What is it?
There can’t be many people this side of the moon who would still wonder about the identity of the Tesla Model 3 if they saw one parked in the street.
Most people already know a lot from the papers and TV about Elon Musk’s electric marque, and especially about the BMW 3 Series-sized Model 3 that has generated a six-figure waiting list on world markets and which, after delays, will start bringing affordable Tesla motoring to the UK masses later this year.
We’ve already driven enough pre-production Model 3s in foreign parts to know about the car’s all-round strengths – torque, acceleration, smoothness and quietness – and also about the special driving techniques it encourages in its driver: smoothness with torque, minimal wheel twirling and a consciousness that when it coasts or brakes, it regenerates power.
However, this was our first chance to drive a Tesla Model 3 on UK roads, which raised questions we haven’t faced before. The biggest: how would the car cope with our uniquely uneven, lumpy and potholed roads? Would our noisy surfaces be a bother? Would the steering have the accuracy and feel needed for brisk progress on kerb-lined country roads? In short, could the Tesla Model 3 fit comfortably into the UK motoring scene when it arrives in numbers?