First drive: 2024 Tesla Model 3

For the driver, the rearranged controls will make the biggest difference. Like in the Tesla Model S, the stalks on the steering column have been removed. The car now guesses your intended direction of travel and asks you to confirm by tapping the brake pedal, with a slider on the touch screen acting as a back-up. The new three spoke steering wheel houses haptic buttons to control the lights, indicators, wipers and cruise control. It all works better than you might expect, but not quite as well as a standard stalk.

Those sitting in the back get a new 8.0in touchscreen with integrated air vents on the back of the centre console, allowing occupants to adjust the ventilation and heated seats and watch movies and videos.

From a safety aspect, the doors have now been reinforced to provide greater protection in a side impact. As a result, they also close with a more reassuring clunk.

The lack of refinement and perceived quality were always our main gripes with the Tesla Model 3, and while these tweaks don’t propel it past the BMW i4 in those respects, Tesla has certainly closed the gap.

Meanwhile, Tesla remains very strong on electric drivetrain technology. Battery capacity and charging speeds are unchanged at 170kW for the standard car and 250kW for the Long Range.

However, a lower drag coefficient of 0.219 helps boost efficiency, resulting in a claimed range increase of 5-8%. On the standard 18in wheels, the standard rear-wheel drive version has a WLTP claim of 344 miles (up from 305), while the Long Range, with its bigger battery and dual motors, claims 421 miles (up from 394). Opt for the larger 19in items and this drops to 318 miles and 390 miles respectively. Those numbers are no longer out of reach of a Polestar 2, but you can bet on the Tesla’s real-world efficiency being better, thus making it cheaper to run.

Performance from the electric powertrain on both versions remain the same, with the only difference being those 18in tyres have a reduced top speed of 125mph. That means a 0-62mph time of 6.1sec for the 245bhp entry-level car, and 4.4sec for the 351bhp Long Range. The Performance model hasn’t been officially confirmed, but expect it to arrive later.

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