An apparent Tesla Model 3 Highland Performance unit was recently sighted in the wild. While the vehicle still had its coverings on its front and rear, the Tesla Model 3 was equipped with what appeared to be red brake calipers.
Deliveries of the updated Model 3, known in EV circles as Project Highland, have already begun in China and Europe. Despite this, one could immediately notice that Gigafactory Shanghai so far only produces two variants of the new Model 3: the base Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) version and the mid-tier Long Range Dual Motor All Wheel Drive (AWD) variant.
😮💨 I spotted the new Performance Highland Model 3 yesterday. Red calipers pic.twitter.com/Xwxw3rp5WX— omg_Tesla/Rivian (@omg_tesla) November 7, 2023
This does not mean to say that the Model 3 Performance has been forgotten, of course. While the top-tier Model 3 variant has been absent in Model 3 Highland order pages, references to the vehicle have been emerging as of late.
Tesla’s Parts Catalog briefly included a graphic featuring a Model 3 Highland trunk with a special badge. Upon closer inspection, members of the EV community observed that the badge in the Parts Catalog looked very similar to the graphics of the Model S P100D’s Ludicrous Mode.
More recently, noted Tesla hacker @greentheonly shared images suggesting that the Model 3 Highland Performance would be equipped with Sport seats, which have more bolstering on the side and headrest. Later leaked images teased the appearance of the Sport seats, though the ones on the leaked photos featured a Plaid badge.
I think it’s safe to say that Tesla is going all in on Sport Bucket Seats. I LOVE IT.— Nic Cruz Patane (@niccruzpatane) October 30, 2023
So far we’ve seen evidence on Cybertruck, Model 3 Performance (Ludicrous) and now confirmed on Model S. Guessing X/Y will get them too. pic.twitter.com/QHdTPUhV5q
It was then almost unsurprising that the recently shared video from EV enthusiast @omg_tesla featured not a regular Model 3 Highland unit but an apparent performance variant. Tesla, after all, has equipped the majority of its Performance-branded vehicles with red brake calipers. Considering how important the Model 3 Performance is to the company’s lineup, it would not be surprising if the upgraded Model 3 Performance gets red brake calipers as well when it gets released.
The Tesla Model 3 Performance could be considered as Tesla’s most fun car. Smaller and more compact than the Model S Plaid, the Model 3 Performance, especially when its Track Mode is engaged, is a true driver’s car that can carve canyons and conquer the tight turns of a racetrack. With this in mind, it is no surprise that Tesla is seemingly taking extra time to ensure that the Model 3 Highland’s top-tier variant becomes worthy of its Performance branding.
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