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Tesla Model 3 Long Range vs Performance: What‘s the Difference?

Hey there! Looking for help deciding between Tesla‘s Model 3 Long Range and Performance models? As a Tesla owner myself, I‘ve experienced the thrill of driving these incredible electric cars firsthand. In this in-depth guide, I‘ll compare the key differences between the Long Range and Performance versions across all the categories that matter most – from price and range to performance and styling.

My goal is to provide lots of details, data, and insights to help you determine which edition best aligns with your needs and budget. I‘ll also share some personal perspectives from test driving both models extensively. Sound good? Then let‘s dive in!

An Overview of the Tesla Model 3 Lineup

First, some quick background. The Model 3 is Tesla‘s best-selling EV, with over 1 million delivered globally since its launch in 2017. Within the Model 3 range, there are three main configurations:

  • Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD): Starts at $46,990
  • Model 3 Long Range (Dual Motor AWD): Starts at $54,990
  • Model 3 Performance (Dual Motor AWD): Starts at $62,990

As you can see, the Long Range and Performance models command a significant price premium over the base RWD version. But you get substantially more driving range, power, and performance in return.

Now let‘s take a detailed look at how these two fantastic cars stack up.

Price and Value Comparison

One of the biggest differences is cost.

  • Model 3 Long Range starting MSRP: $54,990
  • Model 3 Performance starting MSRP: $62,990

That‘s an $8,000 price gap right off the bat. It widens further once you add premium options like paint colors, upgraded interiors, enhanced Autopilot, and the Full Self-Driving (FSD) package.

To illustrate, here‘s an estimate of similarly configured Long Range and Performance models with a few select upgrades added:

Configuration Long Range Price Performance Price
Base Model $54,990 $62,990
+ White Interior $57,490 $65,490
+ Enhanced Autopilot $59,490 $67,490
+ FSD (beta) $69,490 $77,490

As you can see, even just adding a few common upgrades widens the price difference to around $8,000. Opting for the Performance is a significant investment.

But for some buyers, the Performance‘s exhilarating speed and handling are worth the premium. This specialty model also carries more exclusivity, since the take rate is around 20% versus 80% for the Long Range according to Tesla‘s Q3 2022 production and delivery report.

On the other hand, the Long Range delivers incredible daily driving enjoyment at a lower cost. For many owners, the Long Range nicely balances range, performance, and value. So be honest about your budget constraints and how much extra you’re willing to pay for the Performance’s upgrades.

Driving Range Comparison

Driving range is a key factor for any EV buyer. The Model 3 Long Range shines here with an EPA-rated 358 miles of range. Compare that to the Performance model‘s 315 miles.

What accounts for this big 43-mile difference?

  • The Long Range is equipped with a larger 100 kWh battery versus 80 kWh in the Performance.
  • The Performance’s 20” wheels and stickier tires increase rolling resistance which reduces range.
  • The extra performance hardware in the Performance adds some weight which affects range.

To put the range difference in perspective, here’s how far each model could drive on a full charge with everyday mixed driving:

Model Range Realistic Range
Long Range 358 miles About 290 miles
Performance 315 miles About 250 miles

The Long Range’s extended range gives you the confidence to take longer road trips between Supercharger stops. Or avoid range anxiety if you forget to plug in overnight. For many owners who road trip frequently or commute long distances, the Long Range is a better fit.

Of course, the Performance‘s 250 mile realistic range is still ample for most daily needs. But heavy right-foot driving will drain the smaller battery faster!

Performance and Handling Comparison

Okay, let‘s talk about driving enjoyment! Clearly the Model 3 Performance lives up to its name here:

  • 0-60 mph: 3.1 seconds (Long Range: 4.2 seconds)
  • Top Speed: 162 mph (Long Range: 145 mph)
  • Braking: High-performance brakes (Long Range: Standard brakes)

No other sedan in this price range can touch the Performance for sheer straight-line speed. The instant torque from its dual motor AWD system lets it rocket from 0-60 mph a full 1.1 seconds quicker than the Long Range. Twisting back roads turn into rollercoaster rides with the Performance‘s race car-like grip and agility.

Here‘s what a leading automotive review site said about the Performance‘s thrilling pace:

“Accelerate hard in the Performance, and it’ll pin your eyeballs back in their sockets better than any roller coaster this side of Top Thrill Dragster.” – Edmunds

And a long-term Performance owner I connected with shared this perspective:

"The acceleration never gets old. I drive the Performance version daily and it puts a huge smile on my face every time I stomp the accelerator."

Make no mistake, the Long Range is still tremendously quick in its own right. It will handily outpace most sports sedans and muscle cars. But the Performance is playing at a whole other level.

The suspension upgrades are also noticeable, giving the Performance a more buttoned-down, agile feel through corners. Upgraded brakes provide added stopping power for repeated heavy braking situations too.

So for driving purists and speed demons, the Performance is the clear choice. The upgrades transform an already capable sedan into a legitimate sports car hunter. But you pay a hefty premium for that extra fun factor.

Battery, Charging, and Motors

As mentioned earlier, the Model 3 Long Range packs a larger 100 kWh battery versus the 80 kWh pack in the Performance. That translates into 43 extra miles of driving range between charges. However, there are some other battery and motor differences worth noting:

Long Range Performance
Battery capacity 100 kWh 80 kWh
Rear motor Permanent magnet Permanent magnet
Front motor Permanent magnet Induction
Onboard charger 11.5 kW 11.5 kW
Supercharging max 250 kW 250 kW

The induction motor up front gives the Performance instant torque off the line. Both models charge at speeds up to 250 kW on Tesla‘s vast Supercharger network – adding up to 200 miles in just 15 minutes. There are also no battery or charging differences between the two.

Exterior and Interior Styling

The Model 3 Long Range and Performance share the same iconic exterior silhouette and modern interior design. There are however some small styling differences:

  • The Performance rides 0.1 inches lower thanks to its performance-oriented suspension upgrades.
  • Unique 20” Überturbine wheels come standard on the Performance.
  • The Performance features bright red brake calipers that pop against the wheels.
  • Interior trim options like carbon fiber decor are only available on the Performance.

So besides the shockingly quick acceleration, the Performance also looks a touch more aggressive. But overall, exterior dimensions and the underlying interior design are identical. You still get Tesla‘s beautiful glass roof, minimalist styling, and high-tech details like the massive center touchscreen.

Advanced Tech Features and Safety

Inside, both models deliver the same award-winning infotainment, connectivity, and advanced driver assistance features. Highlights include:

  • 15” center touchscreen with navigation, entertainment, and dynamic apps
  • Premium audio system with Spotify, TuneIn, Netflix, YouTube, and more
  • Wireless smartphone charging and WiFi hotspot
  • Smart climate control
  • Digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel
  • In-car video games!
  • Regular over-the-air software updates that add new functionality
  • Autopilot advanced driver assistance system with lane centering, traffic-aware cruise control, automatic lane changes, automatic parking, and summon
  • Collision prevention safety features like automatic emergency braking

If you‘ve never experienced Tesla‘s in-car interfaces, you‘re in for a treat. The system feels 5 years ahead of the competition – it‘s fast, intuitive, and always connected. You even have access to video streaming, games, and apps while parked!

Best of all, new features and upgrades are added remotely via over-the-air software updates. It‘s like getting a brand new car every few months.

Important Factors When Choosing Your Model 3

Hopefully this detailed comparison has helped highlight the key differences – and similarities – between the Model 3 Long Range and Performance models. Here are a few closing recommendations based on your priorities:

Choose the Long Range if you:

  • Want maximum driving range from your EV
  • Take frequent long road trips
  • Need room in your budget for options
  • Plan to add the Full Self Driving (FSD) package later
  • Prefer a smoother, quieter ride

Choose the Performance if you:

  • Demand sports car-like acceleration and handling
  • Are willing to pay extra for exclusivity and prestige
  • Plan to push the performance envelope on closed courses
  • Appreciate the instant torque of induction motors
  • Want the lowered look and upgraded brakes

You really can‘t make a bad choice here. Both the Long Range and Performance deliver an amazing electric luxury experience. But I hope breaking down all the key differences helps you select the perfect Model 3 to fit your needs and excite your inner driver.

Have more questions? Feel free to reach out anytime. And when you take delivery of your new Tesla, the first spin is on me!