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Tesla rolled out a special driving mode for its Model 3 Performance cars on Wednesday that is specifically designed for high-performance driving and racing, the company said.
The change further establishes the Performance version of the Model 3 as a car meant to be driven on racetracks in competitions or by enthusiasts.
Cars typically have stability and traction control systems that keep the car from sliding around under different conditions — such as when it makes a tight turn. But sometimes drivers want to be able to slide just a bit when they enter a turn — it can actually improve speed.
Tesla said it has replaced the typical driving system that keeps tires from skidding through turns with its own in-house “Vehicle Dynamics Controller,” which improves performance on a track when Track Mode is engaged. The car’s driving mode can be changed with a switch of a button.
The carmaker said the system uses inputs to allow the car to slide just as much as a driver wants in a turn. It bases its adjustments on the driver’s behavior. If the car is not sliding enough, it will send power to the rear wheels. If it is sliding too much, it will send a power to the front wheels to straighten the vehicle out.
Here is what it looks like:
Tesla CEO Elon Musk first said in late May that the company would make a Model 3 Performance version. The version of the mid-sized sedan costs $64,000. The cheapest Model 3 costs $46,000, still considerably higher than the $35,000 base price Tesla had originally intended to charge for the car. When he first talked about the Model 3 Performance in May, Musk said making a cheap version of the car at this point would cause Tesla to “lose money & die.”