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Suspension differences - LR-AWD vs. Performance

house9

Supporting Member
Nov 16, 2019
362
385
California
For whatever reason, the P seemed to have a different character at the steering wheel. It feels a bit more resolved and refined, but I'm not sure if it's software programming, differences in suspension tuning, or complete BS on my part.

Well it might have been the software.
Did you set both cars to use the same “Steering Mode”, options are ‘Comfort’, ‘Standard’ and ‘Sport’
 

GregD60

Member
Mar 24, 2016
358
354
Colorado
I don't know how much the suspension differences between the LR AWD and Performance cars affects the ride and handling, but the difference between the tires is dramatic, and will make a very big difference in handling and steering response. The Michelin MXM4 tires on the LR AWD are an all season tire with okay handling and steering response, and the size is 235/45R18. The Performance model comes with Michelin PS4S tires which are among the highest performance summer street tires made with excellent handling and steering response, and the size is 235/35R20. While I would say that PS4S tires ride quite well for a performance tire, the much shorter 35 series sidewall will definitely have an impact on the ride compared to the 45 series sidewall on the MXM4 tires.
 
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Robert A

Member
May 27, 2019
111
32
Los Angeles
I don't know how much the suspension differences between the LR AWD and Performance cars affects the ride and handling, but the difference between the tires is dramatic, and will make a very big difference in handling and steering response. The Michelin MXM4 tires on the LR AWD are an all season tire with okay handling and steering response, and the size is 235/45R18. The Performance model comes with Michelin PS4S tires which are among the highest performance summer street tires made with excellent handling and steering response, and the size is 235/35R20. While I would say that PS4S tires ride quite well for a performance tire, the much shorter 35 series sidewall will definitely have an impact on the ride compared to the 45 series sidewall on the MXM4 tires.

I agree that the Performance ride is firmer, but I also noticed that it did as good a job, if not better, insulating the cabin from road vibration compared to the LR-AWD model with standard wheels. The question I'm trying to resolve is whether the shocks and struts on the Performance model are designed any differently.
 

BuggDDS

Member
Dec 23, 2019
136
95
Oklahoma
I’m talking about reduced side roll, feels stiffer and more glued to the ground in my hands compared to a RWD my colleague has.
 
Aug 19, 2020
11
6
Texas
Video with comparison of handling 18 vs 19 inch wheels. So 18 vs 20 could be more significant.


Q: Does the Tesla Model 3 corner better on the optional tires? A: Absolutely, and this was the biggest difference we observed. Maximum cornering grip rose from 0.85g to 0.93g on the skidpad, which is significant. In real-world terms, it translated to a much more fun and engaging experience on our test circuit, where the acceleration and braking improvements figure in as well.
 

Robert A

Member
May 27, 2019
111
32
Los Angeles
If so, I concur with one of the comments above: get an AWD and invest into tires and an aftermarket suspension upgrade. The handling will be better than P. Depending on what you are used to and what good handling means for you, you may want to look at a comfort or sport aftermarket suspension setups. If you are unsure, ask forum members with aftermarket suspensions to demo them for you; should not be a problem to find someone around L.A.

May I ask who does after-market suspensions for Tesla? This may be an option for me to consider.
 

EmOne

Member
Mar 28, 2020
214
156
Chicago
I don't understand this reply! You were the one that showed that damper assemblies, sway bars and springs all had different part numbers! I only test drove the LRAWD, but I definitely felt that the M3P I bought had better damping (and steering response--but that could easily be do to the tires alone); not just firmer, but "better" in terms of being tuned for both ride and handling. Still, if I had to do over again, I would have bought the nonP, bought Tesla's upgraded software for more power and gone with better, smaller wheels (maybe even just the stock 18's with better tires!) and bought aftermarket suspension upgrade from Mountain Performance. 20" with rubber bands tires is just so much flash, not really better for real world driving.
 

Protect1989

Member
Jul 14, 2020
376
358
Dallas, TX
I’m a little confused by this thread and some of the responses, hoping someone can clarify

the 19” or 20” wheels are going to be better for handling characteristics, but I always thought the 18” would be far better for tire noise and ride comfort.

it sounds like maybe that could be wrong? It’s also sounding like the 19” wheels are sort of the sweet spot between too harsh a ride and not having the ability to corner well. Are the 18” wheels really that bad?
 

TheRFMan

Member
Dec 15, 2019
540
388
Ottawa, Canada
The 19” or 20” wheels are going to be better for handling characteristics, but I always thought the 18” would be far better for tire noise and ride comfort.

Noise is more a factor of the tire itself, not so much its size. A Michelin PS4S on an 18" wheel would be just as noisy as the same tire model on a 20" wheel.

I also wonder if the heavier 20" wheels of the P have an impact on the NVH transmitted into the cabin.
 

GregD60

Member
Mar 24, 2016
358
354
Colorado
I’m a little confused by this thread and some of the responses, hoping someone can clarify

the 19” or 20” wheels are going to be better for handling characteristics, but I always thought the 18” would be far better for tire noise and ride comfort.

it sounds like maybe that could be wrong? It’s also sounding like the 19” wheels are sort of the sweet spot between too harsh a ride and not having the ability to corner well. Are the 18” wheels really that bad?
I've run with both the stock 18" wheel and tire setup and the stock 19" wheel and tire setup. I think the lower profile tire on the 19s improves the steering response and there seems to be slightly less lean when hustling around a turn. It's not a huge difference but it is noticeable. There's very little difference in the ride; I think the 18s isolate better over small imperfections but bigger bumps seem to be absorbed better with the 19s. It's a small enough difference however that I'm not sure I could tell the difference just by riding in the car. I think the biggest difference is that the stock 19" Continental tires are simply better performing tires than the stock 18" Michelins. They handle better, are slightly quieter, and seem to grip better on limited amounts of ice and snow. Neither tire is very good on ice and snow, call the Continentals fair and the Michelins poor.

At this point, I run the 18s in winter with performance winter tires, and I'll get a summer, instead of all season, tire for the 19s when the Continentals wear out. I don't think the 18" size is bad on the Model 3, but the stock 18" tires are only mediocre.
 

EmOne

Member
Mar 28, 2020
214
156
Chicago
I’m a little confused by this thread and some of the responses, hoping someone can clarify

the 19” or 20” wheels are going to be better for handling characteristics, but I always thought the 18” would be far better for tire noise and ride comfort.

it sounds like maybe that could be wrong? It’s also sounding like the 19” wheels are sort of the sweet spot between too harsh a ride and not having the ability to corner well. Are the 18” wheels really that bad?
Confusion appropriate; this is a complicated subject and you can't expect to get up to speed on it in a paragraph. Bottom line, all things being otherwise equal (but they never are except in circumstances where serious people doing serious product development!), two sets of tires that are same diameter and same (shall we say nominal) tread width, if one has larger wheel/smaller sidewall height, the one with the larger wheel/smaller sidewall will present a stiffer response to roadway changes (bumps) and steering inputs ("turn-in" response). The other variables are going to include what the suspension (stiffness, shock profile, camber, camber changes, etc.) was optimized for, wheel/tire weight (often worse with bigger wheels--certainly true for the stock 20" set-up on the #), actual sidewall stiffness, tread compound and on and on. In the current environment, the clueless audience is mostly driven by fashion, and right now the fashion is for BIG wheels and rubberband (very short sidewalls) tires. This might look cool to some, but makes for very poor cushion for everything including the tire (think blistering or blow-out), the wheel (bent or cracked) and the rest of the car including YOU. Make no mistake, with 18" wheels and good (say P4S Michelin) tires, this car will handle great and ride better than with ANY 20" unless you oversize the tires (which is in fact quite doable.)
 

Ugene

Member
Nov 21, 2018
65
32
Seattle
May I ask who does after-market suspensions for Tesla? This may be an option for me to consider.
When I was looking there where Mountain Pass Performance and Unplugged Performance. I went with Mountain Pass Performance sport coilovers. You should do your research given that there's are a few more companies that supply suspensions for Model 3 now. There are quite a few threads on this forum about coilovers.
 

Robert A

Member
May 27, 2019
111
32
Los Angeles
Turning to tires for second, if I get a 2021 LR-AWD with 19s, what kind of tires come from Tesla, and are there any performance choices? Tirerack lists both the Continentals and Hankooks (for the 2020 model) as OEM. Continentals are said to be all-season and Hankooks are performance. If the same tires are offered for 2021, should I see about getting the Hankooks?
 

XLR82XS

D M C
Jul 26, 2019
3,126
1,762
SWFL | Vegas
I don't understand this reply! You were the one that showed that damper assemblies, sway bars and springs all had different part numbers! I only test drove the LRAWD, but I definitely felt that the M3P I bought had better damping (and steering response--but that could easily be do to the tires alone); not just firmer, but "better" in terms of being tuned for both ride and handling. Still, if I had to do over again, I would have bought the nonP, bought Tesla's upgraded software for more power and gone with better, smaller wheels (maybe even just the stock 18's with better tires!) and bought aftermarket suspension upgrade from Mountain Performance. 20" with rubber bands tires is just so much flash, not really better for real world driving.
You asked about shocks. They are listed as the same.
 

holmgang

Active Member
Sep 9, 2019
1,294
1,301
eu
Turning to tires for second, if I get a 2021 LR-AWD with 19s, what kind of tires come from Tesla, and are there any performance choices? Tirerack lists both the Continentals and Hankooks (for the 2020 model) as OEM. Continentals are said to be all-season and Hankooks are performance. If the same tires are offered for 2021, should I see about getting the Hankooks?

In most, if not all, markets in Europe the 19s are summer Hankooks.

I believe all the US 19s are the Continental all-season
 

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