The Tesla Model 3 Stealth Performance car is an elusive model that can be difficult to learn about. Because there is such an involved backstory, not to mention difficulty in acquiring it in the first place, not much is known about this elusive model outside of car enthusiasts.
The Model 3 Stealth Performance is technically the original Performance model, before the upgraded version of the Performance came out with all of the visible bells and whistles. The engine is comparable, but some details such as the spoiler, brakes, and acceleration speed are different.
Even so, that is a very simplified answer. With this particular model, the answer is in the details. Read on to learn all about this interesting version of a popular electric car.
Model 3 Stealth Performance Overview
The Tesla Model 3 has several different versions with a somewhat nonsensical timeline, so it is not very obvious at first glance how to tell all of them apart.
The updated version of the Model 3 Standard Range was first available in 2019. Its range is about 220 miles on a single charge with standard acceleration. The variants of the standard range model are the Standard Range Plus, with an extra 50 miles or so, and the all wheel drive version.
Soon after that, the Performance model hit the markets. The confusing part is that the original Performance model is identical to the Stealth Performance. Shortly after its initial debut, several features were added to the Performance model as an upgrade option.
- A rear spoiler
- An increased wheel size from 18” to 20”
- Upgraded braking system
- Aluminum pedals
Those options soon became standard for the Performance model and the original Performance model was then phased out of standard production.
The original Performance model without the upgraded features was still available, but only through a lesser-known ordering option only available after the deposit had been made. It involved contacting the manufacturer directly. Because of how hard it became to obtain and how sneaky the process itself was, it was nicknamed the “Stealth” or “Sleeper” Model 3 Performance.
Differences between the Stealth and Performance Models
There are many differences between these two models from speed to aesthetics. While an everyday car owner may not be willing to pay the extra money for these features, there are still many reasons that owning one is worth the time it takes to find the car.
With all of the different names, both official and unofficial, that people have come up with, telling them apart can be difficult.
Other names for the Stealth model are:
- Stealth Performance
- Sleeper Performance
- Original Performance
Other names for the now-standard Performance model are:
With the names out of the way, there are many features that are different between the two models.
The Performance model includes a snazzy spoiler, which is its most distinctive feature that sets it apart from the Stealth or standard Model 3 versions. It does not boast any significant height. Rather, it adds a more dynamic edge to the rear of the car and is often a different color than the rest of the body of the car.
While the Tesla spoiler is not as obvious as most, many people appreciate it for that very reason. Sometimes, subtlety is the best art and cars are no exception.
The standard Tesla Model 3 comes with 18” wheels, designed for both ease of handling and speed. They are meant to traverse all conditions and can be easily switched out for winter or other specialty tires.
By contrast, the Performance model has 20” rims. This is specifically to give the owner a boost in racing and speed situations. While specialty tires are a bit harder to find in this size, they do exist and can be found, most commonly through Tesla themselves.
Since the Stealth model does not include the Performance upgrade package, it still rests atop the standard 18” in wheels. If you have your heart set on the 20” wheels, Tesla shops can switch them out for you, though it may cost a pretty penny.
The Model 3 Stealth comes with the standard Model 3 brakes. This means that they are not the flashy red color that can be seen in the Performance model, plus they boast some performance differences.
Another key difference is that the Performance model comes equipped with the newer two-piece, 4-corner Brembo system that is several pounds lighter than its standard counterpart. In addition to being more precise in braking execution, the lighter design is effective for racing. As any racer knows, every pound helps aerodynamics and speed.
This is where things get interesting. While both the Stealth and the Performance boast identical engines, the differences between the two may give the Stealth a slight edge in regards to both speed and acceleration.
- With the wheel size being two inches smaller, this translates to faster speeds and better mileage overall, depending on handling.
- While spoilers look cool, they often do not do you any favors with regards to aerodynamics. That bit of extra pull with the spoiler on the Performance model just slightly bogs down the takeoff speed.
- The car overall is slightly lighter, which can marginally improve speed.
All totaled up, these differences can give you a slight advantage in the zero to sixty acceleration time for the Stealth. You may not notice this when simply puttering around town, but if you are into racing, this could mean the difference between winning and losing.
Stealth and Performance Model Similarities
Since the Stealth and Performance are essentially the same model with only an upgrade package difference, their similarities are too numerous to count. Several, however, stand out among all of the rest to push this unique car into the limelight.
These differences are both performance based and purely aesthetic, depending on which feature it is, so there is something for every type of car aficionado to appreciate.
Both vehicles have an identical engine. They both boast a dual engine with a combined horsepower of 480 HP. The current top speed is about 160 miles per hour. Both are also designed with aerodynamics and engine efficiency as top priorities.
While they are both designed to go from 0 to 60 in 3.1 seconds, the small differences on the models can change that, though that is very dependent on how you handle and maintain the car. A poorly maintained car can easily dip below that, while aftermarket changes can improve acceleration.
Self Driving Capabilities
Unlike the standard Model 3, both the Stealth and Performance models come equipped with Tesla’s self driving technology, also known as autopilot. This tech includes many features that can help enhance road safety and take over some of the responsibilities of driving a car.
These features include the following:
- The cruise control is traffic-aware, meaning that it will slow down as needed for traffic, then resume its set speed once the way is clear. This is a significant improvement on traditional cruise control that other manufacturers use.
- The autopilot feature will hold your lane for you. The car recognizes the road lane and keeps you precisely in the middle, while also accounting for obstacles and curves. Using this feature is not recommended in snow, as it obstructs the tells that the car uses to see the lane.
- The autopark feature will park your car for you in any standard type of space, whether it is a traditional parking lot or parallel parking. With this car, avoiding parallel parking is a thing of the past.
- The summon feature will make your car come to you! This is a great feature for anyone who has a hard time remembering where they parked their car or if you do not want to walk out into the elements to get to your car.
- The navigation system is integrated with the autopilot and assists with lane changes to be sure you are in the right one.
- A newer feature still in beta testing is the stoplight and stop sign assist, which slows you down in time for these stops. Since this is still in beta, it is not considered as reliable as other standard features and should be used with particular attention.
Even though it is labeled as self driving, it is still illegal to let the autopilot take over completely for you without supervision. This means no napping while the car drives itself around! You should always be prepared to immediately take over control in the event of an emergency or malfunction.
Body and Layout
The body style and parts layout of both the Performance and Stealth models are identical. At first glance, both look like normal sedans, with nothing particularly special about them. As you learn more about it and pay more attention to detail, it is easier to see that every square inch has been given special attention to improve the performance of the car.
Tesla is well-known for reworking common components from the ground up, unlike most other manufacturers who gradually improve features over time. Tesla execs enjoy completely rethinking how each part can work the best and deliver you the best value for your money. Because of this, there are many surprises to be found in their cars.
Benefits of the Model 3 Stealth Performance
The Model 3 Stealth has many benefits to it that are different from its standard range and Performance counterparts. Since it is quite unique, these benefits are highly sought after by prospective buyers.
How important these benefits are to the individual buyer is largely dependent on the lifestyle and driving habits of its prospective owner. If you do a lot of long-distance driving, for example, even a slight improvement in battery life can be a major convenience boost for you.
The Model 3 Stealth boasts a better battery life than the standard Model 3. Rather than the usual 220 to 240 mile range (depending on manufacture date), the Stealth adds an average of 30-50 miles to its range. Again, this is dependent on its manufacture date, as electric car battery sizes and capacities are improving at nearly breakneck speed.
While this may not seem like a lot, this can really shave off the number of stops you have to make to recharge, particularly on a longer trip.
Many people who love fancy cars do not enjoy being conspicuous about it, particularly when they live in an area with a significant crime rate. In a world with abundant crime, sometimes showing off is not a good option.
Others may simply be more private people who feel uncomfortable about possibly being perceived as showing off.
Regardless of the reasons for wanting a less conspicuous vehicle, the Stealth is a fantastic choice to keep your car’s true value under wraps. The only identifier is the line under the model identifier on the trunk, which can be easily removed at the owner’s discretion.
If we are being honest, part of the perk of owning a Tesla is the pride that comes with it. This is for several reasons.
- The financial ability to own such a vehicle can easily be a source of pride, particularly for those who have worked long and hard to get to a point where they can afford a Tesla.
- Many people are conscious of the environment. Owning an electric vehicle is easily a source of pride due to reducing one’s carbon footprint. Leaving a better world for today’s children happens one step at a time and this is a considerable step for an individual.
- On a different note, it could simply be the tech that these cars boast, and rightly so. Who would not be proud of a car that can drive itself or throw you back in your seat when you press the gas pedal?
With the Stealth, that is taken a step further because it is such a difficult model to find – a true collector’s item. Those who pride themselves on owning sought after cars will surely appreciate the Stealth for that reason.
Tesla Model 3 Stealth Performance Cost
When the Stealth was available brand new as a standard Performance model without upgrades, it was roughly in the $65,000 range after some price tweaking by Tesla. Customers could add on what are now the standard Performance perks for $5,000 extra. About a year after this, the upgrade was rolled into the standard Performance model, along with the price hike.
When you could order a Stealth from the factory after those changes, that price model stayed much the same. These days, a used Stealth runs around $50,000, give or take.
When purchasing a Tesla, it’s also important to know that these electric vehicles qualify for a federal tax credit as part of the initiative to help the environment. As of this writing, that credit for all models of Tesla electric cars stands at $7,500.
How to Get the Model 3 Stealth Performance
Sadly, the Model 3 Stealth is no longer available brand new, as of 2020. If you want to get your hands on one of these, you will have to go through other, more inventive avenues to find one, similar to how you would track down a specific classic model car.
- Hit up your local car dealerships and see if they have any in stock. You would have the best luck with lots that specialize in electric cars and carry a secondhand inventory.
- Keep an eye on used car platforms, particularly ones that deal in special models. There are many websites out there that cater to people looking for specialty and hard to find models.
- Watch repossession auctions. While this is unlikely, you might get lucky! Repossession auctions also tend to be cheaper than most other platforms, so you could score a deal, too.
- Peruse Tesla’s website regularly. They have a section for used sales of their various vehicles and the Stealth model can sometimes be found among them.
- Word of mouth can be powerful. Put the word out to your friends and family that you are looking. It always helps to have more eyes canvassing for what you want.
The key with this endeavor is patience. The Stealth has been highly sought after recently, particularly because of its perceived rarity. For many who enjoy Teslas, it is often considered a collector’s item.
For anyone interested in all of the bells and whistles of a Performance Model 3 but with the body of a standard range, this is the perfect in-between option. Even though its origins are somewhat confusing, both the value and convenience of this rare model are easy to understand.
Even though the Stealth is no longer technically available, it can still be found on used markets and through private sales. Coming across a find like this is well worth the effort that it takes to locate it, particularly for collectors. One day, it could easily be worth a pretty penny as a classic.