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Tesla Model 3 Acceleration Boost Compared to BMW, Mercedes, Alfa Romeo and Audi Performance Upgrades

Tesla has just released an over the air update for Model 3 All Wheel Drive Long Range owners that promises to improve 0-60mph times by 0.5 seconds for $2,000. Some owners were ecstatic at the option of improving their car’s performance, especially after the 5% power boost update from a few weeks ago that was absolutely free. 

Of course, Tesla’s biggest critics and trolls were out complaining about how early adopters were being taken advantage of or if $2,000 is too much for “just a software update”.

This got us thinking about what it would take to take any of Tesla’s competitors off the lot and try to improve their 0-60mph times by 0.5 seconds.

There are wild differences between the bone dry standard trim of a car model and its high performance variant. But is the gain in performance always worth the increase in price? 

We’re going to comparing the following cars:

  • Audi A3 Saloon
  • Mercedes C-Class
  • BMW 3-Series
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia
  • Tesla Model 3

The figures we’re taking into account are as follows:

  • Price
  • Horsepower
  • Torque
  • 0-60mph
  • Top speed

The goal is to understand the cost per second to improve car acceleration performance across these luxury sedans to better understand the value that Tesla is providing us with over the air software updates.

Audi A3 Sedan

The Audi has a wide range of variants split into three main tiers of performance: A, S, and RS. We’ll be comparing the A variant to the RS, as these denote the very bottom and top of the model. Specifically, we’ll be focussing on the saloon version of the A3 which is a closer comparison to the rest of the cars being compared here.

Audi A3 Base Spec Top Spec Difference
Price $34,868 61,640 76.87%
Power (bhp) 116 394 162%
Torque (ft-lb) 147 354 140.82%
0-60 mph (secs) 9.6 4.1 57.29%
Top Speed (mph) 139 155 11%

Cost Per Second Decrease: $4,867.64 

In other words, it costs $4,867.64 to decrease the 0-60 mph time for an Audi A3 by one second.

Mercedes C-Class

Like the Audi, the Mercedes C-Class has a distinct high performance variant under the AMG name. We’ll be focussing on the saloon variants again to make a more suitable comparison.

Merc C-Class Base Spec Top Spec Difference
Price $36,550 100,213 174.19%
Power (bhp) 153 510 233.33%
Torque (ft-lb) 184 516 184.44%
0-60 mph (secs) 7.9 3.7 53.16%
Top Speed (mph) 140 180 28.57%

Cost Per Second Decrease: $15,157.86

In other words, it costs $15,157.86 to decrease the 0-60 mph time for a Mercedes C-Class by one second.

BMW 3 Series

Rounding off our three German saloons, the BMW 3 Series separates its bottom spec and top spec by the addition of an M badge. Again, it’s available as a saloon so that’s what we’re going to be using as a comparison.

BMW 3 Series Base Spec Top Spec Difference
Price $42,455 $72,830.00 71.73%
Power (bhp) 181 425 134.81%
Torque (ft-lb) 221 406 83.71%
0-60 mph (secs) 6.9 3.9 43.48%
Top Speed (mph) 146 174 19.18%

Cost Per Second Decrease: $10,125 

In other words, it costs $10,125 to decrease the 0-60 mph time for a BMW 3 Series by one second.

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Italy’s entrant into the saloon market was fierce, but unfortunately low sales have meant the Giulia won’t be around for much longer. Its performance spec was named the Quadrifoglio, and it was brilliant.

Giulia Base Spec Top Spec Difference
Price $42,154 $81,941.00 94.40%
Power (bhp) 197 502 154.82%
Torque (ft-lb) 243 443 82.30%
0-60 mph (secs) 6.4 3.8 40.63%
Top Speed (mph) 146 191 30.82%

Cost Per Second Decrease: $15,302.69 

In other words, it costs $15,302.69 to decrease the 0-60 mph time for an Alfa Romeo Giulia by one second.

Tesla Model 3

This one’s special thanks to a new update from Tesla that gives it an OTA (over the air) boost in power and performance. We’ll be comparing the very bottom spec of the Model 3 with the Performance version, then compare that to the Dual Motor variant with the additional power boost upgrade.

Tesla Model 3 Base Spec Top Spec Difference
Price $39,990 $56,990.00 42.51%
Power (bhp) 201 450 123.88%
Torque (ft-lb) 258 471 82.56%
0-60 mph (secs) 5.3 3.2 -39.62%
Top Speed (mph) 140 155 10.71%

Cost Per Second Decrease: $8095.24

In other words, it costs $8,095.24 to decrease the 0-60 mph time for a Tesla Model 3 by one second.

Acceleration Boost Upgrade

Tesla Model 3 LR AWD LR AWD LR AWD w/Boost Difference
Price $48,990 $50,990.00 4.08%
0-60 mph (secs) 4.4 3.9 -13.64%

Cost Per Second Decrease: $4,000

In other words, it costs $4,000 to decrease the 0-60 mph time for a Tesla Model 3 by one second.


Being that this update is a reality and it shaved off 0.5 seconds for Tesla’s middle offering version, here’s a list of real costs if the other luxury makers would charge to shave the same 0.5 seconds off their times:

  • Tesla Model 3 LR AWD Acceleration Boost: $2,000
  • Audi A3: $2,434
  • Tesla Model 3: $4047.62
  • Mercedes C-Class: $7,579
  • BMW 3 Series: $5,063
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia: $7,651

Obviously, the Audi A3’s base model is far and away the slowest model in this comparison, which helps them from a mathematical standpoint, and the Model 3 Standard Range Plus’ relatively fast base model hinders them in the same way.

At the end of the day, this was just an exercise in putting into context the amazing value Tesla is providing with these over the air update options.

Honestly, how much money would it take to drop a luxury sedan that is already running in the 4 seconds for 0-60 mph another half a second?

How else can we compare these vehicles? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by Tesla Reporter

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