When Elon Musk revealed the specs of the Model 3 Performance on Twitter, he noted that the electric sedan would be able to outperform iconic high-performance cars like the BMW M3 around the track. In true Tesla tradition, the Model 3 Performance is a beast when it comes to acceleration, with the electric sedan being listed with a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds.
Also in true Tesla tradition, the electric car turned out to be a little bit faster than Elon Musk’s initially-announced figures. Musk himself teased improvements in the Model 3 Performance’s power on Twitter before deliveries of the vehicle began, noting that Tesla would probably be able to increase the vehicle’s output by “a little,” and later stating that the electric car could probably do 0-60 mph runs in 3.3 seconds provided that it’s equipped with grippier tires and wider rear wheels.
VBOX Tests of the electric car doing 0-60 mph runs show that the Model 3 Performance can hit Elon Musk’s quoted 3.3 seconds with stock tires and wheels. With a full battery, the Model 3 Performance was even able to hit 60 mph in just 3.18 seconds, far quicker than Tesla’s official estimates.
So what happens now if the Model 3 Performance is fitted with lightweight rims and broader, grippier tires? That question was recently addressed by Tesla owner-enthusiast Erik Strait, better known as the host of YouTube’s DÆrik channel. The YouTube host opted to acquire a set of lightweight, staggered wheels from T-Sportline to see how the vehicle’s acceleration changes depending on the Model 3 Performance’s wheels and tires.
The lightweight rims installed on the vehicle were around 32 pounds lighter than Tesla’s 20″ Sport Wheels for the Model 3 Performance. The rear tires were also 2 inches wider than Tesla’s stock tires, giving the electric sedan a staggered wheel setup.
Some car manufacturers employ staggered wheels for their high-performance models. Chevrolet, for example, adopts this wheel setup for the Corvette. While staggered wheels give vehicles a better stance, the configuration also improves handling and control, as well as traction. There is a reason why cars optimized for high-speed driving such as F-1 racers use staggered wheel setups, after all.
As could be seen in DÆrik’s video, the Model 3 Performance, when fitted with lightweight wheels and staggered tires, can hit 60 mph in just 3.13 seconds — and that’s with the vehicle not being fully charged. With a full battery, there is a good chance that the electric car could get even better acceleration figures. Ultimately, stickier wheels and wider tires don’t make the Model 3 Performance as quick as a Ludicrous Mode-enabled Model S P100D, which goes from 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds, but the electric sedan is still plenty quick.
Besides, one of the biggest draws of the Model 3 Performance is the fact that its capabilities go beyond straight line acceleration. The electric sedan is the first among Tesla’s lineup that is set to receive a dedicated Track Mode, which optimizes the vehicle for hard driving around racecourses. Elon Musk calls Track Mode the “Expert User Mode” for the car, and if early reviews of the feature are any indication, the electric sedan might very well be the first Tesla that could dominate on the track as well as the Model S P100D dominates on the drag strip.
Watch the Model 3 Performance’s acceleration with a staggered wheel setup in the video below.