The Tesla Model 3 Performance is getting closer towards its global unveiling, with photos of a camouflaged prototype published online.

    Tesla’s updated Model 3 – referred to as the ‘Highland’ – has only gone on sale in single-motor RWD and Long Range dual motor guise thus far, however the flagship Performance variant has been confirmed for a return.

    In a post uploaded to Reddit, a user posted a photo of what appears to be a Tesla Model 3 Performance engineering vehicle charging in Santa Monica, California.

    While it’s fitted with the ‘Sports’ wheels from the pre-update Model 3, it clearly shows the Highland model’s slimmer headlights

    Inside there are new deep bucket seats, rather than the standard units from the base model – a feature previously leaked by Tesla insiders.

    An additional photo uploaded to X – formerly Twitter – by user Nic Cruz Patane shows the seats in greater detail, as well as the car’s lower front splitter.

    In November 2023, Tesla’s director of vehicle programs, Daniel Ho, told media the new Model 3 Performance would return as something “pretty special” in the first half of 2024, though it’s not clear if this timeline was global or Australia-specific.

    Various reports have suggested there will be additional changes to the Model 3’s design in Performance guise – with new ‘Warp’ 20-inch wheels replacing the current Sports and ‘Uberturbine’ designs – along with upgraded brakes and suspension components.

    Images of Tesla’s new service manual have also shown a pattern similar to that seen in the 1987 cult film Spaceballs when the protagonist’s spaceship accelerates to “Ludicrous Speed”.

    There has been online speculation that the Tesla Model 3 Performance could be renamed Ludicrous, in line with the Model S electric sedan’s flagship ‘Plaid’ variant – the next speed up in Spaceballs.

    All of these changes are yet to be confirmed, and outputs from its expected dual-motor powertrain have not been locked in.

    The pre-Highland Tesla Model 3 Performance produced up to 393kW and 660Nm, and was last priced from $83,400 before on-road costs.

    MORE: Everything Tesla Model 3
    MORE: 2024 Tesla Model 3 RWD review

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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