The facelifted Tesla Model 3 is here and there’s a lot to talk about even though one might be tempted to believe we’re dealing with an average mid-cycle nip and tuck.
Besides the styling and equipment updates that are detailed in our debut article, the 2024 Model 3 brings a serious improvement in aerodynamics and therefore in efficiency – and range.
According to official information compiled by Sawyer Merritt on X (formerly Twitter), the new Model 3 is “the most aerodynamic Tesla ever,” with a drag coefficient of 0.219. However, the Model S has a drag coefficient of 0.208, so what does Tesla mean? In one photo from the new Model 3’s official launch in Norway, a slide is visible that reads “lowest absolute drag of any Tesla 0.219.”
While we wait for Tesla to clear this confusion up, it must be said that the most aerodynamic production car on sale today is the Lucid Air with a drag coefficient of 0.197.
As for the facelifted Model 3, it sees an almost 5 percent improvement over the outgoing model’s Cd of 0.23, and its improved aerodynamic performance is the single most important factor that contributes to the new Tesla Model 3’s efficiency increase of 8 percent.
Obviously, a car that’s more efficient covers a longer distance on a full battery charge, and that’s exactly the case with the facelifted Model 3. Tesla says that range has increased by up to 12 percent on the WLTP test cycle, with the Model 3 RWD now rated at 344 miles WLTP and the Model 3 Long Range at 421 miles WLTP – EPA range ratings haven’t been released yet.
Most of the increase in aerodynamic efficiency is due to the more streamlined front end featuring a more rounded bumper with smoother surfaces – no more fog lights – smaller horizontal headlights, and a flatter hood.
But Tesla has also made aerodynamic improvements in other areas, such as the redesigned lower rear bumper that now features an air diffuser, and the two new wheel designs which are said to optimize battery life.
The standard choice is the 18-inch Photon alloy wheel, which features seven blade-like spokes and is painted black. There’s also a 19-inch Nova wheel on offer, which is a $1,845 (1,700 euro) option in Germany. This rim has a more traditional design with 10 slimmer “twisted” spokes, and it looks a lot like the outgoing Model 3 Performance standard wheel choice.
While we’re on the topic of improved aerodynamics, another welcome side effect on top of increased efficiency and range is enhanced comfort, more specifically wind and ambient noise. The 2024 Tesla Model 3 sees improvements on this front as well, with the automaker quoting a 30-percent decrease in wind and ambient noise. While that’s not entirely due to the more aerodynamic body, its decisive contribution cannot be denied.