5 Reasons Why Every Gearhead Should Drive A Tesla Model 3 (5 Reasons Why We Wouldn't Buy One) – HotCars

The Tesla Model 3 offers a somewhat affordable entry into the world of performance EVs, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
In the United States, the first electric car dates to the late nineteenth cenurty, being the invenition of William Morrison of Des Moines, Iowa. The early electric cars were basically electric motors strapped to wagons. Today, even internal combustion engine powered cars are much more than simple wagons affixed with engines. Tesla, one of the most valuable vehicle manufacturers in the world and led by the world's richest man, produces a lineup of electric-only vehicles. While Tesla is not the first automaker to produce electric cars, it is the most successful.
The Tesla Model 3 is Tesla's entry-level vehicle. It can be optioned three ways, each way increasing price and performance. Regardless which level of Model 3 one chooses, the car can be optioned with a highly sophisticated tech package that enables self-driving. This car is cool, and is one of the best-selling electric cars in the world. Here are five reasons why every gearhead should take one for a drive, and, five reasons why we would not buy one.
A Jetson's style combination of aircraft and automobile is not here, yet. What is here, however, is a car that's widely available and it can be optioned with, what Tesla calls, "Full Self-Driving Capability" and comes standard with autopilot. Autopilot enables acceleration, braking, and steering within a single lane.
Self-Driving is a separate package that takes advantage of 360 degree camera viewing, twelve ultrasonic sensors, and 820 feet of range. The self-driving features: autopark, auto lane change, summoning — asking your car to come to you, and navigation while driving itself. If a gearhead were to drive one, driving a Model 3 with Self-Driving Capability would be incredible. In what other car can you sit and experience simply sitting while the car drives?
Related: 5 Future Electric Cars We Can't Wait To Drive (5 We Don't Care About)
Any true gearhead knows about the thrills of the shifter. However, whether manual or automatic, a car with a visible and attractive shifter is exponentially more enjoyable than a car without one. Of course, the manual shifter provides the most engaging and visceral driving experience. A manually shifted automatic transmission (with a column shifter, center console handle, or modern paddles) is exciting, as well.
The Tesla Model 3 does not have a traditional shifter because there is not a transmission! There are not any gears to change. Instead, the driver simply manipulates a steering-column mounted toggle and the "gear" is displayed on the massive screen in the center of the dashboard. Where is the old-fashioned "gearhead" fun of rowing through the gears?
Oh, but who needs a shifter or transmission when you can drive a futuristic race car? In 2018, the overall record at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb was set by Romain Dumans in an all electric VW ID. R Pikes Peak Racer. This year, Evasive Motorsports competed in Pikes Peak with a modified Model 3 with Dai Yoshihara as the driver.
Evasive did not modify the electric motor or battery of the Model 3, it produces 450 horsepower and 471 lb-ft of torque from one battery and two motors. Though, Evasive Motorsports does believe that more performance can be extracted from the motor and battery. With a racing prospect for the Model 3 and factory specs like that, what gearhead would not want to take it for a spin?
A true gearhead loves the sound of an engine revving — maybe a Coyote 5.0 V8 turning at 7,000 rpm, or a GT3 Cup Car redlining at 8,750 rpm, or, you love the sound of Group B anti-lag turbo cracks and fireballs. Or, maybe the straight-cut gear wine of a sequential transmission?
Regardless of the noise, a true gearhead loves automotive sounds. With the Tesla Model 3 you do not even get the artificial sound of air being pumped into the cabin from the engine intake to simulate engine sounds because there is no engine, no turbo, and no transmission! There is nothing to make that characteristic mechanical music.
The Tesla Model 3 can have some very impressive performance figures from the factory that would obligate taking it for a spin. Being a car of the future means there are impressive features that an internal combustion engine car, or a generic car for that matter, would not normally have.
In base trim, the Model 3 has one motor, is rear-wheel drive, does 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds, and has 267 miles of range — not very inspiring performance. However, the Long Range trim has dual motors, is all-wheel drive, does 0-60 in 4.2 seconds, has 334 miles of range, and a top speed of 145 mph — fairly respectable performance. The Performance trim has dual motors, is all-wheel drive, and has a top speed of 162 mph! Very impressive factory figures!
Related: 5 Reasons Why The Tesla Model 3 Performance Is Awesome (5 Reasons We Still Won't Buy One)
The shape of a car is important to a gearhead. Very few cars can pull off having many doors. The Tesla Model 3 is not a car that can pull off having numerous doors. Unfortunately, it looks like a bizarre cross between hot-hatch and sedan with the doors exploded.
The weird rear hatch trunk thing should stay closed at all times. The rear taillights are slightly ford Taurus-ish, and the doors seem somehow too large. The car is cool when everything is shut, but a gearhead cares about the way their car looks at all times. The Model 3 is an awkward looking car when fully opened.
How undeniably cool is it to have two motors in anything? Hot rodders have been doing up custom cars with multiple engines forever, with endless coolness. Using multiple electric motors on cars is not a new practice. Electric cars have come with multiple motors since their inception.
What is cool about the Model 3's design is that each axle has its own electric motor. The all-wheel drive makes the car practical, while the dual motors amplifies the awesomeness. Imagine the unique senation of torque and horsepower delivered at each axle! Usually, multiple sources of propulsion are for dreams and custom-builds. What gearhead would protest a spin dual motor anything?
Whether you consider the new or used prices of a Model 3, quickly you realize that cooler cars can be had for less. Expect to spend about $40,000 on a used Model 3 and about $59,000 for a new performance trim. Note, the $59k price tag is before the full self-driving option, which bumps the price to almost $70k!
One could buy a used 2012 Shelby GT500 that is well maintained with fairly low miles for around $40,000. That is 550 horsepower, 510 ft-lbs of torque, and 6 speed American muscle greatness. Or, one could buy an exhilarating Honda S2000 that is also nicely maintained with fairly low miles for about $30,000. If you are a gearhead that likes a European project, an e46 M3 can be had for about $20,000 or less. Cooler and cheaper cars than the Model 3 are aboundant.
Related: Cool Used Sporty Cars Even We Can Afford
The Model 3 looks a little awkward with the doors open. However, when all the doors are closed, it looks remarkable from the side. The body lines are smooth, and the aerodynamics are slippery. The flushed door handles emphasize these features.
From the side, the Model 3 has an excellent wedge shape, evocative of race cars and performance vehicles. It looks like there should be a grumbling, supercharged V8 or a raspy naturally aspirated V10 under the hood. One could actually forget that is has far too many doors.
Let's be honest, the front end of the Tesla Model 3 is hideous. There is a surprising lack of detail and thought put into the front fascia. A Model S has an attractive design with an elegant emblem.
For the Model 3, there is nothing but pursed lips or a duckbill. It needs a redesigned front fascia before any gearhead would lust after it.
For every powerful and great-sounding engine, there is a good set of brakes to keep things in check.