prep from factory before going on the track. Maybe just some new brake fluid and pads. The way how it can exit corners is probably going to be as ground-breaking as the R35 gtr when it came out, which is probably how its been posting fast lap times. Oh yes, it accelerates ridiculously hard. Its actually got the opposite acceleration profile of a larger turbo evo: everything available instantly, gets less crazy though the more you rev it up. Which makes it so much fun to drive it moderate traffic cause you can easily squirt through traffic, and no one even notices. Unless they're staring at the car or you blow past them no one knows when you're accelerating hard or just cruising. You can also get used to 1 pedal driving it (feels like the car is always in 3rd gear, but is just ultra quiet), which makes it even easier to react and shoot for small openings.

Now for the stability nannies. There is 2 things going on here. 1 is the car is actually a very good chassis, and 2 is also a very accessible performer. So the VSC is as intrusive as any other car's in default mode, but you have to be digging deep to make the chassis start to dance before it will kick in. At the same time though, the performance is so accessible that once you get comfortable you may dig that deep rather frequently. The VSC doesn't totally shut you down, but definitely you'll know when it intervenes to hold you back. If you are planning on driving the car 7/10s most of the time, this should be ok. Otherwise you need the track mode to be truly let free, but at that point are you sure you want to go that hard on the street? Too bad there is no in-between M mode-like state that lets you have fun without intervening so actively.


Overall:
This is a car that initially blew me away due to its driving dynamics. But then I got less enthusiastic about it because of all the tech hardware and distractions going on. I actually intentionally avoid using autopilot now because of how disengaging it makes the car to drive. Even in traffic I like to drive and feel like I'm driving something special. Once you try to look past the tech BS and focus on how the car feels to drive...it seems to be a great car actually. The EV nature of it actually enhances the experience and capitalizes on the great chassis dynamics. My car is only a week old so I'm still getting to know it. But whats most surprising to me is how polarizing it is to the car community. Half the people hate it and everything about it, and think of me as a sell out. The other half are totally on board with it. And despite how much press it has been getting most people have no idea about things like its range, supercharging capability, chassis dynamics, power, etc. At best people just know that its electric and its supposed to accelerate fast. The biggest barrier seems to be the lack of sound. Which bothers me less than it bothers many others it seems.

P.S. I did not sell my Evo! I actually think the M3P and the Evo are complementary cars to have in one garage. The M3P is a great daily, family hauler, mountain carver, and occasional track day car. This liberates me to go HAM with the Evo and make it a barely streetable track focused car.


Last edited by deeman101; May 17, 2019 at 09:15 AM.
deeman101 is offline  
The following users liked this post:
PolloVagabundo (May 17, 2019)
Old May 17, 2019, 04:13 AM
  #2  
OX
Evolving Member
iTrader: (1)
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: central NJ
Posts: 373
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 6 Posts
Still a problem with range. My dad is 89, can't drive as of this year due to right
leg totally falling asleep sometimes. So 2 weeks ago, drove hour north, picked him up.
Drove to DE to get some parts for a classic bronc I am restoring, then drove him home, and
then back to my house. No electric makes that trip yet.

Maybe there was a charging station somewhere out of my way, but my AWD auto Fusion Sport runs 12's with tune only
(plenty to lose lisc on DD) and was only $26K (lot of savings going to be needed from even a base AWD model 3).
It's no perf model 3 obviously, but it goes as far as needed, anytime, anywhere with 3 minute fill ups @ 140,000 places
throughout the country. .

Also parking issues. Don't always park in the same spot, sometimes over 100 feet from where
I normally park. So this thing is 12 lbs,
Amazon Amazon
whats a 100 footer, 50 lbs? I can see the 97 lb woman having to drag that thing out there in the snow for times I have to travel for
a week for work and she wants to park out near end of driveway. Doesn't even talk to the issue of cord getting frozen to driveway with
one of those storms that starts out as freezing rain/sleet, then dumps a foot of snow on top, and then I have to plow. Even my parents
who live in a moderately dense suburb, have to park on other side of street sometimes. Going to run cord across the street?

I keep my cars past the warantee. Tesla open source yet?
https://longtailpipe.com/2018/08/02/...ght-to-repair/
Software/scan tools avail?

Sounds like nightmare to get one fixed after an accident.

https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/...ter-night.aspx
https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/thre.../#post-1837123

I'm nitpicking for sure maybe, but it's also issues that are real to me, and I have no desire to work around them.
Will just wait until they figure it all out someday. Label me a hater (for now) if you have to.....

Last edited by OX; May 17, 2019 at 04:19 AM.
OX is offline  
Old May 17, 2019, 06:30 AM
  #3  
Evolved Member
 
Biggiesacks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: The Bay Area
Posts: 3,403
Received 219 Likes on 209 Posts
I have 2 major concerns preventing me from seriously considering a Tesla. The first is right to repair. The second is Cyber security. I wan't easy and reliable access to parts and information to repair and maintain my cars for as long as I want to own them. The thought of a zero day ransomware taking me hostage in my own car, or just preventing it from operating is a threat I take very seriously. I also think Tesla has been way too aggressive in pushing out the self driving tech. There are countless videos online of people abusing the tech, and pretty high profile instances of the tech failing and people getting killed. I kind of look at these things as giant Iphones on wheels, meant to be replaced rather then maintained. Meant to be traded in once the batteries start to get weak and requiring you to get an apple care plan in case you crack the screen or drop it in the toilet.

Congrats on the car, and thanks for sharing the experience. I'm sure as time goes by and the technology proliferates some of my concerns will be addressed.

P.S. I work in information security, I have seen some ****, so I'm probably more paranoid then most about what can be done by malicious code. Even just software bugs, anybody remember toyota unintended acceleration? ****in scary

Biggiesacks is offline  
Old May 17, 2019, 09:47 AM
  #4  
Evolved Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (34)
 
deeman101's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 960
Received 5 Likes on 5 Posts
Funny enough I'm actually driving a 2018 Fusion awd right now as a rental! I know it was much cheaper to buy but man I can't believe Ford makes this product today. The fit and finish, panel gaps, the ride, the cartooney interfaces. I'm glad its cheap because their competitors are blowing past. And technically the Fusion PHEV is a competitor to the lower Model 3s but you don't have to sit in each one long to decide where to go. The infrastructure in the northeast as actually the densest for superchargers. It won't get you epic range like a good diesel or long range gas car on a single charge, nor will it do 3 minute fill-ups. But I've done a lot of long distance cross continent drives and I've never turned around from a gas stop faster than 20 minutes in and out. I don't think supercharging this thing will add more than 10 minutes to that time and basically you pull up, plug in and leave. And wait for the app to tell you its ready. Theres no standing by the pump, messing with cards and the slow *** machines or going into pay, etc. and you can't use the restroom until all of this is done. You don't realize how much time that takes until you actually try to make good time on gas stops on a road trip. I'm not saying this car works for everyone and we still have a gas car, but its not really that much of a limitation at least with Teslas. With the other EVs....yea you're SOL until the VW Ionity network is everywhere too. Anyways I was comparing against other sport sedans I was cross-shopping and they would similarly fail on your usage against your Ford Fusion. BTW the range indicator is always optimistic, so I switch to just looking at battery % and judging off that. Which is ironic because the charging estimates are pessimistic and it usually finishes before the estimated times. I've cut shopping trips short because it supercharged faster than estimated and I didn't want to idle on the supercharger (there is an idling fee).

There are a surprising number of EV stalls too in parking lots. Not all of them in the middle of nowhere. At my local mall there are 8 superchargers that are basically 30 feet from the entrance. And regular chargers are easy to install but up to the business where they want them. One of my ski resorts for example has the level 2 chargers right up front near the lifts, which is way nicer than parking the 2 miles at the end of the overflow parking lot and lugging my stuff along. These things I never noticed until I was actually in the market and thinking about an EV. It also pays to get the longest range possible because yes I'd feel paranoid and want to plug in everywhere too if we had any shorter of a range. As is I'm not scared I'll every run out of charge around town before plugging it in at night.

This really is just like an iphone. I hate apple products actually because of the diehard groupies. I still dislike Tesla owners because of the same reason. Just like apple they try to make things proprietary and unserviceable. But just like apple there are people figuring out how to fix it anyways without the manufacturer's help. As long as there's a big market and need that will happen. Its just that you need to get out of the mind frame of a regular mechanic. Teslas are actually not hyper complicated, but are definitely very different. Once people figure out how to jail-break the software then we're really in business! Tesla made a mistake in letting the software control so much of the car including power level, etc. Its going to be a security flaw and I can theoretically see thieves stealing it over the internet and making it self-drive from your mall to a ship on its way to South Africa (although they'd need figure out a jail-breaked firmware because Tesla could brick it otherwise). We'll see if their software is as "hack proof" as iOS. But I definitely think the software savvy car enthusiast is going to hack the crap out of it and start modding Teslas just with firmware flashes. Remember when the R35 ecu was supposed to uncrackable? Yea, ok

And again, the bones of the car are actually very solid. The software may be an issue but the motors, chassis, battery, and electrical hardware is very well designed and integrated. Time will tell as with all cars if they will last.

Last edited by deeman101; May 17, 2019 at 09:53 AM.
deeman101 is offline  
Old May 17, 2019, 10:12 AM
  #5  
Evolved Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (34)
 
deeman101's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 960
Received 5 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Biggiesacks View Post
I also think Tesla has been way too aggressive in pushing out the self driving tech. There are countless videos online of people abusing the tech, and pretty high profile instances of the tech failing and people getting killed. I kind of look at these things as giant Iphones on wheels, meant to be replaced rather then maintained. Meant to be traded in once the batteries start to get weak and requiring you to get an apple care plan in case you crack the screen or drop it in the toilet.
Yea Tesla's strategy is a double-edged sword. They rely on media coverage and hype to keep their stock value high and stay afloat. They prematurely push the autopilot stuff out to support the hype. I know the techies love it but like I said I didn't like it. You do have to pay attention because its not full-proof at all, and most of the advanced features like lane-change and stop light recognition, etc. don't work that well at all. They are literally beta testing on the regular consumer. Thats why I don't use autopilot even though it came standard on my car and I didn't option for full self-drive. I do think they'll last longer than the average iphone does hardware-wise (the 7 year old Model S's still have most of their battery capacity) and the fact they made it so modular means its feasible to service even if not recommended by the manufacturer. Ex: usually on the wrecked or flood-damaged Teslas some of the 18 battery modules will still be fine, and they don't all die at the same time. You can pick up a used module online for $1k so you could partially replace some of the worst modules easily.
deeman101 is offline  
Old May 17, 2019, 10:31 AM
  #6  
Evolved Member
iTrader: (1)
 
letsgetthisdone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 12,198
Received 690 Likes on 653 Posts
Very cool man. I'll be considering an E-car once a better mfg comes out with one. The tesla's are cool, but sitting in them I feel likt eh quality isn't there for the price point, especially since the Edrive stuff is no more expensive to make than a gas engine.

Lucas brought his to the last half mile event. It was fun to consistently clikk off 135mph passes in it, and it definitely handles well.
letsgetthisdone is offline  
Old May 17, 2019, 10:33 AM
  #7  
Evolved Member
 
Biggiesacks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: The Bay Area
Posts: 3,403
Received 219 Likes on 209 Posts
I guess it really comes down to how aggressively Tesla is going to be about protecting their IP and the service market for their cars. If "Right to Repair" legislation starts passing I would be a little more comfortable.
Biggiesacks is offline  
Old May 17, 2019, 03:01 PM
  #8  
G20
Evolved Member
iTrader: (13)
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 1,038
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
My coworker has one in blue just like your. Accelerate instantly and hard, but kind of weird without noise it gives me headache. Anyway, don't use the autopilot, at least on the street. We ran into some dangerously close encounters while using it. One time it was late to brake for red light when driving over a bridge crossing an interstate, another time it won't slow down when our lane is started blocking by cones per minor construction ahead... Luckily my coworker was able to interfere timely.
Thanks for sharing and enjoy your new kind of car. For me not yet.
G20 is offline  
Old May 17, 2019, 10:41 PM
  #9  
Evolved Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (34)
 
deeman101's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 960
Received 5 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by letsgetthisdone View Post
Very cool man. I'll be considering an E-car once a better mfg comes out with one. The tesla's are cool, but sitting in them I feel likt eh quality isn't there for the price point, especially since the Edrive stuff is no more expensive to make than a gas engine.

Lucas brought his to the last half mile event. It was fun to consistently clikk off 135mph passes in it, and it definitely handles well.
Completely agree on the quality to price point for the Performance. The lower trims it could be acceptable. It still feels well put together compared to the average midsize car but not as good as a new M3 of comparable price. It was really hard for me to justify buying the Performance but ultimately I decided either I buy the Performance for track mode or don't buy it at all. MPP offered me a compromise with the LR rwd version they have, which is to buy that and then disable the VSC with their black box. But I wanted the awd.

The cost of building the motor may not be expensive, but Tesla has THE best EV drivetrain tech on the market. Their motors are smaller, lighter, and more powerful than any other EV. And they have the best/smallest/lightest/most powerful inverters, which is the real key to putting down a lot of power. And of course their tuning of the awd system is again probably the best. So the cost of manufacturing it may be low but its not unfair to charge a premium for the best equipment on the market.
deeman101 is offline  
Old May 18, 2019, 06:12 PM
  #10  
Evolved Member
iTrader: (1)
 
letsgetthisdone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 12,198
Received 690 Likes on 653 Posts
Originally Posted by deeman101
Completely agree on the quality to price point for the Performance. The lower trims it could be acceptable. It still feels well put together compared to the average midsize car but not as good as a new M3 of comparable price. It was really hard for me to justify buying the Performance but ultimately I decided either I buy the Performance for track mode or don't buy it at all. MPP offered me a compromise with the LR rwd version they have, which is to buy that and then disable the VSC with their black box. But I wanted the awd.

The cost of building the motor may not be expensive, but Tesla has THE best EV drivetrain tech on the market. Their motors are smaller, lighter, and more powerful than any other EV. And they have the best/smallest/lightest/most powerful inverters, which is the real key to putting down a lot of power. And of course their tuning of the awd system is again probably the best. So the cost of manufacturing it may be low but its not unfair to charge a premium for the best equipment on the market.
None of the other Ecars are really performance minded. Their current competition is a Chevy volt and Nissan Leaf lol
letsgetthisdone is offline  
Old May 18, 2019, 09:35 PM
  #11  
Evolved Member
 
Biggiesacks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: The Bay Area
Posts: 3,403
Received 219 Likes on 209 Posts
Until the Taycan anyway.
Biggiesacks is offline  
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - About Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.