Refreshed Tesla Model 3 Isn't Even Remotely Suited For Track Duty

Screenshot: Misha Charoudin
Screenshot: Misha Charoudin

On paper, the recently refreshed Tesla Model 3 Performance is a serious performance bargain. It makes 510 horsepower and can hit 60 mph in a claimed 2.9 seconds while still offering an EPA-estimated range of 303 miles. It also costs a hair under $55,000 before destination, making it quicker and significantly cheaper than the BMW M3. If you just want a quick daily driver, that comparison may be fair, but as YouTuber and frequent Nurburgring driver Misha Charoudin recently found out, the Model 3 Performance is still a bad track car.

Now, that’s not to say that the Model 3 Performance isn’t quick. It definitely still is. Having 510 hp on tap tends to do that. Charoudin also praised the handling quite a few times during his recent test drive, calling it a day and night difference compared to the previous version. So it’s not like Tesla didn’t make any improvements there. It’s also possible that you’ll eventually be able to order a track package in the future that mostly solves the issues he ran into. Until that’s available, though, taking your Model 3 Performance to the track seems like a dangerously bad idea.

The biggest problem Charoudin ran into was just how terribly underbraked the car was. The actual attempt at a hot lap begins right before the five-minute mark, but two minutes later, the brakes are on fire, and you can see the smoke billowing out the back in the feed from the rear camera. From that point on, the Model 3 Performance’s lap of the Nurburgring turns into a literal cool-down lap.


Dangerously bad brakes are one thing, but Charoudin ran into battery cooling issues, too. At the beginning of the lap, the car showed a maximum output of about 390 kW or about 520 hp. Closer to the end of what was really only briefly a hot lap, that power had been cut by more than half. We saw as low as 168 kW (about 225 hp), but it’s possible we missed it dropping even lower.

If it had made it through a full hot lap, maybe you could argue the Nurburgring is just really long, and the Model 3 Performance should be plenty capable of handling other, shorter track sessions. When the driver is intentionally driving slow enough to hopefully avoid setting the brakes on fire again and still dealing with power loss, though, it’s probably best to just stay off the track altogether. Or just spend a little more money and get the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N.

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