The Tesla Model Y is now available in three versions, with the focus of our review being the top-of-the-line Tesla Model Y Performance. More expensive than the Long Range version manufactured in Shanghai (and recently in Berlin in small quantities) which we tested in fall 2021, it is also produced elsewhere: the Berlin Gigafactory currently manufactures this model.
On paper, the Tesla Model Y Performance has everything going for it: impressive range, exceptional performance, and a cargo capacity that seems hard to beat. In practice, after driving 1,000 kilometers over various trips, what can we conclude about Tesla’s electric SUV? We will examine in detail our experience driving this German-American powerhouse.
Specifications – Tesla Model Y Performance
|Model||Tesla Model Y Performance|
|Dimensions||4.751 m x 2.129 m x 1.624 m|
|Power (horsepower)||424 hp|
|0 to 100 km/h||3.7 seconds|
|Range level||Conditional range|
|Top speed||250 km/h|
|Onboard OS||Tesla OS|
|Main screen size||15 inches|
|Car-side plug||Type 2 Combo (CCS)|
|Base price (USD)||$69,990|
Product Sheet Design – Tesla Model Y Performance
istinguishing the Tesla Model Y Performance from the rest of the lineup is not an easy task depending on one’s perspective. From the exterior, only a discerning eye can spot it, thanks to its 21-inch Überturbine wheels hiding red brake calipers, which are not found on lower-end versions, or its carbon fiber rear spoiler.
Apart from these two subtle features, there is no significant difference between a Tesla Model Y Rear-Wheel Drive or Long Range model. The ground clearance is slightly reduced (157 mm vs 172 mm), indicating a focus on sportiness, as we will see later.
Measuring 4.75 meters in length with a turning diameter of 12.30 meters, the Tesla Model Y Performance is not a small, maneuverable vehicle suitable for the narrow city centers of our European territories. This is quite evident, as some wheels have been damaged by our predecessors due to contact with curbs on our test model.
Although the Tesla Model Y has only been in the European automotive landscape for a year, its overall appearance closely resembles the Tesla Model 3, so it doesn’t feel out of place. The full grille, long sloping hood, aerodynamic design, glass roof, and distinctive lighting are all elements similar to its smaller sibling. Moreover, this white variant with a black interior is now very popular at Tesla, as they are the least expensive versions in the lineup.
Space and storage in the Tesla Model Y Performance
are unmatched in the segment. With 854 liters of rear trunk space, 117 liters of front trunk space, and up to 2041 liters with the rear seats folded down (individually foldable), traveling in the Tesla Model Y Performance will never be a problem, as confirmed by fitting four 21-inch wheels or transporting 2.5-meter-long bars inside the vehicle.
The Tesla Model Y Performance is indeed a vehicle that can be used for family trips or transporting bulky items, not just a high-performance machine. Significant improvements have been made to soundproofing, which is noticeable compared to an older Tesla Model 3, for example. Double glazing on both front and rear windows provides a quiet, comfortable atmosphere, and despite the vehicle’s large size, highway journeys are not overly affected by wind noise.
The minimalist dashboard has not changed, and the black interior in our test model (white interior not yet in production at the Berlin factory) features a high-quality wood finish. Tesla’s interior finish issues seem to be a thing of the past, as the automaker has matured in this regard, at least with vehicles from Berlin.
The front seats are electrically adjustable and heated, and the driver’s seat has a memory function to avoid manual adjustments when changing drivers. Thanks to the raised first-row seats, rear passengers enjoy exceptional legroom, accommodating taller individuals comfortably for several hours.
The large glass roof provides ample interior light while maintaining excellent headroom. Rear passengers have a large armrest with two cupholders and two USB-C ports when only two are seated. In general, storage is abundant with a thoughtfully designed central console and door pockets. The vehicle is clearly designed for families and does not lack technology, as we will discuss below.
A seven-seat version is available in the United States but not in Europe.
Technologies in the Tesla Model Y Performance
A Tesla remains a four-wheeled computer, and this Model Y Performance is no exception. It features everything we love or hate about the American automaker, including a highly responsive 15-inch landscape-format central screen. An AMD Ryzen processor is hidden nearby, which is one of the main reasons for the system’s overall fluidity.
Numerous infotainment features are available, such as Spotify, Tidal, a web browser, and even some games to entertain during breaks. However, it still lacks Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, so you won’t be able to mirror your smartphone’s interface on your Tesla’s screen in 2022.
It’s important to emphasize Tesla’s uniqueness, as the well-integrated interface is designed around electric mobility. For example, the built-in route planner is highly responsive, taking only 15 seconds to prepare a cross-country trip in France, with Supercharger stops automatically added, as seen in the short video below.
We would have liked the ability to connect our phones and use third-party apps like Coyote or Waze.
Aside from the central screen, the primary way to interact with the vehicle, the Tesla mobile app is quite comprehensive and offers increasingly useful features. Recently, tire pressure monitoring has been added, and we summarize everything that can be done with this app in our dedicated article if you want to learn more.
A wireless charging pad for two smartphones is located under the central screen, and two USB-C ports are available in the central console for charging other devices as needed. However, Tesla still lacks some features we’d like to see one day: heads-up display, 360-degree view, front camera for parking maneuvers, or even massaging and ventilated seats. If these features are deal-breakers for you, you’ll unfortunately have to look elsewhere.
Driving the Tesla Model Y Performance
A Tesla is a sporty car, and a Performance version is even more so. On paper, the Tesla Model Y Performance SUV boasts supercar-worthy numbers: 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.7 seconds, top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), and all-wheel drive managed by two independent motors. Safety remains a priority for Tesla, as it recently earned a five-star rating in the Euro NCAP test.
Putting the pedal to the metal in a Tesla Model Y Performance is an unforgettable experience, as it’s shocking to see this nearly two-ton family SUV reach 100 km/h (62 mph) in the blink of an eye. The instant torque is impressive, and the vehicle’s exemplary roadholding is reassuring. Moreover, despite its performance, the Model Y Performance has relatively reasonable energy consumption.
After five days of driving through northeastern France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, we had an average consumption of 189 Wh/km, equivalent to a range of about 410 kilometers (255 miles). Most of the trips were on highways at speed limits, where energy consumption is around 220 Wh/km (130 km/h or 80 mph) under good conditions, allowing for 350 kilometers (217 miles) before needing a recharge. A heat pump comes standard, reducing heating consumption during winter, a dreaded period for electric vehicle owners.
The driving experience is hard to match, thanks to the precise pedal response. It allows for rapid acceleration but also helps the driver enjoy one-pedal driving, even to a complete stop. The regenerative braking is very powerful and becomes the driver’s best ally once mastered.
Getting started with the vehicle is quick and easy due to the limited number of settings available (there’s no regenerative braking adjustment or “eco” mode), and the absence of a start button: simply get in, foot on the brake, press the lever to go forward, and you’re done.
Although the comfort is quite satisfactory, we’ll note a minor drawback with the suspension, which is clearly designed for sporty driving rather than family-friendly use. The 21-inch wheels probably don’t help mask road imperfections and speed bumps, so those who find the Tesla Model Y Performance too stiff may prefer the more refined and comfortable Audi Q4 e-tron.
Autopilot: yes… but
A Tesla discussion isn’t complete without mentioning Autopilot, its well-known driver assistance system. The somewhat misleading name refers to the simultaneous operation of an adaptive cruise control and active lane-keeping system, which has struggled to improve significantly or has even regressed. In recent months, Tesla has deployed “Tesla Vision”, managing Autopilot using only cameras and abandoning the radar used in older models.
The result is far from perfect, as we’ve noticed several phantom braking instances (sudden deceleration for no apparent reason) that can be alarming for both passengers and the driver. Unfortunately, this is a significant issue for a vehicle priced at $70,000 or more, especially when expecting the best semi-autonomous driving experience on the market.
Additionally, the standard Autopilot is useful, but the optional add-ons are not recommended. For $3,800, you can opt for Enhanced Autopilot, which adds four features: auto exit, auto parking, automatic lane change, and Autopilot navigation. In practice, auto exit allows you to move the vehicle forward or backward a few meters with your smartphone (within Bluetooth range), and automatic lane change activates with a turn signal, changing lanes on highways. Auto parking is slow and inefficient, and Autopilot navigation merely suggests lane changes to follow a pre-recorded route.
Considering the current functionality level, the cost is quite high, with features working inconsistently and often causing frustration for both the driver and passengers who don’t understand what’s happening. Lastly, the $7,500 Full Self-Driving Capability (or $3,700 if you already have Enhanced Autopilot) is a bet on the future, offering no added value today.
What used to be Tesla’s strength is gradually becoming a negative point. The automaker should focus on the current state of its driver assistance suite rather than pushing the development of future features with no immediate application. Most of the time, Autopilot works perfectly well, but the occasional erratic behavior is frustrating for vehicle occupants.
Range, battery, and charging – Tesla Model Y Performance
With over 110 Supercharger stations in France, traveling in a Tesla Model Y Performance is hassle-free. Its maximum theoretical charging power is 250 kW, and we measured up to 236 kW during our Supercharging sessions. In practice, going from 10% to 60% battery takes just under 20 minutes, allowing for up to 200 kilometers of highway driving under good conditions. Reaching 80% takes about 30 minutes.
As of writing, Superchargers are priced at around 0.67 USD per kilowatt-hour, and adding 50% battery charge would cost approximately 26 USD, resulting in a rate of 13 to 15 USD for every 100 kilometers of highway travel. Of course, charging at home remains the norm for low-cost charging. However, it is worth noting the recent increase in Supercharger prices, which makes long trips anything but cheap and potentially more expensive than with a traditional gasoline vehicle.
When charging slowly at home or on a suitable Wallbox, the built-in 11 kW charger allows for approximately 13% battery charge per hour, or a full 80 kWh battery charge in less than eight hours. On a domestic socket, it takes about forty hours for the same exercise.
Nevertheless, with a WLTP-claimed range of 514 kilometers, a consumption of around 150 Wh/km would be needed to achieve this, which is far from realistic at high speeds. As mentioned earlier, our average consumption on the screen was displayed at 189 Wh/km over the nearly 1,000 kilometers we traveled, and previous consumptions were very similar.
For example, you will find above the details of the journeys and associated consumptions recorded by Teslamate during our test, in order to precisely visualize the key information. Of course, weather conditions, speed, and route profile greatly influence consumption, and ours are shared for indicative purposes only.
The fact is, with the onboard trip planner and the current density of the Supercharger network, traveling in a Tesla Model Y Performance is not an ordeal in itself, even if it requires stopping for about 20 to 30 minutes every two hours on the highway. Outside the highway, consumption drops drastically and allows for approaching the claimed WLTP range. Moreover, in the United States, the Model Y is the electric vehicle with the lowest energy consumption, just behind the Model 3 and the Lucid Air, two sedans.
Pricing for the Tesla Model Y Performance
is difficult to keep under 70,000 USD. The minimum price to pay is indeed 69,990 USD for a white exterior and black interior.
Each paint color (black, blue, gray, red) is currently charged between 1,190 and 2,100 USD, and the Gigafactory in Berlin currently only produces black and white vehicles. Delays for obtaining other colors are quickly slipping into the middle of 2023. It is possible to configure a trailer hitch for 1,350 USD, a white interior for 1,190 USD, and to opt for driving assistance for 3,800 or 7,500 USD. Thus, the most expensive version of the Tesla Model Y Performance is priced at 82,130 USD.
In this price range, between 70,000 and 80,000 USD, customers will have a limited choice of electric SUVs: the Audi Q4 Design Luxe 50 e-tron quattro (71,000 USD), Mercedes EQB 350 4MATIC AMG Line (68,150 USD), Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD Extended Range (76,800 USD), or Kia EV6 GT (72,990 USD).
Unfortunately for the competition, no other offer in the same price range can match the Tesla Model Y in terms of performance, range, or even cargo volume. While the Kia EV6 GT’s performance is certainly better, with a 0-100 km/h displayed in 3.5 seconds, the WLTP range is only 424 kilometers, and the cargo volume is 490 liters.
When it comes to reviewing the Tesla Model Y Performance, it’s hard not to give it an excellent rating. It represents the best of what’s currently available in terms of electric SUVs with a sporty profile. The few negative points we can mention are related to the software (Autopilot with Tesla Vision or poor high-beam management), but Tesla can correct them remotely, and there are already workarounds available (poor visibility through the rear window, but excellent rear camera).
The efficiency of the Tesla Model Y Performance is the best in its category, with up to 20% better consumption than its competitors with similar profiles. Although fast charging is advertised at a maximum power of 250 kW, going from 20 to 80% battery capacity takes about 30 minutes, which doesn’t necessarily make it one of the fastest charging cars.
However, by combining the Tesla Supercharger network, controlled consumption, and trip planning that includes charging stops, traveling long distances in a Tesla Model Y Performance is easy, unlike other manufacturers. In 2022, who can offer better than Tesla in the electric SUV segment?
Positive aspects of the Tesla Model Y Performance:
- Impressive performance
- Very reasonable consumption
- Responsive screen
- Integrated route planner
- Spacious interior
Negative aspects of the Tesla Model Y Performance:
- Autonomous driving options and Tesla Vision
- Poor visibility through the rear window
- Flush-fitting wheels