After six years, and blockbuster sales amounting to two million units sold globally, Tesla has given the Model 3 a refresh with aesthetic enhancements, more range, and feature upgrades. Following a fanatical public discourse around numerous spy shots and speculations, the new Model 3 could be one of the most anticipated electric vehicles of the year.
The updated Model 3, which was apparently internally codenamed Project Highland, is more chiselled, flaunts a redesigned front and rear, and gets a revamped interior. Tesla said it has improved its aerodynamics to extract more range and to reduce drag and wind noise. For now, the updates have come only to the rear-wheel-drive and long-range (LR) versions.
The front end is edgier than before with cleaner character lines, a redesigned headlamp housing, and new signature LED daytime running lights. The crease at the edge of the bonnet that previously tapered off under the headlamps is now much sharper and extends to the wings/fenders.
The side profile remains identical, while the rear end features prominent wraparound C-shaped taillights, with Tesla now spelled out between the lights, replacing the logo. The multi-spoke wheel design is also new. The brand is adding two new colours, Ultra Red and Stealth Gray.
Gallery: Tesla Model 3 Facelift
The dimensions remain largely the same, but the Model 3 is now longer by 25 millimetres (1 inch), measuring 4,720 mm (185.8 in), while it is one-tenth of an inch shorter in height at 1,441 mm (56.7 in). Ground clearance on the other hand is negligibly reduced from 140 mm (5.5 in) to 138 mm (5.4 in), as per the spec sheet.
The estimated WLTP range for the updated RWD Model 3 with 18-inch wheels is 344 miles (554 kilometres), while the LR variant is good for 421 miles (678 km). That’s roughly an 11 to 12 percent increase from the current models’ WLTP range of 305 and 374 miles, respectively. Note that the EPA figures will vary significantly for the US-spec electric saloon.
With the optional 19-inch “Nova” wheels, the RWD Model 3 will go 319 miles (513 km) on a single charge on the WLTP cycle, while the LR version is rated for 391 miles (629 km). Performance figures appear to have remained the same, with a 0-62 mile-per-hour time of 6.1 seconds for the RWD model, and 4.4 seconds for the LR all-wheel-drive variant.
The new RWD version (19-inch rims) consumes 13.2 kilowatt hours for every 62 miles (100 km) on the European test cycle, while the LR uses 14.0 kWh for the same distance.
The Model 3 interior now appears more lounge-like. It features a wraparound design, with an “enveloping architecture” featuring aluminium and fabric materials. The new ambient lighting covers the entire cabin. The brand claimed that the cabin is quieter thanks to acoustic glass and improved soundproofing materials.
There’s more digital real estate inside. The 15.4-inch central screen is the same size but features slimmer bezels for a more usable screen area. There’s also a new 8.0-inch rear display with integrated climate, ventilation, and infotainment controls. Tesla has replaced the column-mounted levers with steering-mounted controls, like the Model S and Model X.
LR model customers will now enjoy music from 17 speakers, three more than before, with two subwoofers and two amplifiers. The RWD will get nine speakers, one subwoofer, and one amplifier. Tesla is also claiming a more powerful microphone to improve call quality.
Deliveries of the updated Model 3 will begin in late October in Europe and the Middle East. We’re expecting Tesla to announce details about the North American model and its availability soon.
Several reports indicate that production of the refreshed Model 3 is already underway at Gigafactory Shanghai, which is the largest producer of Tesla EVs, and a global export hub. The North American version will likely be US-made, at the brand’s Fremont facility in California where test mules have been spied on several times.
Along with the new Model 3 launch, the Cybertruck delivery event is also imminent.