Tuning is the ultimate leveller: we all know you can tune almost anything to go chasing hypercars if you throw enough money and expertise at it, and the latest giant-killer on the scene is the Unplugged Performance Tesla Model 3.
The electric family saloon (sedan, if you’re not British) is a quick thing anyway, posting supercar-quick launch times, but on a track it’s known to run out of breath. Specialist Tesla tuner Unplugged Performance has countered the top-end fall-off in performance with a special raft of chassis and aero upgrades, under the ‘Ascension-R’ umbrella, to make the humble Model 3 an absolute missile through the bends.
The results are pretty spectacular, with the hopped-up EV now able to lap Japan’s iconic Tsukuba circuit more than a second quicker than a McLaren F1. Okay, so it’s maybe a smidge unfair to compare it to a hypercar from the 1990s, but such is the legend of the F1 that it remains a universal performance benchmark.
Among the mods are a bespoke and three-way adjustable coilover suspension kit, front and rear three-way adjustable anti-roll bars and 394mm six-piston carbon ceramic brakes. Buyers can choose 18-, 19- or 20-inch wheels depending on how much they hate sidewalls, and wearing Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tyres even the 20-inch hoops weigh just 8.9kg each.
Check out the rear wing, too. It’s hand-made to order and offers each lucky buyer the chance to customise the exact design before construction begins. Function matches form courtesy of useful downforce brought to the rear end.
Then there are the Tesla-embroidered bucket seats, replacing the standard ones from which the cornering forces would eject a driver pretty sharpish. They’re covered in a mix of suede and suspiciously Golf GTI-ish tartan, and they look fantastic.
The price for all this lovely silliness? Erm, $35,000. That’s almost as much as the purchase price of the base Model 3 itself and takes the overall cost of a new car plus Ascension-R mods to $74,990. Still, next to some other track-biased toys fetching six-figure price tags it looks like a bit of a steal…