The future is electric, but driving fun may still be part of the deal.
The Tesla Model 3 Performance has been getting a lot of interest from both EV converts and traditional sportscar enthusiasts waiting to see what it will actually be capable of. Elon Musk’s claims that it would beat benchmark sports sedans such as a BMW M3 has fuelled many spirited hypothetical comparisons, but until they go head to head it will remain mere speculation. Something that may aid the Model 3 is the rumor that a Track Mode setting is currently in development. Motor Authority contacted Tesla to substantiate these claims and it turns out that they are indeed developing their own in-house system.
The reason for not sourcing an existing third-party system, according to a Tesla spokesperson, is that their existing vehicle-dynamics controller (VDC) gives them the most integrated method of incorporating new features into the Model 3. When selected, track mode will control front and rear motor torque and slip distribution instead of applying the brakes to achieve this effect. This should give the driver more control without deactivating the assists completely. Regenerative braking power will however be more aggressive, and the benefits of a limited-slip diff could be simulated by selectively applying the brakes on the appropriate wheels. Overheating can be an issue under track conditions regardless of the powertrain and this mode will also optimise cooling to keep temperatures low.
That all sounds pretty comprehensive and a clear sign that Tesla is looking at more than just straight-line acceleration as its performance USP as it develops its next generation of vehicles. But we will have to wait a little while until this system and its claimed benefits are proven in real-world conditions as there is no immediate plan to make it available to Tesla customers just yet. When it is ready the plan is to upload cars with the feature via an over-the-air update, while Tesla has not mentioned it, we see no reason why it should not be offered on the Model S too. Seeing as the base Model 3 Performance has had a recent price cut due to some equipment being put back on the options list, we hope that this feature will not solely be restricted to cars that are fitted with the Performance Upgrade option either.