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Performance Bargain? Why the Newly Discounted Tesla Model 3 Could be the Ultimate Enthusiast Daily

For all of the controversy, debate and discussion around electric vehicles, particularly those made by Tesla, something that tends to get lost is just how great certain Tesla cars can be as enthusiast vehicles.

Red Tesla Model 3 Performance on Road

No this isn't about the wholesale transition to EVs, the battle to save the environment, or even the pros and cons of gasoline cars versus battery electrics. It's not about Elon Musk either. There's no shortage of coverage of those topics out there.

This about the Tesla Model 3 Performance as a fast, fun and practical daily driver—and with Tesla's recent price drop, why it might be more affordable than you think.

Tesla Model 3 Performance on Nitto NT01

Whether it's brand new or lightly used, we have reason to believe the "M3P" as it's often dubbed, is now one of the best all-around performance values on the car market. Here's why.

More Affordable Than Ever

If you are shopping for a brand new one, Tesla's recent price drop has lowered the purchase price for a 2023 Model 3 Performance to about $55,000 after destination. And at the moment, the car qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit which puts its potential effective price much lower.

Tesla Model 3 Performance Blue Rear View

Or if you are looking for even greater value, the new car price drop has also sent down the value of a used M3P. And you can get now get a three or four-year old, low mileage example in the mid to high $30,000s.

Tesla Model 3 Performance Red Front View

While that may not be "cheap" per se, there is a ton of value there compared to both competitors' high-performance EVs and to similarly-priced gasoline sports sedans— especially when you consider the M3P's capabilities. 

Tesla Model 3 Performance Taillight and Spoiler

Serious Performance Potential

And let's talk about those capabilities. When it comes to raw performance numbers, it's hard to deny. 0-60 in the low three-second range and mid-11-second quarter mile times make the Model 3 Performance able to outrun just about anything short of a supercar.

Red Tesla Model 3 Performance Top View

And it's not a straight-line-only car either. A low center of gravity, relatively light weight (for a long-range EV), and optimized power distribution make the M3P a capable back-road burner.

You can even take it to the race track, with a growing community of Tesla track day junkies and aftermarket suppliers to help take the M3P's race track performance to an even greater level.

Tesla Model 3s at Track Day

On the other hand, the silent electric motors and the blend-in styling also make the M3P one of the stealthiest street performance cars out there, which is something a lot of enthusiasts might be looking for in a daily driver.

But is it Fun?

Now the important question. While enthusiasts dig fast 0-60 times and competent track performance, the fun factor is probably more important. And this is where the M3P can be polarizing.

Tesla Model 3 Performance Black Interior

For some, the Model 3's lack of engine noise, lack of shifting and overall lack of "occasion" might make it a non-starter. And we get that.

For others, the mind-bending instant acceleration, intuitive regen braking, low center of gravity and sharp steering might make up for that.

Tesla Model 3 Performance Top View

Having spent some time behind the wheel, our view is that the Model 3 Performance is extremely fun to drive—when viewed through the lens of a daily driver.

The Do-It-All Enthusiast Sedan?

No, a Tesla or any EV, isn't going to have the same emotional pull as a vintage muscle car, a lightweight sports car, or a hardcore turbo machine—but how many people are daily driving those cars?

While some Model 3 Performance owners might use it as their sole "fun car," many of them park it in the garage alongside some of those aforementioned gasoline vehicles to preserve their analog side. Drive the Tesla Monday-Friday and the stick shift hobby car on weekends.

Tesla Model 3 Performance Rear 3/4 View

Performance figures aside, the Model 3 is a great daily driver. It can fit four adults comfortably, it has a large trunk, and an extra trunk up front.

Tesla Model 3 Performance Interior

It also offers nearly 300 miles of driving range and you get access to Tesla's supercharger stations, which are now popping up even at race tracks.

Tesla Model 3 Performance on Nitto NT01

You'll have to determine whether an electric daily driver works for you, but if it does, the newly-discounted Tesla Model 3 Performance might just be the ideal blend of daily practicality and track-grade capability.

And yes, it can even be fun.

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