What exactly does the Model S have that the Model 3 doesn't

What exactly does the Model S have that the Model 3 doesn't

People keep calling the M3 "basic" or a "downgrade" but even fully loaded civics these days have tons of great features.

Trying to understand what the M3 is missing from it's sibling that matters in the real world.

door handles
long chasis, bigger trunk
more interior screens
leg room
air suspension
baby kid rear seats
bio weapon filter

what else?

in some ways the M3 seems like an upgrade being

lighter, nimble
more fuel efficient
full glass roof
more storage
smaller size, fits through traffic easier

guess it's like a bmw 7 series vs. 3-5 series. nothing new.


PhillyGal | 01/08/2017

You are correct!

The Model S, as of now (and probably always) has more performance, will probably get future features that the Model 3 doesn't get (or will get them first) and currently has more space, a hatch back, additional display, mechanical door handles - though it does also have a full glass roof option. It has a moving pano roof option that as of now the Model 3 does not have. (may never.)

But the Model 3 is hardly a downgrade for anyone interested in a car that isn't quite huge, and the better "fuel" efficiency.

gatorj31 | 01/08/2017

New model S currently has free super charging and glass roof is included. Plus it's bigger faster bla bla... 30k nicer? Not to me.

Agent_86 | 01/08/2017

If you look at the stats on interior space, model 3 has essentially the same front and rear leg room, more front and rear headroom, and only 1-2 inches less shoulder/hip room

ddrmadness | 01/08/2017

I don't think the model 3 has more storage than the S. In fact, according to Tesla, the model S has almost twice the storage of the 3. The model S has a higher range when fully loaded, larger wheels and more wheel options (and better standard wheels IMO), currently more interior options, more familiar vents, not just more screens but a larger central screen, AM & XM radio, more controls on the steering wheel. I think that's everything I can think of. I also still agree that the M3 is the better value, but you definitely are getting a lot more with the MS.

ReD eXiLe ms us | 01/08/2017

The Tesla Model S currently has more available options than the Model 3.

Hmmm... That seems familiar for some reason...

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class currently has more available options than the C-Class.

The BMW 7-Series currently has more available options than the 3-Series.

The AUDI A8 currently has more available options than the A4.

carlk | 01/08/2017

Lighter, nimbler, more fuel efficient come with every smaller car compares to its larger siblings. That said energy efficiency loss of a bigger and heavier EV is not as much as that of ICE cars.

jlangshaw | 01/08/2017

My worry is if I build an M3 vs an MS I get very close in price and the base performance of an S is significantly better. Im worried there is not enough distinction between the two cars at this point.

knightshade9 | 01/08/2017

The cheapest model S available (and not for much longer) is about $70,000. About to go up to 75k for the cheapest. And you'll almost certainly want at least 5-10k more in options.... so 75-80k now, 80-85k shortly.

An M3 with every single option offered (except the 3k imaginary one) is $56,500.

So almost $20,000 difference on the very low end, almost 30k difference on the high.

Octagondd | 01/08/2017

@jlangshaw - yes, that is the dilemma they want you to have.

hoffmannjames | 01/08/2017

I think the S is better in some areas, while the 3 is better in other areas. I read that the 3 actually does have some little things that are improvements over the S, like more pockets on the doors or roof for storage, more USB ports, good lighting on the vanity mirror. And the 3 has what I consider a superior air vent system. If range is most important, The long range Model 3 offers 300+ miles for less than a Model S. Of course, there are things that the S does better, like better performance, with more options. It all boils down to what you care about most.

eandmjep | 01/08/2017

Put it like this What does a Base Model S have that A Base Model 3 Wont have and ask your self is it even necessary. Self Presenting Door handles, Auto Lift Gate? meh..

69,500 for an S75 with only 19 more miles of EPA range than a M3 Base Model. (oops now they include SAS another $2500 off the price) If you owned both what would stand out besides the price. More cargo space, center screen, Manual vents up front no door pockets, poorly positioned Cup holders and only 2 at that.

I know What I see two beautiful cars and nothing I cant live without on the 3. Way Excited ;)!!

Stx | 02/08/2017

The 100kWh battery.

Nexxus | 02/08/2017


The difference on the low end is about $35K, not $20K. Just saying.

knightshade9 | 02/08/2017


Well, no, it's not.

Re-read what I wrote.

I was comparing "An M3 with every single option offered (except the 3k imaginary one)"

To a base-model 75D to get that low end difference.

Which is...just under $20,000.

mbcaffe | 02/08/2017

Hoffmannjames mentioned lighted vanity mirrors on the model 3. Is that verified anywhere? My wife complains about it missing on my S Every time.

Mr.Tesla | 02/08/2017

Yes, lighted vanity mirrors are visible in Tesla Bjorn's delivery event video.

Keep in mind that the Model 3's that were used to give rides were all premium interior. So, standard may vary... | 02/08/2017

@hoffmannjames - Most of what you listed is right except USB ports! The S has 4 ports standard, the X has 5 if you order the 6 or 7 seat configurations. The Model 3 includes 2 standard, and 2 more if you opt for the Premium package. Not sure this is a deal breaker for anyone :) | 02/08/2017

@Mr.Tesla - Lighted vanity mirrors are on the X only - not the S. I didn't see them on the 3 (from photos), but quite a few state they are included. I've not heard this from Tesla, so I don't know if the 3 has them or not. Seems like everyone is quoting each other, but no real source. Love to be wrong on this, but again I doubt it will stop anyone from buying either the 3 or the S. | 02/08/2017

Back to the OP - The #1 benefit of the Model S is you can get one now :)

CV63 | 02/08/2017

And don't forget to factor in $7,500 rebate if you buy the S now as compared to no rebate for the 3 if you reserve now. Closes the gap a bot.

Mr.Tesla | 02/08/2017

They absolutely are visible in TeslaBjorn's delivery event video. Bjorn makes a big deal about the lights on the visor mirror.

They are riding in a production Model 3. It's real. You can check his video, if you want.

rxlawdude | 02/08/2017

AM and XM radios.

SCCRENDO | 02/08/2017

The Model S is a much higher quality car. In fact the Model X is even better. I own a Model S since April 2013 with 121000 miles and looking to reach 300000. I am gifting it to my wife in favor of a fully loaded Model 3 for the simple reason that I dont need such a big car when I drive alone most of the time. With a classic Model 85S, vin 77xx I have no autopilot etc. Just a battery with 266 miles. So I get a smaller car with FSD potentially and a 300 mile battery. Good enough for me. With unlimited dollars I buy the fully loade Model X P100D with ludicrous mode.

eleestein | 02/08/2017

My 2016 Model S60 with upgraded interior was $67,500. Add the recently price reduced AP1 upgrade of $3,000 and it's $70,500. It may not have the distance, but it was only $14,000 more than the comparable long range M3 ($49k + $5k AP1 + $1,500 wheels + $1,000 color = $56,500). I think $14k isn't that much difference when you consider that I have loved driving a Tesla for the past 10 months, received the $7,500 federal tax credit for 2016 and as a Tesla Owner have almost ensured that I'll receive the $7,500 tax credit for the Model 3 I received on 3/31/16.

eleestein | 02/08/2017

Reserved not received. Wishful thinking!

Liba | 02/08/2017

Model S owners seem to be getting defensive. Not the point of this topic. You guys obviously have a great car and many of us are envious. Just simply trying to understand what the exact differences are.

Vikman | 02/08/2017

Don't forget the best addition to the model 3...coat hooks!!! :)

ReD eXiLe ms us | 03/08/2017

knighshade9: Not so much 'imaginary' as it is 'not yet legal' for public consumption.

Autopilot Full Self Driving Demonstration Nov 18 2016 Realtime Speed
[ YouTube -- VG68SKoG7vE ]

ShesNoCissy | 03/08/2017

Aren't the warranties different?

Nexxus | 03/08/2017


Then you aren't comparing the low end Model ≡ vs. the low end Model S. Which the former is half the price of the latter, or $35K, which is the true comparison to make.

globalMan | 03/08/2017

What about re-gen brakes? Does the M3 have that too?

PhillyGal | 03/08/2017

@gllivyl - Heck yeah they do!
I mean, it hasn't been explicitly talked about but not having it would be like Tesla putting out the Model 3 with only 3 wheels.

TheOx | 03/08/2017

Model S is all aluminum v Model 3 hybrid aluminum/steel.

mos6507 | 03/08/2017

A real dashboard.

eleestein | 03/08/2017

@PhillyGal - Didn't you hear? 3 wheels is standard. If you want a 4th wheel it's a $3,000 upgrade.

Ruby110 | 03/08/2017

Does the Model S have a longer DU warranty?