This is it, the Tesla Model 3
It's here. It's official. The Tesla Model 3 has arrived. In style. Elon Musk took the stage last night to introduce the world to the next wave of automotive disruption. This car is going to make waves. Make no mistake, Tesla has delivered something that will shake the auto industry to its core. Ars Technica asked Musk about the reservation count and reports: "The CEO then went on to say the net reservation number was currently 'over half a million.'"
Above: The Model 3 looks stunning in red (Source: Tesla)
What's it like to drive a Model 3? According to my favorite review thus far, from Motor Trend: "The Tesla Model 3 is here, and it is the most important vehicle of the century." Kim Reynolds writes, "The ride is Alfa Giulia (maybe even Quadrifoglio)–firm, and quickly, I’m carving Stunt Road like a Sochi Olympics giant slalomer, micrometering my swipes at the apexes... The Model 3 is so unexpected scalpel-like, I’m sputtering for adjectives."
Above: Tesla's Model 3 in blue (Image: Tesla)
Reynolds raves, "Have I ever driven a more startling small sedan? I haven’t. At speed, it gains a laser-alertness I haven’t encountered before. By happenstance, associate road test editor Erick Ayapana had penciled me into a 2.0-liter Alfa Romeo Giulia to get here, and it feels like a wet sponge by comparison." By the way, the Alfa Romeo Giulia starts at $38,990, or $73,595 for the Quadrifoglio.
Above: The Model 3 in midnight silver (Image: Tesla)
How about the interior? Car and Driver reports, "once you open the Aston Martin–esque door handles with a push-pull motion and slip behind the wheel, it’s clear the inside is where the real innovation lies. There are no visible vents. Just two minimalist stalks—a shifter on the right and turn-signal/windshield-washer controls on the left—sprout from the steering column, and a giant screen dominates the center of the cockpit. Behind the steering wheel is nothing but windshield. It’s disorienting for the first few minutes and then you never notice it again. Let your worries about the lack of an instrument cluster fade away."
Above: A look inside the sleek, modern, minimalist interior (Image: Tesla)
The tech press was equally impressed. Darrell Etherinton at TechCrunch writes after his test drive, "it’s definitely the most fun I’ve ever had driving a car in this price range... It’s hard to stress how much of a step up this will be for most drivers in terms of pure driving experience: It’s basically apples to oranges. So much so that based on that brief trial alone, it’s likely my next vehicle purchase."
Above: Behind the scenes at Tesla (Image: Tesla)
The financial press was equally impressed. Matthew DeBord at Business Insider, typically cynical of Tesla, writes, "I just drove the Tesla Model 3, and it changes everything — the entire world will want this car... [and] I've driven pretty much every other all-electric car you can buy, and I can safely say that the Model 3 has no competition. But it's more than that... The Model 3 stokes immediate desire, and the lust lingers. That truly changes everything."
Above: A fantastic 5-minute recap of the launch event (Youtube: The Verge)