Let me preface this by saying we don’t actually own the spy photos but they can be found at Jalopnik. Now, on to the story. Apparently, the folks at Jalopnik have caught what seems to be the real life Tesla Model 3 in the wild far before its official debut and it seems to be doing some testing alongside the BMW 3 Series. After all, the BMW 3er is the Model 3’s chief competition.
In the pictures, you can really get a good look as to what the Model 3 will look like. It isn’t wearing any camouflage at all and we can see every detail of the car. There even some interior shots, where we can see the gigantic dash-mounted tablet screen (albeit, through the glare of the window glass).
From the outside, the Model 3 is exactly what we thought it would be. It’s essentially a slightly hatchbacked Model S. While it isn’t bad looking, it isn’t really good looking either. For something that’s supposed to make or break the Tesla brand, you’d think Mr. Musk would have wanted something a bit more interesting. Admittedly, it is in keeping with the brand’s styling and that seems to be working, so don’t fix what ain’t broke, I guess. I will note that the front end does look a bit different from the Model S and has a sort of psuedo-grill built into the face of the car, despite not actually having a grill. To be honest, this is the best looking front end of any Tesla thus far.
The rest of the car though? Ehh. Pretty nondescript and really lacking any sort of visual drama. The door handles seem to be changed but that’s really about it. I looks exactly like every other Tesla and a cross between the Model S and Model X, although it isn’t anywhere near as hideous as the latter (I saw a Model X on the road the other day and couldn’t stop gasping at its tepid awfulness).
On the inside, it’s hard to really make out any other details besides the massive screen but it looks pretty minimalist. That’s fine, of course, as that’s sort of the idea. Much like the BMW i3, the interior is meant to be calm, simple and serene, without much distraction. The massive tablet looks okay but it really has the sort of tacked-on look that Mercedes-Benz gets a lot of flak for. It looks like a TV on a wall-mount. There does seem to be some nice wood trim across the dash, though, which is nice.
Overall, the Tesla Model 3 looks exactly like every other Tesla but I guess that’s the point. Its buyers are the sort of tech-oriented folks who don’t really care about driving or style and are more interested in the technology under the skin. So keeping its design simple, both inside and out, is probably a smart idea. While it will bother more traditional car people, such as myself, that it looks more like an appliance than anything special, it will certainly appeal to its target audience, which is a new breed of car buyer.