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Model 3 owner with Model S loaner impression

I have had my 2021 M3 LR + acceleration boost for a little over a month now and have been loving it. It went in for service to install homelink and for some minor panel/door alignment issues and some rattles. I am fortunate that my service center still does loaners and was surprised that they are loaning Model S P90Ds - a car which while 6 years old retailed for well over $100K. I was initially excited seeing the P90D badge think how I would get to experience what sub 3s 0-60 is like. When I drove it I discovered (as many probably already know) that it's locked in Chill mode. I can understand some of the reasoning for doing this but man what a waste of a P90D. It accelerates slower than my wife's Subaru! This essentially took away probably the only thing I would have liked about that car. I prefer almost all other aspects of my M3. The loaner was somewhat dirty and worn inside but putting that aside I didn't find it to be all that luxurious for that price car. I much prefer the minimalistic and modern design of the M3 - it's just a very pleasant and relaxing environment I have found. I found the seats less comfortable and the lack of any center console was a little weird. I'm sure the new S refresh is nice inside though from pics and video reviews. There was a Plaid on the lot waiting for pickup that I took a peak at too - very nice. Aside from being locked in Chill mode the handling felt like a big sedan. The M3 is much more nimble and enjoyable to drive. It was truly refreshing getting back in my car yesterday. In the end it was probably a good thing I was locked in Chill mode. If I got used to the true power of the P90D I'm sure that would have detracted from how I feel about my car. That being said I went so far as to look up the top (statistically) few hundred 4 digit codes and try them all to unlock speed limit mode but no luck. Oh well.
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,434
2,877
Redmond, WA
I leased an S P90DL for two years before getting a 2018 Performance 3. (And my wife had an S85 for 5 years).

Like you, I generally like smaller cars because they are more efficient, easier to park and wash, and usually handle better. This is true of the S to 3 comparison, and I really like that stuff about my 3. Oh yeah, it's cheaper too.

But the S was a fantastic car, and there are things I still miss about it: quieter, MUCH quicker, hatch, twice the cargo space, adjustable suspension, extra screen space so you can see more data at a glance, better autopilot controls, better looking, etc. My 2015 didn't have it, but newer ones (like my wife's current X) have bioweapon filters, and that is a HUGE help during wildfire season.

I'm happier with the 3 in short around-town trips, but on longer trips I miss the S.

Oh, and while I prefer the console in the 3, my wife LOVED the lack of a console in her S. She often carries a ton of stuff to throw in there. It was nice on road trips; she had a couple of bins that in fit perfectly and carried water, snacks and other essentials - much more than we can fit in to the consoles on our newer Teslas.
 

TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
2,093
2,536
Houston
I hope they never give a loaner me again. The time they gave me a Model S loaner, it was the most disgustingly dirty car inside and out that I ever drove. All sorts of crap spilled on the seats making them sticky, stains everywhere, garbage all over. You couldn't even see out of the windows because of the grime on the inside of the glass. The exterior was just as bad. I don't even think Mike and the boys would have used it as a soup kitchen in that condition. What a bunch of pigs they are at the SC to give customers cars in that condition.
 
I leased an S P90DL for two years before getting a 2018 Performance 3. (And my wife had an S85 for 5 years).

Like you, I generally like smaller cars because they are more efficient, easier to park and wash, and usually handle better. This is true of the S to 3 comparison, and I really like that stuff about my 3. Oh yeah, it's cheaper too.

But the S was a fantastic car, and there are things I still miss about it: quieter, MUCH quicker, hatch, twice the cargo space, adjustable suspension, extra screen space so you can see more data at a glance, better autopilot controls, better looking, etc. My 2015 didn't have it, but newer ones (like my wife's current X) have bioweapon filters, and that is a HUGE help during wildfire season.

I'm happier with the 3 in short around-town trips, but on longer trips I miss the S.

Oh, and while I prefer the console in the 3, my wife LOVED the lack of a console in her S. She often carries a ton of stuff to throw in there. It was nice on road trips; she had a couple of bins that in fit perfectly and carried water, snacks and other essentials - much more than we can fit in to the consoles on our newer Teslas.
You make some good points about the S that I’m sure are pluses for lots of people. I agree that cabin noise on the highway was much better in the S and I do wish the 3 was quieter. Having the the extra dashboard display was nice and I thought not having one in the 3 was really going to annoy me but I haven’t minded it at all surprisingly. I can see how having that console space for larger bags, purses, etc would be useful for some.
 
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WilliamG

Hinge Fanatic
Apr 20, 2019
5,750
9,254
Seattle, WA
Before I got my Model 3 Performance, I had test-driven a P85D some time prior, and I had a similar S when I had to replace a tire/wheel on my Model 3 P and was given one as a loaner. The driving ergonomics of the pre-2021 refresh S are just abominable. The door handles and cup holders and vertical screen and just general usability of the interior was flat-out terrible. I couldn't wait to get back to my Model 3 P. But then I drove the new Model S Plaid, and uh... yeah... now I'm going to be poor for a while.
 

ElectricIAC

Devil’s Advocate
Dec 31, 2019
3,112
2,091
DFW
I hope they never give a loaner me again. The time they gave me a Model S loaner, it was the most disgustingly dirty car inside and out that I ever drove. All sorts of crap spilled on the seats making them sticky, stains everywhere, garbage all over. You couldn't even see out of the windows because of the grime on the inside of the glass. The exterior was just as bad. I don't even think Mike and the boys would have used it as a soup kitchen in that condition. What a bunch of pigs they are at the SC to give customers cars in that condition.
Kvetching about loaners is part of why they’re doing these BS Uber credits.
 
I leased an S P90DL for two years before getting a 2018 Performance 3. (And my wife had an S85 for 5 years).

Like you, I generally like smaller cars because they are more efficient, easier to park and wash, and usually handle better. This is true of the S to 3 comparison, and I really like that stuff about my 3. Oh yeah, it's cheaper too.

But the S was a fantastic car, and there are things I still miss about it: quieter, MUCH quicker, hatch, twice the cargo space, adjustable suspension, extra screen space so you can see more data at a glance, better autopilot controls, better looking, etc. My 2015 didn't have it, but newer ones (like my wife's current X) have bioweapon filters, and that is a HUGE help during wildfire season.

I'm happier with the 3 in short around-town trips, but on longer trips I miss the S.

Oh, and while I prefer the console in the 3, my wife LOVED the lack of a console in her S. She often carries a ton of stuff to throw in there. It was nice on road trips; she had a couple of bins that in fit perfectly and carried water, snacks and other essentials - much more than we can fit in to the consoles on our newer Teslas.

Indeed.

Model S has a few things which are way better:

Ride quality and noise are gamechangers, the seats in the S are way better than in the 3 for tall people. In the 3 tall people struggle to reach for the steering wheel as it doesnt come out far enough. The seats arent wide enough in the 3 too and thigh support is way too small. It's like they designed the front seat to only be useable by people <180cm.

Hatchback/cargo space,
rear seatroom (i find the front space to be the same as the 3)
more screen estate (i think the 3 is fine but just needs an ultrawide screen with like 30% more space),

I personally don't find the acceleration of the P100D that exiting. Yes, its a bit quicker, particularly has more punch than the 3. But it's not really all that noticeable during normal driving. Over 100km/h definetely, but this doesn't happen that much anyway.

Heres a few things which I didn't expect:
Model S doors feel cheaper to close than Model 3s doors (I guess the aluminium makes everything light...)
Model S steering wheel feels way better.
Model S has a very questionable interior allocation of space. The car is way bigger than the 3 but.... the interior really isn't that much better. A lot of it is the longer hood and the slightly longer trunk.

A Model 3 long wheelbase version would be amazing with better soundproofing and better ride quality.
 
Had a 75D Model S loaner, was afraid I wouldn't want to give it back. Had it for 3 days and was ready to give it back sooner. The suspension felt like I was driving a luxury car instead of a sports sedan. The seats were decent I suppose although I think I might prefer the seats in the 3 better. Since the S was a 17 it was missing some features such as auto hold, Careoke and most of the games that the newer cars come with. Obviously the newer cars would have that.

It did have the navigate on autopilot which I tried out a bit and came to the conclusion I am happy I have not spent any money on the FSD package yet.

I also felt the controls on the car were ridiculous. While I did like the dash screen a bit, the normal controls versus just clicking two buttons on the wheel were ridiculously cumbersome, I don't know if they have fixed this is newer models.

That leaves me with the main screen. What is the purpose of this thing? It doesn't do anything different than the one in my model 3, it actually seems to do less. So its basically just a big map screen?

contrary to what I read online that said the model 3 and model S have same amount of interior room, I did feel like the S did have some extra room especially in the back. Trunk is much bigger which is to be expected which my wife helpfully pointed out could take at least one or two bodies. I offered her to try it out, but she declined.

That's about it, super stoked to have my car back. Maybe if they gave me a P, it might have a been a bit different. I really wanted an X just to play with the doors, but they said they don't give those.
 

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