Tesla Model 3 receives refreshed look, loses stalks

Tesla on Thursday unveiled the revamped version of its Model 3, which had previously been code named “Highland,” in European-market spec.

An exterior styling refresh is “optimized for maximum aerodynamics,” according to Tesla, although the automaker didn’t disclose an updated coefficient of drag. Photos released by Tesla show a new front end with slimmer headlights, what appear to be changes to the sedan’s side sculpting, and a new taillight design.

The Model 3 also gets upgraded tires and wheels, two new colors, and several notable updates to the interior.

Tesla Model 3 (Europe-market refresh)

Tesla Model 3 (Europe-market refresh)

The overall layout of the dashboard remains the same, with a large horizontal touchscreen placed in the middle. But, similar to the Model S and Model X, Tesla has removed all stalks—including the gear selector. It’s job is now handled by the touchscreen, while touchpads on the steering wheel handle other functions.

Tesla didn’t give the Model 3 the awkward steering yoke that debuted in January 2021 as part of a refresh of the Model S and Model X, but has since become an optional feature on those cars.

Ambient interior lighting, ventilated front seats, and heated seats front and rear are new, as is an 8.0-inch rear display for climate and entertainment functions. The main touchscreen measures 15.4-inches, and now includes a smaller bezel and higher contrast for brighter viewing in sunlight. Tesla claims the screen is also more responsive, and points to upgraded interior materials as well.

Tesla Model 3 (Europe-market refresh)

Tesla Model 3 (Europe-market refresh)

The Model 3 gets acoustic glass for better sound insulation and reduced wind noise, making it easier to hear the available 17-speaker audio system with two subwoofers and two amplifiers. However, it’s unclear which of these feature and content changes will translate to the U.S. market.

The revamped Model 3 measures 185.8 inches long, 76.2 inches wide, and 56.7 inches high—potentially slightly wider than the current version. Tesla lists a curb weight of nearly 3,900 pounds, and claims increased body stiffness. Suspension tuning has been revised as well.

Tesla claiming about 10 to 12% more range in Europe thanks to the aero updates, but unclear how that will translate for the U.S. model when it appears. EPA range is expected is expected to stay in the vicinity of the current Model 3, which is rated at 272 miles in base form and 333 miles in Long Range spec.

Tesla Model 3 (Europe-market refresh)

Tesla Model 3 (Europe-market refresh)

The Model 3 hasn’t changed significantly in appearance since its arrival in 2017. Tesla introduced base versions of the Model 3 with lithium iron phosphate batteries in late 2021, and has made numerous changes in pricing. Earlier this week, it cut prices for vehicles in inventory by more than $5,000 in some cases.

The Model Y crossover, which started deliveries in 2020, is based on the Model 3 and so is likely to receive similar updates soon.

Tesla indicates an October/November delivery window for various locations in Europe for the revamped Model 3, in base or Long Range versions. It’s also reportedly taking deliveries for the refreshed Model 3 in China, with deliveries due later in the fourth quarter. No U.S. timeline had been given at the time of publication.

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