P3D Test Drive Conclusions from a Model 3 Owner

Discussion in 'Tesla Experiences' started by John, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. John

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    This is a drive test of the P3D by an experienced RWD Model 3 owner who wonders if he should have waited for a P3D, and to figure out what config to get for our family's next Model 3.

    ***

    I took Tesla up on their invitation to test drive a P3D at Tesla HQ today. We're trying to figure out which config we'd like to get for our next Model 3. We're not especially in a hurry. We currently have an initial production LR PUP with sport wheels.

    The very first Model 3 I ever saw in the wild was a black one at this exact location. You can read my write up here, which is kind of poignant because back then (June 2017) we had only seen videos and photos and live sightings were quite rare. It was cool just to get a live glimpse of one, to check out the redesigned nose, and to try and get a glimpse of any HUD that might be in it. Different times.

    Fast forward and here I am today pulling into the same driveway, but this time I'm the driver of the black Model 3, and it's got 9,600 miles (15,400 kms) on it.

    There was valet parking for peoples' cars, so for once I was in a place where I could hand them a key card and they'd totally know what to do. Nice.

    This is the second weekend they've been doing this mass test driving at Tesla HQ. They have a fleet of twenty (20) maxed-out P3Ds, in every color. I looked at them all, and while they all looked familiar, the one that really stood out to me was the white one with white interior—it makes quite an impression. It's a lot of white, and that is one airy, fun-looking car. White is not my cup of tea, but I may try to encourage that color combo for my wife. She may think it's a little over the top, dunno. The rest of them looked just like I'd imagined. A year ago I would have been gobsmacked to see a herd of them like that.

    After a very short wait, my copilot Kate scooped me up in the lobby and said, "Pick one!" I pointed to a midnight silver one, but it turned out there was someone already nosing around the back seat. "Oh, media person. Pick another?" So we took a blue one. From the inside, they all look pretty much the same give or take a fender or mirror edge here or there, so I really didn't care.

    They have a very nice 20 minute test loop worked out that includes winding mountain roads, frontage roads, and a highway. So you get a good sense of handling and power. For reference, I floored it 5 times. The only pain was that it's also a favorite bike route, so there was also plenty of "slow down and move over for bicyclists" while we were in the hills.

    Many people have written test drive stories from all sorts of perspectives. Here's the skinny from my point of view, having driven a RWD model for the last four months or so and having wondered if I should have gotten the P3D. And to get a sense of the magnitude of the differences to use in deciding the config of the next one.

    Handling
    A little firmer, but not much. Still doesn't have that hard "on rails" feel like you'd want on a track, but still a very nice balance of bump absorption and low roll on corners. A titch less sway and dive, but not a different class of firm from the LR. They took a really nice-handling car and gave it a little tweak.

    Power
    The car I drove had 262 miles of range left, which is an 85% state of charge. That's a pretty strong number, but the car would be even a little faster if it was topped off. But it didn't need it.

    It was very quick. The best way I could describe it from an experienced owner's point of view is that whereas the LR feels a little nerfed at points, the P3D does not. It pulls harder from a stop, and it continues to pull just as relentlessly up through at least 90 mph (150 kph). I tend to glance down at the speed after a few seconds of a hard launch to watch my speed, and in my car I typically see ~50 mph (80 kph), whereas in the P3D I never looked down quick enough to see a number below 60 mph (100 kph). It gets there quick. It goes from legal to illegal (we have no Autobahn here) super quickly.

    Emotionally, both the LR and the P3D live in the same neighborhood in Delightful Town. But P3D clearly has a little bigger house.

    If P3D is 11 on the delight scale, my LR to me is somewhere in the 9 range. It's not like you drive a P3D and think, "Oh, my car feels like a dog now." Nope, you just remember that the P3D took it to a new level. You have to be careful in a lowly LR. You really have to be careful in a P3D.

    (Side note: on the way to the test drive I saw a Model 3 pulled over for a speeding ticket. Cautionary tale.)

    So for me the decision will come down to: is a noticeable bump in quickness from "quick enough" to "more than quick enough" worth $14,000? Is the lowered suspension worth another $5,000 on top of that?

    Advice

    If you would NEVER floor it when a Mustang revved its engine next to you at a stop light, and you'd never just "go out for a fun drive," then save the money. You will find the LR (or probably even SR I'm guessing) to be a really, really delightful car. You will have no complaints about power or handling. Non-performance Model 3 is a blast to drive, handles great, and it accelerates plenty quickly for, well, anything you might legally or responsibly do. And you can save quite a bit of money by not going for P3D.

    On the other hand, if you've got $14,000 rattling around with no better ideas of what to do with it and live somewhere you can let this beast play a good bit, or even have access to a track or strip you plan to race it on, I would highly recommend P3D if you have the means. It's choice. It's a larger dose of goodness, and it's what you want in a race. But if we're being real here, it's a sturdy chunk of change and you'll need a fairly serious driving hobby to really justify the outlay now. If you've never replaced the springs or shocks on your car to get better handling, or you tend to buy tires with a high tread wear rating so that they will last longer, this might not be you.

    For people who like "too much," it's perfect.

    Tesla doesn't make slow cars, and the LR that I drive is already super fun and frankly a little too tempting to blast around town in (I really need to knock that off). If you get onto a highway and floor it, you jump of ahead of all traffic easily. Being able to blast around town harder and jump ahead of traffic more dramatically starts to feel a little like a bad idea.

    A really fun, really bad idea.
     
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  2. batzman

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    Thank you for doing what I’d like to do, drive a P3D and compare it to my LR. It was my assumption that I’d come out the same opinion and I am now glad I read your post.
     
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  3. Jedi2155

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    Great to hear your opinion. This is totally me...but I guess the non-P recommendation didn't apply to me...I had a AWD on order and changed the configuration to a RWD upon hearing the range losses on the EPA test. After hearing of the neutered 0-20 on the RWD relative to AWD, and free supercharging, I went beyond my normal comfort zone and opted for a P.....

    Sometimes you just gotta splurge on the fun....especially if you don't upgrade all the time.
     
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  4. garsh

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    The RWD Model 3 is a very, VERY quick car. Unless you're used to a sports car, or a higher-end sports sedan, the RWD Model 3 is going to be quicker than anything you're used to.

    After test-driving a RWD Model 3 for the first time on Friday, I'm "uncomfortably excited" about the Performance Model 3 I've ordered. :eek::)
     
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  5. viperd

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    @John how does the regen compare between your LR and the P3D?
     
  6. NJturtlePower

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    #6 NJturtlePower, Aug 13, 2018 at 10:51 AM
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018 at 11:18 AM
    Like I say to all my friends and family...it's not just about 0-60 runs, it's any speed to any speed at ANY time! Lane changes are instant and without hesitation or gear searching....it's a whole different ballpark of driving experience coming from and ICE, even performance variants.

    Yesterday on the highway, open left lane (in Mexico of course) was at 80mph, punched it and was at 95mph way too fast... and didn't feel any different than 60mph, that's the tricky part. ;)
     
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  7. John

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    Didn't notice a significant difference.
    Drove there in a RWD, tested the AWD for 20 minutes, drove home in a RWD. Never thought about it.
     
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  8. John

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    Thinking about it later, I did not notice any significant engine whine from the front. Might have been there if I listened really closely, but it's probably like panel gaps: don't matter unless you're specifically hunting for them. Sounded like my car.

    I would also add that the fact that the car was AWD wasn't apparent in the test drive. What's apparent is that it's got much more power on tap when you want it. Beyond that, it feels like a RWD Model 3 that got a fairly sturdy torque boost. It's not like I was drifting around turns or anything, and driving at the limits of traction. Probably helped at least at the beginning of 0-60 runs when the rear wheels were at traction limits, but after that, you couldn't tell in the handling.
     
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