The Tesla Model 3, once touted as Elon Musk's US$35,000 EV for the masses, is gaining new muscle – and a much higher price tag – in the form of a Performance-badged BMW M3 bruiser.
The new dual-motor, all-wheel-drive performance version of the Model 3 will have a top speed of 155 miles per hour, a 310-mile range and acceleration from standstill to 60mp/h in 3.5 seconds, Musk says.
The latest performance Model 3 will cost "about same as BMW M3, but 15 per cent quicker and with better handling, sufficient to "will beat anything in its class on the track."
A BMW M3 sedan has a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price of about US$66,500, while the Tesla Model 3 Performance is expected to cost US$78,000.
That's more than double the US$35,000 base-model starting price discussed into the run-up before the electric car's deliveries began last year, and it doesn't include the Autopilot driver-assist feature.
The increasingly expensive configurations for the Model 3 are planned steps, if somewhat counterintuitive ones, towards Musk's vision of Tesla as a mass-production player with vehicles affordable to a broader swathe of buyers.
The pricier pumped-up version of the Model 3 will be beyond reach of many consumers, and, by Musk's own estimations, bring it closer to the realm of luxury cars.
However, that's in keeping with Musk's earlier practices with the Model S luxury sedan and Model X sport utility vehicle adding options and higher specifications to help generate cash that can be used to eventually build vehicles for mainstream buyers.