Posted on July 21, 2018 by Matt Pressman
With an ongoing smear campaign leveled against Tesla, financial media outlets have been all-too-happy taking shots at the automaker. That's why it was a surprise to come across a glowing Model 3 review in the Wall Street Journal. After testing the new performance model, auto reviewer Dan Neil writes, "I know there are a lot of Tesla bears, haters and cynics out there... I’m no financial analyst, but I do know cars. If you were hoping Tesla would fail on account of the Model 3 I’ve got bad news: This thing is magnificent."
That said, Neil jokingly refers to the zero-emissions Model 3 as "a little rainbow-farting space ship." Okay, so it's not the Falcon Heavy.
Nevertheless Neil admits, "the car is a star. Doubters will have to bring it. Show me another car with an all-glass roof and five-star rollover crash rating. Point out another $80,000 sedan that out-clouds a Rolls-Royce, out-punches a Porsche Boxster and gets an electric equivalent of 116 mpg. You can’t, unless you’re building something in your garage we don’t know about."
So how does this "dual motor dynamo" fare out on the road? Neil reports, "I’m now quietly tearing the hide off this switchback road in the grass-gold hills near Silicon Valley. This is the first test drive of the hotrod Tesla. In the Performance version, two motors north and south equal 335 kW (450 hp) and digitally mastered all-wheel drive, with corner-exiting acceleration that will leave average BMW M4s with a soft auf Wiedersehen."
He adds, "The Model 3’s uncanny stability while cornering is mostly the product of its lithium-battery keel; but Tesla didn’t skimp on the suspension bits: upper and lower A arms (aluminum and steel) with virtual steer axis geometry, twin-tube coilovers and anti-roll bar in front; in the rear, a multi-link geometry, also with twin-tube shocks and anti-roll bar."
However, Neil had some constructive criticism regarding "the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S [Model 3 tires], which are nice all-rounders but not particularly grippy. My message to the engineers: more tire." Sure enough, after the article was published, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk responded (via Twitter), "Definitely. We gave up some grip & width in exchange for range. Would recommend stickier tires & wider on rear for best performance. You might get 3.3 sec 0-60 mph or better with optimized rims & tires."
Regardless, Neil sums up the Model 3 as "a thrilling, modern marvel... so obviously representative of the next step in the history of autos." So much so, that "the Model 3 is more than futuristic. It’s optimistic. This is what ordinary cars should be, which is to say, better than they are."
Source: Wall Street Journal