Tesla Model 3 Ludicrous in Valencia, Spain.

New Tesla Model 3 Ludicrous Performance Version Coming in May with +600 HP (Rumors)

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The newly refreshed Tesla Model 3 has been garnering praise from owners, auto pundits, and on-air personalities, including car aficionado and former talk show host Jay Leno. Leno recently featured the Model 3 on his YouTube channel and had much praise for the compact sports sedan. And though Leno loves the size, look, and driving feel of the “Highland” Model 3 refresh, he, like many performance EV lovers, was hoping for a version with a little more oomph than the current RWD or Long Range AWD trims. His wait may soon be over, as recent leaks suggest a May 2024 launch date for the performance trim of the Model 3 in both the US and China.

Model 3 Ludicrous getting ready for its close-up in Valencia, Spain.
Model 3 Ludicrous getting ready for its close-up in Valencia, Spain. Image courtesy of X user @dessiewisley

The upgraded Model 3 Performance has been spotted in various locations, including California and Europe. In many cases, it has been covered with camo strips, tape, and covers to mask its true form, but one X user (@dessiewisley) saw one being taken out for a promo video in Spain and got a nice clip of it in action.

The new logo on the rear suggests that Musk is finally following through on his promise from years ago. When asked on Twitter in April 2016 whether the Model 3 would get Ludicrous speed, Musk replied “of course.”

Well, thanks, Elon. Better late than never. Confirming this ludicrous idea is the fact that the new Model 3 Performance cars have been spotted with a new Ludicrous badge on the back. Similar to the color Plaid badge found on the Plaid Model S and Model X, the Ludicrous Model 3 badge is a black and white logo of similar design. You can find some additional camouflaged photos of a Model 3 Ludicrous in Europe here on Reddit. Taken from the cult film Spaceballs, both Ludicrous Speed and Plaid represent speeds beyond light speed. And while none of the Teslas can actually exceed the speed of light (yet), the current Model S Plaid can go 0–60 mph in around 2 seconds and Musk claims the upcoming Tesla Roadster will be able to hit 60 mph in around 1 second when fitted with optional SpaceX thrusters.

Model 3 Ludicrous badge on a test mule spotted in Europe.
A white Model 3 Ludicrous was spotted in Europe recently covered in tape to disguise its true form, but the Ludicrous badge is prominently displayed on its trunk. Image courtesy of Reddit user “Crazy_hobbies.”

As ludicrous as these speeds are, we expect the Model 3 Ludicrous will be somewhat less impressive than the Model S Plaid and the Roadster. Quotes from Tesla employees, reinforced by some paperwork filed in Korea, suggest that the Model 3 Ludicrous will include a new more powerful rear motor in addition to the current front motor. The combined BHP of both motors together tops out at about 614 horsepower, which is over 130 horsepower more than the current Model 3 Performance.

The current version is able to hit 60 mph in around 3.1 seconds, so we expect the new version will certainly hit 60 mph in under 3 seconds. It should also be capable of really low quarter-mile times, possibly under 11 seconds, as the new motor is apparently optimized for 110 km/h (68 mph) while the previous motor was optimized for 75 km/h (47 mph). The current Model 3 Performance is most impressive off the line, with a head-snapping jolt which tapers off as the car speeds up. This new Ludicrous version should be capable of sustained acceleration into higher speeds. X user @eivissacopter posted this leaked document on X, which provided some of these details:

The most recent update comes from a supposed Tesla leak in China, where a Tesla employee spoke with auto blog site Vehiclesuggest. This Tesla employee claimed an intended May launch in the US and China and suggests that both the front and rear motors may actually have been upgraded for the Ludicrous Model 3. This insider said about 20 engineers visited Tesla’s Giga Shanghai factory to address some issues with the car in development as the car nears final production.

As a satisfied owner of the original “stealth” Model 3 Performance from 2018, I’m looking forward to seeing what Tesla can do with seven more years of advancement in batteries, motors, and suspension. Earlier today (March 7, 2024), Tesla’s chief designer Franz von Holzhausen and VP of Vehicle Engineering Lars Moravy hosted a livestream on X with Q&A about the refreshed Model 3. However, though many X users asked for an update on the performance trim of the Model 3, the Tesla execs remained silent on the topic. So, we’ll have to wait a bit longer for official details.

What are you, dear readers, looking forward to most on the Model 3 Ludicrous? Let us know in the comments.

Related Reading: Tesla Model 3 Refresh is Worlds Better than my 2019 Model 3

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Chris Boylan

is an EV and alternative fuel enthusiast who has been writing about technology since 2003.

Chris Boylan has 72 posts and counting. See all posts by Chris Boylan