Tesla Model 3 vs. Tesla Model S: How Do They Compare?

tesla model 3 vs model x

How does the fabulous new Tesla Model 3 compare to the Model X? (Tesla Livestream)

The new Tesla Model 3 was just unveiled and more than 150,000 orders have already been made for the brand new car in the last 24 hours. It’s not going to replace the Tesla Model S. Rather, it’s going to be a more consumer-friendly model available for a lower price but still featuring cutting edge technology. How does the Tesla Model 3 compare to the Tesla Model 2? What are the two car’s costs, features, speed, and range?

Here’s what we know so far. We’ll add more specs for the Model 3 as they are available. Elon Musk has said that we can expect certain key features of the Model 3 to evolve or change before it goes into production in 2017.

The biggest differences between the Model 3 and the Model S come down to a few key points:

Here are the detailed specs of the Model 3 and the Model S that we know so far:

Tesla Model 3

Cost: It will cost $35,000 for the base price, before government incentives of $7,500 to $13,000, depending on the state. After Tesla has sold 200,000 cars in the U.S., the government incentives will stop. Unlike the other models, this one won’t have a souped-up signature series, but you can still get upgrades.

Autopilot? Yes, autopilot safety features will come standard on all cars, which includes emergency braking and collision avoidance. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all autopilot features will come with the Model 3. Exactly what will be included remains to be seen.

All-Wheel Drive?

Speed: 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds for the base model. Other versions will likely be much faster.

Top Speed: 

Range: At least 215 miles per charge for the base version. It features a new battery architecture and some rumors have hinted that there may be a future version with 80kWH that can drive five hours, nearly 364 miles, without a charge, which would be better than the Model S 90D. But right now, according to the press conference, it’s at 215 miles per charge. The car will also come with supercharging standard.

Motor Power: The car has new motor technology as compared to previous models.


Safety Rating: 5-star safety rating in all categories

Appearance Features: The car will be 20 percent smaller than the Model S. Its appearance has been described as “sexy and sporty” and a hybrid of the Model X and Model S. The car was absolutely gorgeous as shown during the press conference.

Inside the Car and Dimensions: The inside of the car is beautiful. It will fit five adults comfortably, with plenty of legroom and headroom. This was achieved by shrinking the instrument panel and moving the front seats forward. The roof area is one continuous panel, allowing for a feeling of freedom and openness. The car also has a front and rear trunk, just like the Model S. It has more cargo capacity than any gasoline car of the same dimensions. “Can it fit a seven-foot long surfboard inside?,” Elon Musk asked. “The answer is yes.”

Warranty: Similar to the Model S, with an eight-year, infinite-mile, transferable warranty on the battery pack and drive unit, according to Musk.

Tesla Model S

All features are according to Tesla’s website.

Cost: Ranges from a base price of $75,000 to over $133,000 depending on the version and how many extra features you add.

Autopilot? Yes. This lets the Model S steer within a lane and change lanes with just a tap of the turn signal. It uses traffic-aware cruise control to manage speed. Digital control of brakes, steering, and motors also helps the driver avoid wrecks and prevents the car from drifting off the road. Autopilot also lets the Model S scan for parking, alert you to one that’s available, and parallel park on command. The software is constantly being updated. The current version is 7.1.

All-Wheel Drive? Yes, available in Electric All-Wheel Drive for Dual Motors, standard. This means the Model S digitally and independently controls torque in the front and rear wheels, per Tesla’s website.

Speed: Zero to 60 mph in as fast as 2.8 seconds with the P90D. Acceleration is 4.2 seconds in the 90D and 5.2 seconds in the 70D.

Top Speed: 155 mph in the P90D and 90D; 140 mph in the 70D

Range: Over 270 miles range with the all-wheel drive 90D. With the P90D All-Wheel Drive, over 253 miles. With the 70D All-Wheel Drive, over 240 miles.  (A 90 kWh battery pack is currently available on the Model S.)

Motor Power: 503 hp rear and 259 hp front for the P90D; 259 hp front and rear for the 90D and the 70D.

Torque: 713 lb-ft for the P90D; 485 lb-ft for the 90D; 387 lb-ft for the 70D

Safety Rating: 5 star in all categories from the NHTSA crash test. The drivetrain lowers the car’s center of gravity, minimizing rollover and more.

Appearance Features: The car is streamlined. The doors have a zero profile and the handles extend when the key is close. It also lacks a fuel door. When you approach the taillight with a charging connector, a hidden port will open.

Inside the Car: Noise engineering gives the car the “sound dynamics of a recording studio.” It features a 17-inch touchscreen with day an night modes. Features personalized driving, calendar synchronization, a high-def backup camera, real time energy consumption data, and more.  Automatic Xenon headlights; one-touch power windows; WiFi connectivity and Internet connectivity; automatic keyless entry; onboard maps; rain sensing windshield wipers; a 12 volt power outlet; and more.

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