Is the Tesla Model 3 a Luxury Car [4 Key Benchmarks]

by Brian Griffiths | Updated On: April 7th, 2022
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In past times the key to what defined a luxury brand was always centered around an idea of exclusivity – the feeling that not everyone will get their hands on or experience whatever the brand is selling. However, while this feeling is continued to be evoked through perceptions of quality, comfort, and elegance, the term “luxury” is evolving to encompass different things to consumers around the globe. Today the perception of “luxury” has a different meaning than it did to previous generations. 

No more is this evident than in the luxury car sector. Today, many people may not consider the Tesla Model 3 a luxury car. It didn’t, for example, make the prestigious ‘best luxury electric cars of 2022’ in the created by the online motoring editors of Luxe Digital magazine – that honor went to the Mercedes Benz EQS followed by the Tesla Model s Plaid. Plenty feels its exceptional performance, unique styling, and minimalist design entitle the Tesla Model 3 to be considered a luxury car.

Why is the Tesla Model 3 perceived as a Luxury Car?

black tesla
Photo by Mike Fonseca licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

There are a host of factors why so many people perceive the Tesla Model 3 as a luxury car. It starts with the fact that the so-called luxury car market is highly fragmented and stuffed with vehicles that offer very little or no point of difference. 

Take, for example, one of the existing standard-bearers of the so-called luxury car market BMW. Their compact luxury 3 and 4 series; are essentially the same car with little difference between them. Yes, the Series 4 does have a more dashing body style and is available with two doors or as a convertible, and the 3-Series is offered as a hatchback or sedan. 

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But for the same price as the current Model 3, there are at least 11 different BMW models to choose from, whereas the Model 3 has no direct competitor vying for the customer’s share of wallet. So already, by default, the vehicle offers a sense of exclusivity and luxury about it, meaning that not every other car on the road is a Tesla Model 3. 

How Does the Tesla Model 3 Perform Compared to other Luxury Models?

1. Acceleration

If endless standing start challenges, pitting the Tesla Model 3 against iconic luxury ICE models isn’t enough to convince you how the Model 3 performs. Then a quick internet search will confirm that 0-60 mph takes at most 5.6 seconds in the base Model 3 and is slashed right down to 3.2 seconds in the most expensive Tesla Model 3 Performance.

When compared to either end of the luxury spectrum, with the Audi A3 at the lower end of luxury pricing and the BMW M3 at the upper end, the comparable Tesla Model 3 delivers similar or more superior acceleration.

But remember, performance is much more than just being quick off the line, of course, but every aspect of a Tesla Model 3’s driving style seems to deliver. The instant torque of an electric vehicle is a significant advantage across the board, whether it’s from a standing start or the immediate delivery required to move from slip roads to motorway speeds. 

The handling of the Model 3 is also comparable with any of the typical low-slung luxury sedan styles. Its low centre of gravity delivers a satisfying combination of comfort and exciting driving.

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2. Technology

Technology, often considered to be the gatekeeper when determining all things luxury in the modern world, is undoubtedly one area where the Tesla Model 3 not only delivers but excels. 

A car that continues to offer advanced driver-assist features, the latest infotainment options, and any other functions that can be labeled “tech-forward” will consistently achieve greatness in the luxury stakes. The Tesla Model 3 delivers on the technology front by the bucket load, to such a point now that many leading industry analysts across the globe consider Tesla to be more of a software company than a car manufacturer.

Along with the existing technology, there’s also the fact that this technology continues to receive regular updates that upgrade all the luxury aspects of the Tesla Model 3.

So if performance is a well-established luxury consideration, then technology is one that Tesla is defining in its own right. No other competing luxury sedan owner experiences the experience of continually waking up to a car with new security features, additional comfort options, or extra entertainment modes, all without leaving home or moving off the sofa.

What Other Reasons are there for the Model 3 to be considered a Luxury Car?

3. Body Styling

Let’s start with the exterior. The unique styling of the Tesla Model 3 is a collection of sleek body lines and attractive wheel designs, and while there’s some debate over the appearance of the front end – some people like the flat nose showing the absence of a traditional grille, while others don’t care for it. It’s this unique look that makes it instantly recognizable as a Tesla.

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Then there’s its size which is in line with other renowned players in the compact luxury sedan class, such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, and Audi A4.

4. Minimalist Interior

If it’s not the sleek and unique body shape that gives the Model 3 a touch of luxury, then the interior indeed does. While some luxury car interiors are lavishly adorned with over-the-top showy trim pieces, diamond-stitched leather, and crystal shift knobs, the inside of the Model 3 is defined by its sophisticated simplicity and minimalist take on luxury.

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Photo by Mark Vletter licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Final Word

The perception of “luxury” has a different meaning today than it did to previous generations. Today a “luxury” brand is all about the design, the build quality, and the use of technology, all of which have been engaged to ensure that if you are shopping for a luxury electric vehicle. Then you should give serious consideration to the Tesla Model 3 as it is most definitely a luxury car in its class.

Rechargd was founded in 2020. We're passionate about electric cars, renewable technology and the future of the automotive industry. We’re here to help you sort the fact from fiction and stay up to date in the world of EV's.