2021 Tesla Model 3 Performance gives way to the 2020 version of itself in drag race

Credit: Carwow

The Tesla Model 3 has been on the market since 2017, and in typical Tesla fashion, the automaker has made several changes to the car over this period. Tesla’s updates span across all of its vehicles. Frequently referred to as “refreshes,” Tesla often updates cosmetic details and attempts to improve overall vehicle performance, whether it would be through speed and acceleration or through improvements to battery longevity and range. Carwow, a U.K.-based automotive platform, wanted to find out if the new Model 3 Performance could outduel an old Model 3 Performance on the drag strip, and the results were interesting, to say the least.

Both vehicles equip Tesla’s Dual Motor setup that comes standard with all of its Performance variants. Both Model 3s pack 457 horsepower, 660 Newton-meters of torque, and both vehicles weight is nearly identical. The old Model 3 weighs just three kilograms more at 1,847 kg, while the new Model 3 “steps” on the scale at only 1,844 kg. The wheels used on the newer Model 3 Performance are the 20″ Überturbine edition, which Carwow says are a kilogram heavier than the previously used 20″ Model 3 Sport Wheels.

The biggest changes are present in the battery pack. The previous version of the vehicle packed a 75 kWh battery pack, while new builds come with an 82 kWh pack. Other minor contributors to weight discrepancies between the two vehicles can be attributed to things as minor as the double-paned glass that Tesla included in several new cars to combat excessive cabin noise. Both vehicles operated in the “Sport” acceleration mode, the “Standard” steering mode, and regenerative braking was put on the “Standard” setting. Neither car operated in Tesla’s Track Mode.

During the two initial runs, the vehicles started from a standstill. The “old” Model 3, which was manufactured in 2020, managed to beat the new 2021 Model 3 in a race to the finish line. It wasn’t overly decisive, however, and both cars completed the 1/4-mile race in 11.7 seconds. During races where the two vehicles were at a rolling pace of 30 MPH, the two vehicles remained virtually identical, although the 2021 Model 3 crossed the finish line before its 2020 sibling.

Another rolling start race, this time at 50 MPH, proved to yield the same results. While the two vehicles seemed to travel at a nearly identical pace, the 2021 Model 3 once again crossed the finish line as a victor.

Carwow also performed a braking test, but the results were inconclusive as the track conditions seemed to affect the results during numerous test runs.

While the performance hasn’t seemed to change much between the two vehicles, it certainly appears that the race was almost too close to determine whether either of the Model 3 builds is superior to the other. Nevertheless, the race proved one thing in particular: the Model 3 is a fast, fun, and affordable EV with some of the best performance on the market for a midsized sedan. Its numerous crash safety awards and its nomination as one of the NTHSA’s Top Safety Pick+ recipients also attest to Tesla’s focus on consumer safety.

Check out the Carwow drag race below, and let us know what you think in the comments!

2021 Tesla Model 3 Performance gives way to the 2020 version of itself in drag race
To Top