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Tesla's baby

Tesla Model 3, 2021, front
Tesla Model 3, 2021, nose
Tesla Model 3, 2021, front, static
Tesla Model 3, 2021, side
Tesla Model 3, 2021, rear
Tesla Model 3, 2021, tail
Tesla Model 3, 2021, interior
Tesla Model 3, 2021, front, upright
Tesla Model 3, 2021, screen
Tesla Model 3, 2021, screen, camera display
Tesla Model 3, 2021, rear seats
Tesla Model 3, 2021, boot, front
Tesla Model 3, 2021, boot

TESLA launched its highly-anticipated Model 3 back in 2019 but it has recently been given a number of upgrades and now there is a Long Range version capable of clocking up 360 miles between charges.

The four-door, five-passenger saloon car is on sale in three formats called Standard, Long Range and Performance with prices ranging from £40,990 to £59,990. Customers can also select from rear or all-wheel drive.

We opted for the Model 3 Long Range AWD costing £48,490 (£54,490 including options), with a 0-60mph sprint time of just 4.2 seconds and maximum speed of 145mph. If that's no quite quick enough, the Performance model completes the 0-60mph dash in just 3.1 seconds.

The driver's door is opened via a keycard that you tap on the B pillar and the vehicle starts up in complete silence when the keycard is placed on the centre console.

The Model 3 Long Range is powered by a 75kWh battery pack that is positioned in the car's floor to help create excellent balance and a perfect centre of gravity. And with a total power output of 434bhp and 493Nm of torque at your disposal, the Model 3 has all the brute force and acceleration you could possibly wish for.

Steering settings can be adjusted from Comfort, which is lighter and great for town centre driving to Standard, which is the preferred all-round setting and, finally, to Sport which increases the weight and is ideal for higher speeds.

Out on the open road, the Model 3 is an absolute delight to drive, although it does feel quite a heavy car which becomes more noticeable on twisting B roads with lots of sharper turns. The acceleration is instant and there is ample power to cruise at 70mph on motorways.

With dual-motor all-wheel-drive that controls the traction and torque, the Model 3 is poised and balanced with confident grip in all weather and driving conditions. The dual motors respond to changing driving conditions in as little as 10 milliseconds.

Recent design enhancements included more efficient tyres and a matt black trim to give the car a more distinctive appearance. Moving inside, the interior upgrades include the introduction of two inductive charging pads, along with two additional high-powered USB-C ports for high-speed charging and a matt black finish to replace the piano black surfaces.

Getting comfy takes just seconds with power-adjustable seats and a powered steering wheel, and the minimalist theme is immediately apparent with next-to-no buttons or switches. The main focal point is the large 15-inch landscape screen which is the car's nerve centre. For example, the touchscreen is used to adjust door mirrors, charging and then unlocking the cable, setting the speed of the wipers, opening the glovebox or boot and, of course, accessing the wealth of on-board technology.

Creature comforts are plentiful and includes Tesla's own infotainment system covering Spotify (the car has its own account) and you can easily add yours to the mix, alongside media over Bluetooth. It also features YouTube, Netflix and other systems when stationary.

The graphics are sharp and after a while, it all becomes second nature, although I would prefer to see the speed of the car in direct view rather than glancing at the touchscreen. Everything is kept bang up-to-date with over-the-air software updates that are automatically downloaded.

Passenger comfort levels are excellent and there is ample storage space in the 542-litre-capacity boot as well as beneath the bonnet, along with various compartments scattered throughout the cabin.

The Tesla is kitted out with a comprehensive list of safety and driver assist systems and scored a maximum five stars in adult and child occupancy, as well as pedestrian and safety assist categories. Features include automatic emergency braking, intelligent cruise control that can be set to the national speed limit or your preferred speed, blind spot monitoring, plus a full suite of airbags.

And there is an impressive reversing camera set-up. Instead of just a single image being displayed on the screen, the Model 3 gives a direct rear view along with images from both door mirrors for total visibility of what's going on behind the car.

There is forward-facing radar that has the ability to see through fog, heavy rain and beyond the vehicle ahead for ultimate visibility and accident prevention. And there is all the more standard safety kit too.

Charging the Model 3 from a 7.4kW home charger will add about 27 miles of driving range every hour. However, if you plug into one of Tesla's 120kW superchargers the battery will be full in the time it takes to order a take-away coffee at the services.

All in all, the Tesla Model 3 is a fabulous piece of kit. Tesla has always been class-leading in its EV innovation and this car is another giant leap forward.

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