Tesla’s facelifted Model 3 is due to be delivered to UK customers from January 2024 and will come with a longer range on a single battery charge, the US brand has confirmed.
The Model 3 isn’t just the American electric car-maker’s cheapest electric car, it’s also one of the world’s best-selling EVs (electric vehicles) and a pillar of the manufacturer’s recent success.
A host of new upgrades for the revised car include fresh looks, a smarter interior and quieter cabin. But the big news is the improvement in range taking it over 400 miles and making it one of the longest-distance EVs between charges sold in Britain today.
Here’s how much you will have to pay to get your hands on one…
Tesla Model 3 gets a nip and a tuck: This is the facelifted version of Tesla’s most-affordable EV model. It will be coming to the UK in January with new looks, a longer range and a change in price…
‘Six years after the first car rolled off the assembly line and over 2 million units later, we are bringing a significant update to Model 3 rear-wheel drive and long range all-wheel drive,’ Tesla UK said.
‘This update brings more refinement and comfort – inside and out – while staying true to its sleek, uncluttered design aesthetic.
‘We have not departed from what made Model 3 a global best-seller: delivering great range and efficiency with sports-car performance and handling at an approachable price point.
‘The upgraded Model 3 is instantly recognisable as a Model 3 with a refined body and presence, better aero, new lighting, and a brand new interior that elevates what customers love about Model 3.’
The manufacturers claims that more than half of Model 3’s components have been changed from before.
All the upgrades are said to be driven by feedback from existing customers who told the US firm what they did – and didn’t – like about their EVs.
More good news is that prices have dropped by around £2,000.
The entry Model 3 rear wheel drive now starts from £39,990 and the Model 3 long range variant will ring in from £49,990.
Order books have already opened to UK customers and the Tesla UK website is now showing the upgraded car.
First deliveries are promised from the beginning of the new year.
Fresh styling tweaks have improved aerodynamics and therefore increased battery range. Even with the same battery and electric motor setup as the pre-facelifted Model 3, Tesla is quoting a boost in efficiency of around 5 to 8%
Despite the addition of these two ‘new’ colours (ultra red and stealth grey), customers will have a very limited customisation choice when ordering a Model 3
Prices will start from £39,990 for the standard Model 3 rear wheel drive, while the long range variant will ring in from £49,990. For the longest range from both cars, customers will need to order theirs with smaller 18-inch Aero wheels and not the £1,500 optional 19-inch wheels pictured here
Tell me about the improved range…
The major upgrade news is that Model 3’s range has been increased – and quite significantly so that the most expensive variant can now keep going for over 400 miles (according to official tests and not real-world driving).
This is the result of improved aerodynamic rather than a change to the battery packs and electric motors, Tesla says.
The styling upgrades means a lower drag coefficient rating of 0.219 – down from what was already a slippery 0.23 drag coefficient measurement for the pre-facelift car.
Redesigned wheels – which Tesla claims are 5 per cent more aerodynamic – and new tyres with less rolling resistance also help to boost range by between 5 per cent and 8 per cent, depending on specification, the company says.
The entry Model 3 rear wheel drive now has an official range of up to 344 miles, which is a 39 miles on the 305 previously offered.
The more expensive long range version gets an extra 27 miles, up to 421 miles from 394 previously.
The standard Model 3 with 245bhp is quoted to hit 62mph from a standstill in 5.8 seconds, while the 351bhp long range variant can achieve that speed in 4.2 seconds.
Top speed for both remains electronically limited to 125mph.
Charging speeds are also unchanged.
A range-topping Model 3 performance has not been announced just yet. However, we would expect the 456bhp four-wheel-drive version to be capable of going for around 360 miles between charges.
At first glance, it’s clear to see the biggest change to the Model 3 – its the reshaped front end, including these narrower headlight clusters
The rest of the Model 3 bodywork is largely unchanged, though the rear lights incorporated into the boot lid are now in a boomerang-like C shape
Tesla Model 3 gets sleek new looks
In terms of the fresh looks, the biggest change to the Model 3 is the reshaped front end.
Tesla emphasises it ‘stays true to the sleek, uncluttered design aesthetic’ of the original Model 3.
It comes with narrower and more powerful headlights, meaning there is no longer a need for separate fog lights and the lower bumper can have a sleeker shape.
This helps to reduce drag – and therefore increase range – and wind noise at a cruising speeds to improve refinement, the company claims.
There’s also a new air curtain chiselled into the reshaped bonnet.
The rest of the Model 3 bodywork is largely unchanged, though the rear lights incorporated into the boot lid are now in a C shape.
It should be noted that Tesla highlights it has upgraded the Model 3’s doors with improved structural reinforcement to withstand heavier impact.
This also means they have a more premium-sounding ‘clunk’ when closing, giving the impression of a boost in quality.
Every glass panel in the new Model 3 is soundproof double-glazed. There’s also less road rumble thanks to new tyres with redesigned sidewalls for better cushioning
Tesla has promised that occupants throughout the facelifted Model 3 will benefit from its new premium sound system. Occupants in the back also now get heated seats
Improvements to cabin noise with less road rumble and more audio performance
Tesla also promises a more hushed ride than the Model 3 delivered previously.
With electric drivetrains producing only a low-level whine compared to the rumble of a traditional combustion engine, many motorists who haven’t tried an EV think they’re all almost silent.
But that’s not the case, and many electric cars suffer from terrible road and wind noise as a result of their quieter powertrains.
Tesla says it has actively tried to improve this element, with the new tyres feature redesigned sidewalls are claimed to improve cushioning while also reducing road noise.
And refinement is also improved by double-glazed windows all around the new model, and advances to the suspension and seal rubbers.
The front seats of the facelifted Tesla Model 3 are vented, meaning the driver and front passenger should stay cooler in summer conditions
As well as reduced noise, Tesla says occupants – no matter which seat they’re sitting – will hear the benefits of its new premium audio system.
It features 17 speakers, dual subwoofers and dual amplifiers for long range vehicles and 9 speakers, a single subwoofer and amplifier for rear-wheel drive vehicles.
And to guarantee that buyers and their family and friends sit more comfortably than before, the Model 3’s seats now have ventilation to blow cool air into the back and bottom of the driver and passenger. And every seat in the vehicle has heating.
Tesla has done away with stalks behind the wheel for driver controls. Instead, the indicator switches are on the steering wheel
New driving controls
Existing Tesla owners will quickly notice the Model 3 has no stalks branching from steering wheel columns.
That’s because all the controls previously operated by these have been shifted elsewhere with haptic switches and physical buttons.
For instance, indicators are now activated via controls on the touchscreen and the drive selector is now part of the touchscreen operation.
‘Once you’re seated and belted, simply press the brake pedal and swipe up or down on the left-side of the screen to engage Drive or Reverse. The gear-shifter automatically appears when you press the brake or at low speeds, for quick changes,’ Tesla says.
‘And when Autoshift Out Of Park (Beta) is enabled, simply buckle your seat belt, close the door and press the brake – the car will automatically select Drive or Reverse according to your surroundings. Just like the latest Model S and Model X.’
As for the dashboard touchscreen itself, this is a 15.4-inch device with a slimmer bezel and brighter display with a more responsive and customisable user interface. It’s also said to get ‘better over time with OTA [over the air] updates’.
Passengers in the back now get their own 8-inch screen, which controls the climate and ventilation settings as well as the entertainment functions
Tesla’s interior design team has doubled the number of wireless phone chargers and there are also improvements in charging facilities and connectivity
The company also claims 50 per cent improved cellular, double the Wi-F range and dual-band Wi-Fi capabilities of both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz.
Passengers in the back get their own screen, too.
That’s because the facelifted Model 3 has an all-new 8-inch rear display with integrated climate control, ventilation, and entertainment functions.
Tesla interior designers have also added a second wireless phone chargers and there are now three USB-C charging ports, meaning you can keep the batteries of all your gadgets topped up on the move.
Tesla Model 3 facelift: Will it fit in my garage?
While Tesla is only selling UK customers its more expensive Model S and Model X in left hand drive, the facelifted Model 3 coming to British buyers will have the steering wheel on the right
On sale: Now
First deliveries: from January 2024
Price: from £39,900 for Tesla Model 3 Rear Wheel Drive; from £49,990 for Tesla Model 3 Long Range
Width (including mirrors): 2,089mm
Ground clearance: 138mm
Weight: 1,765kg (Model 3 RWD); 1,828kg (Model 3 Long Range)
Power: up to 351bhp (Model 3 Long Range)
Acceleration (0-62mph): 4.2 secs (Model 3 Long Range)
Top speed: 125mph
Range: up to 421 miles (Model 3 Long Range)
Front trunk space: 88 litres
Rear boot space: 594 litres
Towing capacity: 1,000kg
Don’t worry, it’s coming in right-hand drive
Earlier this year, Tesla UK confirmed both the Model S and X is to only be sold to Britons in left-hand-drive.
However, UK-bound Model 3s will be RHD, making them more appealing to British customers.
The facelift also sees the introduction of two new colour choices – ultra red and stealth grey.
‘Ultra red is a high-chroma colour with dynamic depth created from a multi-coat paint. Stealth grey is a rich and dynamic dark grey metallic colour that accentuates the shape of Model 3,’ Tesla says.
Pearl white, solid black and deep blue metallic paints have been carried over, though with just five colours available, there’s still a limited range of choices when compared to rivals.
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