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Impressions of the Model 3 and Tesla service after 2 months of ownership

Mikedrives

Member
Jun 5, 2019
136
166
Evanston, IL
Sorry if this is a little long...

I have the Porsche once it warms up again

#1. this was Grade A procrastination material.

#2. It gets cold in Stuttgart and it turns out these cars work great in the cold. And if it gets below 30º, you can put the top up and turn on the heat!

I had the same reservations about getting a car with an automatic transmission/no transmission. Turns out the car corners almost as well as a Boxster (but not quite) but otherwise dusts it and makes me wonder if my Boxster is redundant. Sometimes I have a crisis and wonder if I don't *need* that Boxster anymore. (And then I get in it and remember, that yes, in fact, I do need a 5 speed ICE car.)

And not to one-up you, but I may have had the most painless of all buying experiences: I was leaving for a two week trip in late June and realized I could capture the big federal tax credit before it stepped down again. I met all my deadlines a day early and before leaving for that trip had one day free to get a Model 3 if there was one out there for me. Called my local Tesla salesman and told him if he had a Model 3 for me, I would buy it that day, if I got the money and a few other details lined up. He said he had one for me, and I told him I'd call him when I got the money moved around. Called an hour later and the car was gone, so I gave up and figured it wasn't in the cards and I'd buy one later in the fall. He called me 10 minutes later and said he found one at another dealer and it was on a truck on its way over to his dealership. I went and picked it up and drove it home a few hours later. I was driving home and had a front-row seat of one of the most incredible lightning storms I've ever seen but it never rained on me: it was like Nicola Tesla was telling me I had just taken a step into the electric future and everything was goooood. 10,000 miles on the car now, zero issues, zero complaints, thinking about getting another to have a matching set.
 
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nealh

Member
Jan 14, 2020
50
27
Tampa
#1. this was Grade A procrastination material.

#2. It gets cold in Stuttgart and it turns out these cars work great in the cold. And if it gets below 30º, you can put the top up and turn on the heat!

I had the same reservations about getting a car with an automatic transmission/no transmission. Turns out the car corners almost as well as a Boxster (but not quite) but otherwise dusts it and makes me wonder if my Boxster is redundant. Sometimes I have a crisis and wonder if I don't *need* that Boxster anymore. (And then I get in it and remember, that yes, in fact, I do need a 5 speed ICE car.)

And not to one-up you, but I may have had the most painless of all buying experiences: I was leaving for a two week trip in late June and realized I could capture the big federal tax credit before it stepped down again. I met all my deadlines a day early and before leaving for that trip had one day free to get a Model 3 if there was one out there for me. Called my local Tesla salesman and told him if he had a Model 3 for me, I would buy it that day, if I got the money and a few other details lined up. He said he had one for me, and I told him I'd call him when I got the money moved around. Called an hour later and the car was gone, so I gave up and figured it wasn't in the cards and I'd buy one later in the fall. He called me 10 minutes later and said he found one at another dealer and it was on a truck on its way over to his dealership. I went and picked it up and drove it home a few hours later. I was driving home and had a front-row seat of one of the most incredible lightning storms I've ever seen but it never rained on me: it was like Nicola Tesla was telling me I had just taken a step into the electric future and everything was goooood. 10,000 miles on the car now, zero issues, zero complaints, thinking about getting another to have a matching set.
So you performance model 3 or LR AWD? You feel it handles maybe a little less than your Boxster. Wow now I’m convinced those handle much better than my 340.
Or have I misread your post ?

TIA
 

jpfive

Supporting Member
Oct 31, 2019
524
502
Pensacola, FL
Background:
Last fall, the possibility of buying a Tesla wasn’t even on my radar. I’ve owned only manual transmission, forced induction performance oriented cars for the past two plus decades. I’m a gear head and a serious auto enthusiast. I like to work on and modify my cars and take them to HPDEs, 1/2 mile air strip events and the 1/4 mile drag strip. My impression of Tesla last year was that it was start up “beta-ish” car company with lots of bugs to work out that had cars that accelerated quickly, but didn’t do much else well. Had god awful interiors, and were boring and soul-less. This seems to be the general consensus in the enthusiast community among those who have never even been in a Tesla, let alone driven one.

As of last fall, my daily driver was a modified 2011 Audi S4 with a 6-speed manual trans, and my weekend car is a modified 2003 911 Turbo with a 6-speed as well. I was very happy with the Audi, had owned it since new, and it had been extremely reliable even though I had added over 100hp and changed some drivetrain and suspension components. I really had no intention of buying a new car. Then I test drove a Model 3 Performance...

It all started sometime last fall when reviews of the Model 3P started popping up in my YouTube feed. I started watching more videos about the Model 3 and eventually started lurking on here to research the car. What really intrigued me is what gear heads that loved high performance ICE cars had to say about it. I decided I needed to test drive one.

I set up a test drive online and headed out to my local Tesla store. The SA that helped me was super knowledgeable and was able to answer all my questions. I was immediately impressed by the interior of the Model 3. I know it’s simple, but coming from an Audi, I thought it would feel cheap and cobbled together based on what the “internet” says. It’s anything but. Everything was well put together, and the only cheap hard plastic is low down and mostly out of sight and touch range. The tech is obviously fantastic and better than any other vehicle I’ve experienced. I don’t love everything about operating almost all car functions through the touch screen, but overall it’s fantastic. Driving it, I was impressed by the quick ratio steering, and how nimble it was for how heavy it is. The acceleration was what really got me though. We stopped on an empty frontage road, temp was 29F outside and the road was dry but had road salt all over it. The car was on 20s with the Pilot 4S tires. The launch dead hooked. Not a hint of wheel spin. Amazing for a car with this much power. I was sold. I just had to convince myself that this was the right thing to do even though I still loved my S4. That didn’t take long, and the price drop on the Model 3s didn’t hurt either.

Buying/owning experience:

I placed my order about a week later (Nov 25) and the estimate was 3-5 weeks. I got an update via text to setup delivery a little over 2 weeks later (Dec 9th). Ordered up a winter setup, mats and some other accessories. Picked up the car on Dec. 23rd. It took less than an hour start to finish and the car was near perfect even though the store was busy at the end of the year. It had one very small paint chip on the driver’s rear quarter panel that was easily fixed with a little touch up paint (They offered to have the panel re-painted, but I declined). It was the easiest and smoothest car buying experience I’ve ever had by far.

Through two months and almost 2K miles the car has been fantastic. I work some late nights and overnights and love being able to warm the car up super quickly before I head home. It’s done as well or better than my S4 in the snow we’ve had and the tech and performance continue to impress me.

Service:
After the first month plus I decided I really wanted Homelink. I ordered it online and set up an install appointment through the app. I was worried about what service would be a nightmare based on things I’d read online. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I dropped the car off late last Friday and the service advisor was super helpful with getting me checked in and setting me up with a Model S loaner. She updated me via text regularly and the car was done yesterday afternoon. I worked until late last night, so I wasn’t able to pick it up during business hours. No worry, she said. She left my key card in the center console, parked the car on one of their outdoor chargers and locked the doors. I simply swapped the loaner for my car last night and dropped the loaner key in the drop box. Super easy, and fantastic communication. Plus I LOVE the homelink integration. It’s the best implementation I’ve had in a car yet with the auto open/close setup.

I know people have had issues, but my experience so far with owning a Tesla has been nothing short of fantastic. I don’t miss my S4 and I don’t even miss driving manual like I thought I would (plus I have the Porsche once it warms up again to get manual trans turbo ICE fix).

Sorry if this is a little long, but I know people are more likely to post about problems/issues vs good experiences. I took a chance on a Tesla and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

Dittos in Pensacola.
 
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Az_Rael

Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,635
8,820
Palmdale, CA
Seems like millions of ICE vehicles get lemon law'd back to their manufacturers.

I actually wonder if Tesla’s lemon law rate is a bit higher than average because they have been having issues with logistics. The car involved in the AP/FSD removal thread that got picked up in the news recently was previously lemon lawed for the yellow border MCU. Tesla has a fix for that, but they couldn’t manage to get it to that customer or just even replace that customers MCU before they ended up having to buy back that car. I have seen several Model S posts where relatively small things to repair ended up making the car lemon law eligible just due to time in the shop waiting on parts. Someone on Reddit recently was looking to buy a lemon lawed S that had been bought back for a leaky pano roof, something that should be easily fixed.

Tesla’s logistics do seem to be improving, so hopefully that will improve over time.
 

inikkor

Member
Apr 26, 2019
78
54
Boston MA
I'll give you another two months and then you going to realize how unrefined and immature the driving dynamics of the M3P are. The suspension is stiff without being sporty and the weight just kills everything. The steering is just super numb. If you are in a cold region you will learn how sucky it is to keep the heat low to save KWh and if you are in New England you will jolt how expensive electricity is...

Once the novelty of the golf cart feeling wears off you will be back to your Audi and Porsche and why not trying an Alfa?

Please mark my words.
 

BijouGirl

Member
Feb 20, 2020
8
14
Alberta Canada
Background:
Last fall, the possibility of buying a Tesla wasn’t even on my radar. I’ve owned only manual transmission, forced induction performance oriented cars for the past two plus decades. I’m a gear head and a serious auto enthusiast. I like to work on and modify my cars and take them to HPDEs, 1/2 mile air strip events and the 1/4 mile drag strip. My impression of Tesla last year was that it was start up “beta-ish” car company with lots of bugs to work out that had cars that accelerated quickly, but didn’t do much else well. Had god awful interiors, and were boring and soul-less. This seems to be the general consensus in the enthusiast community among those who have never even been in a Tesla, let alone driven one.

As of last fall, my daily driver was a modified 2011 Audi S4 with a 6-speed manual trans, and my weekend car is a modified 2003 911 Turbo with a 6-speed as well. I was very happy with the Audi, had owned it since new, and it had been extremely reliable even though I had added over 100hp and changed some drivetrain and suspension components. I really had no intention of buying a new car. Then I test drove a Model 3 Performance...

It all started sometime last fall when reviews of the Model 3P started popping up in my YouTube feed. I started watching more videos about the Model 3 and eventually started lurking on here to research the car. What really intrigued me is what gear heads that loved high performance ICE cars had to say about it. I decided I needed to test drive one.

I set up a test drive online and headed out to my local Tesla store. The SA that helped me was super knowledgeable and was able to answer all my questions. I was immediately impressed by the interior of the Model 3. I know it’s simple, but coming from an Audi, I thought it would feel cheap and cobbled together based on what the “internet” says. It’s anything but. Everything was well put together, and the only cheap hard plastic is low down and mostly out of sight and touch range. The tech is obviously fantastic and better than any other vehicle I’ve experienced. I don’t love everything about operating almost all car functions through the touch screen, but overall it’s fantastic. Driving it, I was impressed by the quick ratio steering, and how nimble it was for how heavy it is. The acceleration was what really got me though. We stopped on an empty frontage road, temp was 29F outside and the road was dry but had road salt all over it. The car was on 20s with the Pilot 4S tires. The launch dead hooked. Not a hint of wheel spin. Amazing for a car with this much power. I was sold. I just had to convince myself that this was the right thing to do even though I still loved my S4. That didn’t take long, and the price drop on the Model 3s didn’t hurt either.

Buying/owning experience:

I placed my order about a week later (Nov 25) and the estimate was 3-5 weeks. I got an update via text to setup delivery a little over 2 weeks later (Dec 9th). Ordered up a winter setup, mats and some other accessories. Picked up the car on Dec. 23rd. It took less than an hour start to finish and the car was near perfect even though the store was busy at the end of the year. It had one very small paint chip on the driver’s rear quarter panel that was easily fixed with a little touch up paint (They offered to have the panel re-painted, but I declined). It was the easiest and smoothest car buying experience I’ve ever had by far.

Through two months and almost 2K miles the car has been fantastic. I work some late nights and overnights and love being able to warm the car up super quickly before I head home. It’s done as well or better than my S4 in the snow we’ve had and the tech and performance continue to impress me.

Service:
After the first month plus I decided I really wanted Homelink. I ordered it online and set up an install appointment through the app. I was worried about what service would be a nightmare based on things I’d read online. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I dropped the car off late last Friday and the service advisor was super helpful with getting me checked in and setting me up with a Model S loaner. She updated me via text regularly and the car was done yesterday afternoon. I worked until late last night, so I wasn’t able to pick it up during business hours. No worry, she said. She left my key card in the center console, parked the car on one of their outdoor chargers and locked the doors. I simply swapped the loaner for my car last night and dropped the loaner key in the drop box. Super easy, and fantastic communication. Plus I LOVE the homelink integration. It’s the best implementation I’ve had in a car yet with the auto open/close setup.

I know people have had issues, but my experience so far with owning a Tesla has been nothing short of fantastic. I don’t miss my S4 and I don’t even miss driving manual like I thought I would (plus I have the Porsche once it warms up again to get manual trans turbo ICE fix).

Sorry if this is a little long, but I know people are more likely to post about problems/issues vs good experiences. I took a chance on a Tesla and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.


Thank you for sharing this! I'm new here, waiting for my Black Long Range 3. I'm a bit worried about the first day with the car, getting used to driving it as it will be delivered to me. (I live 3 hours from the closest dealership).
 
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vogz

Member
Dec 5, 2019
263
342
Batavia, IL
How do you feel the handling compares to the S4 and 911?

TIA

It handles similarly to my S4 with modified suspension and they curb weight is nearly identical. (Maybe a little flatter in the corners vs. the S4) The turn in is very similar and both front ends wash out when pushed. Both also do a great job of accepting power application mid corner to overcome steady state understeer to help rotate the car. That said I look forward to installing the MPP sport coil overs and I think that will tip the advantage in the Model 3's favor.

Versus the 911 it's not really close right now. The 911 (also on modified suspension) is a scapel carving corners and the rear weight bias keeps it extremely well balanced with tons of rear end grip. I think the coil overs on the 3 will close to gap, but they 911 still has a massive weight advantage and more optimal front rear balance.
 
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vogz

Member
Dec 5, 2019
263
342
Batavia, IL
I'll give you another two months and then you going to realize how unrefined and immature the driving dynamics of the M3P are. The suspension is stiff without being sporty and the weight just kills everything. The steering is just super numb. If you are in a cold region you will learn how sucky it is to keep the heat low to save KWh and if you are in New England you will jolt how expensive electricity is...

Once the novelty of the golf cart feeling wears off you will be back to your Audi and Porsche and why not trying an Alfa?

Please mark my words.


The car is nowhere near perfect in driving dynamics, but neither was my Audi and it's still better than the S4 was with modified suspension. That's why I'll be installing a coil over setup this spring. Agree to disagree on the steering. It's obviously not as good as my Porsche, but it's as good or better than the Audi (hydraulic rack) and smashes just about any BMW these days. I live in Illinois and the temps have dipped below zero F twice in the past week. I've had no issues with the heat and I don't worry about some extra energy usage as it still costs FAR less to charge than my S4 did to fill up with premium gas. Plus it warms up the cabin far quicker than any ICE vehicle I've ever experienced.

The Audi is gone and isn't coming back. I don't regret my decision at all. I doubt that will change in a few more months as temp warms up, I toss the coil overs and summer tires on and the car really starts to shine. As I said, the Porsche isn't going anywhere, but I don't long to drive it with the M3P to drive every day.

As for an Alfa? lol. My requirements for a daily driver sedan are: Over 400hp, all-wheel-drive and rear seats that fold down. The Alfa quad only checks one of those boxes (over 400hp) so it's a non-starter. Not to mention horrible depreciation and questionable reliability.

I'll mark your words, but I'm doubting any of that comes to fruition.
 

inikkor

Member
Apr 26, 2019
78
54
Boston MA
At least you’ll get a good feel for their service department. A lot.


You have no idea what you talking about. I used to both and I got to know the tesla service department really well, not to talk about the Model 3 I didn't pickup because of paint defects... The Alfa hasn't seen any bay as of yet. Same number of miles on both... The quality of the construction is like night and day. The Tesla is built as an economo box. Just look at the trunk hinges... it's ridiculous and embarrassing for a $60K vehicle. I'm glad I'm out. Really glad.
 

dmurphy

Buster: 11/25/14 - 6/20/21. So sorely missed.
Dec 7, 2018
3,654
4,879
New Jersey - Morris County
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