Save for a thin carbon fiber spoiler, a red-underlined Dual Motor badge at the rear, and 20″ Sport tires; the Model 3 Performance is virtually indistinguishable from the rest of Tesla’s Model 3 lineup. This was something addressed in Motor Trend‘s review of the vehicle, when the publication described the Model 3 Performance as a “highway assassin dressed in Banana Republic.” Couple this with the fact that the aforementioned spoiler, badge, and wheels are part of Tesla’s optional $5,000 Performance Upgrade, and owners could easily end up with an electric sedan that is way faster than it looks.
Sleepers are cars that look unassuming on the outside but are equipped with high-performance components on the inside. A Model 3 Performance that fits this bill recently competed in a drag race, where it ended up being matched with an unfortunate victim — an Infiniti G35 Coupe.
The Infiniti G35 Coupe is arguably one of the most popular sports coupes developed by the high-end Japanese carmaker. Sharing the platform of Nissan’s legendary 350Z, the Infiniti G35 is a representation of a vehicle that features a perfect balance between performance and luxury. The G35 features Nissan’s FM (front midship) platform, where the engine is moved towards the rear of the engine bay to improve the car’s weight distribution. Just like the Nissan 350Z, the Infiniti G35 is equipped with a 3.5-liter VQ35DE V6 engine, which is paired with either a 5-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual transmission.
The G35 was only in production from 2002-2007 before it was replaced by the Infiniti G37, but it still garnered several notable awards during its tenure. It won Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year award in 2003, and was nominated for the North American Car of the Year award in the same year. The vehicle also made it to Car and Driver‘s Ten Best list for 2003 and 2004.
Unfortunately for the Infiniti G35, it recently found itself beside the Model 3 Performance on the drag strip. A video of the two vehicles’ competition was uploaded by Chill Cars, an auto enthusiast channel on YouTube. The Model 3 Performance in the run was pretty much a sleeper, as the vehicle did not seem to have a spoiler or a Dual Motor badge. The vehicle was also fitted with 18″ Aero Wheels, making it look completely identical to a non-performance Model 3. The only giveaway to the electric car’s Performance moniker were its white seats, which are so far only offered for the Dual Motor AWD and Performance variants.
The race between the Infiniti G35 and the “sleeper” Model 3 Performance was brief. As soon as the light turned green, the all-electric car shot off into the distance, thoroughly dominating its gas-powered competitor. The Model 3 Performance finished the quarter mile in 11.77 seconds while traveling at 113.55 mph. The Infiniti G35 finished the race in 15.46 seconds at 93.88 mph.
The Model 3 Performance, together with the Dual Motor AWD variant, are proving to be quite popular among Tesla’s reservation holders. In the company’s Q2 2018 earnings call, Tesla’s global head of sales Robin Ren stated that the combined orders for the Dual Motor AWD and the Performance Model 3 now exceed the number of orders for the Long Range RWD version.
Watch the Model 3 Performance duel the Infiniti G35 in the video below.