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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I'm tearing my (limited) hair out a bit concerning this.
I've done a ton of reading and watched loads of videos. It seems to me that this is one thing that comes up again and again. Many say the M3 is not great over rougher surfaces and in general for ride comfort. I wonder what owners here think? Any comparisons?
It's fair to say that I should just try one. But I'm not convinced that I'd get a good enough impression in a short test drive.
I'm sure I'd opt for one of the non performance models, with 18" wheels.
Thanks
 

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No issues on ride comfort for me when the SR+ 18" wheels. Cornering and handling are fantastic! As always it would be best to take one on a test drive if you can. Even a short drive will give you a good feel for what's it's like. A word of warning though - after the test drive you will be hooked!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No issues on ride comfort for me when the SR+ 18" wheels. Cornering and handling are fantastic! As always it would be best to take one on a test drive if you can. Even a short drive will give you a good feel for what's it's like. A word of warning though - after the test drive you will be hooked!
I probably would be hooked. Not sure what my good lady wife would think though... Thanks

Why worry when you have a 7 day period to hand the car back?

Although, yes, 18s are the sensible option.
Thanks
 

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No worries on our LR on 18”.
Even with the larger battery pack, it is firm but not harsh or crashy.
I’ve suffered lower back pain on and off for many years. Ride comfort was better than
the MS with air suspension that we had as a loaner sometime ago; that did appear as crashy though, but may be dependant on ride height settings.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No issues on ride comfort for me when the SR+ 18" wheels. Cornering and handling are fantastic! As always it would be best to take one on a test drive if you can. Even a short drive will give you a good feel for what's it's like. A word of warning though - after the test drive you will be hooked!
The other thing about a test drive is.... Will it give me an indication of how I would feel after one of our (covid aside) 400 mile weekend round trips to see relatives? Since we both have dodgy lower backs
 

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The other thing about a test drive is.... Will it give me an indication of how I would feel after one of our (covid aside) 400 mile weekend round trips to see relatives? Since we both have dodgy lower backs
The seats have adjustable lumbar support. Best to give it a go and see what you think or hire one for a weekend.
 

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The ride comfort was important to me hence why I went LR with 18”. The seats are a personal thing but I find them more comfortable than a lot of the German cars. The suspension stiffness is also in line with your Audi’s and BMW’s. Overall making a great handling comfortable car. The low profiles Like on the performance don’t go well with UK roads and potholes.
 

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I also have the Model 3 Performance with the 20" alloys.
I have also driven a Model 3 SR+ for a day and the difference isn't that big.
Comparing my Model 3 P with my Golf R (19") wheels, the Model 3 P's ride comfort is surprisingly good.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Lots of very helpful stuff here. Thanks everyone. Looks like I need to find somewhere to test one soon. Cheers
 

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Performance with the 20s UK. Occasionally I hit a pothole I've barely seen and it feels like the car has hit a boulder, but then again, I get back into my previous car (7 seater grand cmax) and it feels like sailing a boat on marshmallows by comparison.
 

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We have a model 3 SR+ on 18"s.

We also have a 2015 Lexus GS450h, and previously a Leaf Tekna and a Volvo V70 SE Lux on 17"s (and 225/50s).

First thing to note is that I found the model 3 suspension to "break in" noticeably - it settled down a smoother ride in the first 1500 miles, and hasn't changed since then. By no means a night-and-day difference, but it was noticeable.

By comparison to our other cars - the V70 was proper Squdge-o-matic stuff but horrendously under-damped, especially on rebound. It had a lovely secondary ride (ie you didn't get jiggled over small bumps, vibrations) but primary ride (control of body responses) was poor. There were a couple of "gotchas" in that setup - a fast compression on an A-road bend (A62 by The Carriage House pub) would cause a disconcerting bounce which could pull the car either direction depending on exactly how it was loaded up when you hit it, and also it would top-out with a BANG over some speed bumps.

The Leaf has a very basic suspension setup in terms of mac strut/torsion beam, but the spring and damper rates are well chosen to give a really pleasant comfortable ride, with the low CoG and centralised weight distribution giving it surprising ability to stick around bends, roundabouts, etc. Some roll and not really engaging when throwing it about, but competent and good for its target market.

The Lexus has expensively engineered parts (aluminium double-wishbones, multi-link rear, adaptive dampers). In normal mode it's got a peculiar "floatiness" to it - the body constantly moves at low frequency, but it isolates very nicely. In Sport+ the dampers tighten up and it becomes a bit "knobbly" for passenger comfort, but the floatiness disappears. Grip is tremendous, but it is a heavy car.

So, the reason for all of that is to place those cars in my spectrum of experience, and how does the model 3 SR+ compare?

Model 3's suspension engineering is excellent by all accounts (munro etc). There's a few bits of cost saving (eg steel upper wishbone in front, steel links in rear), but it's far from a money-no-object car. The ride setup is firm - firmer than all of the cars above. However, it is not uncomfortable. Primary ride is absolutely impeccable - body is kept in excellent control. Where the lexus has that floatiness, along the same bit of road the Tesla feels extraordinarily different - the suspension is tuned (there's a bit about it at the bottom of this article: The secret tech behind the Tesla Model 3 | Autocar) in such a way that the body doesn't seem to move around at all - the suspension moves for bumps but has no sense of float at all, which actually feels very natural. Small bumps and jitters and so on don't intrude unpleasantly, but it's not as smoothly serene a ride as the Leaf for example. However, I think that those prone to car sickness will feel it much less in the 3. The payoff of course is that the model 3 copes very well with a bit more spirited driving, with phenomenal grip levels and control through hard cornering.

I have found one dynamic flaw with it, and it's been mentioned in a few reviews of the SR+. There are circumstances when the 3SR+ can feel a bit twitchy or flighty. I've found one particular spot, where the A663 (Broadway) becomes the A627(M) heading north out of Chadderton (Google Maps). As you accelerate to motorway speed and the road drops away under the Elk Mill Roundabout and turns left, something about that combination of circumstances makes the 3 feel a bit disconnected - you have to make a number of small adjustments around that corner at 70ish. By comparison the Lexus is rock solid, but the Leaf was significantly sketchier than the 3 (and occasionally experienced similar in my old Honda Accord Tourer when the boot was loaded up - might be to do with the more rearward weight distribution of the 3SR+).

Ultimately the 3 comes across as a more sporting setup than the other cars on my list - not entirely surprising. Based on other cars I've been in, I will say that the ride is more comfortable than many M-sport BMWs (I found a friend's E39 facelift 530i M-Sport especially unpleasant), perhaps most similar to our neighbour's 2014 330d GT M-sport (remember that the 3 series GT is generally a softer setup than equivalent 3 series saloon). Despite a history of choosing comfier cars, I don't find the Model 3 ride quality unpleasant at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
We have a model 3 SR+ on 18"s.

We also have a 2015 Lexus GS450h, and previously a Leaf Tekna and a Volvo V70 SE Lux on 17"s (and 225/50s).

First thing to note is that I found the model 3 suspension to "break in" noticeably - it settled down a smoother ride in the first 1500 miles, and hasn't changed since then. By no means a night-and-day difference, but it was noticeable.

By comparison to our other cars - the V70 was proper Squdge-o-matic stuff but horrendously under-damped, especially on rebound. It had a lovely secondary ride (ie you didn't get jiggled over small bumps, vibrations) but primary ride (control of body responses) was poor. There were a couple of "gotchas" in that setup - a fast compression on an A-road bend (A62 by The Carriage House pub) would cause a disconcerting bounce which could pull the car either direction depending on exactly how it was loaded up when you hit it, and also it would top-out with a BANG over some speed bumps.

The Leaf has a very basic suspension setup in terms of mac strut/torsion beam, but the spring and damper rates are well chosen to give a really pleasant comfortable ride, with the low CoG and centralised weight distribution giving it surprising ability to stick around bends, roundabouts, etc. Some roll and not really engaging when throwing it about, but competent and good for its target market.

The Lexus has expensively engineered parts (aluminium double-wishbones, multi-link rear, adaptive dampers). In normal mode it's got a peculiar "floatiness" to it - the body constantly moves at low frequency, but it isolates very nicely. In Sport+ the dampers tighten up and it becomes a bit "knobbly" for passenger comfort, but the floatiness disappears. Grip is tremendous, but it is a heavy car.

So, the reason for all of that is to place those cars in my spectrum of experience, and how does the model 3 SR+ compare?

Model 3's suspension engineering is excellent by all accounts (munro etc). There's a few bits of cost saving (eg steel upper wishbone in front, steel links in rear), but it's far from a money-no-object car. The ride setup is firm - firmer than all of the cars above. However, it is not uncomfortable. Primary ride is absolutely impeccable - body is kept in excellent control. Where the lexus has that floatiness, along the same bit of road the Tesla feels extraordinarily different - the suspension is tuned (there's a bit about it at the bottom of this article: The secret tech behind the Tesla Model 3 | Autocar) in such a way that the body doesn't seem to move around at all - the suspension moves for bumps but has no sense of float at all, which actually feels very natural. Small bumps and jitters and so on don't intrude unpleasantly, but it's not as smoothly serene a ride as the Leaf for example. However, I think that those prone to car sickness will feel it much less in the 3. The payoff of course is that the model 3 copes very well with a bit more spirited driving, with phenomenal grip levels and control through hard cornering.

I have found one dynamic flaw with it, and it's been mentioned in a few reviews of the SR+. There are circumstances when the 3SR+ can feel a bit twitchy or flighty. I've found one particular spot, where the A663 (Broadway) becomes the A627(M) heading north out of Chadderton (Google Maps). As you accelerate to motorway speed and the road drops away under the Elk Mill Roundabout and turns left, something about that combination of circumstances makes the 3 feel a bit disconnected - you have to make a number of small adjustments around that corner at 70ish. By comparison the Lexus is rock solid, but the Leaf was significantly sketchier than the 3 (and occasionally experienced similar in my old Honda Accord Tourer when the boot was loaded up - might be to do with the more rearward weight distribution of the 3SR+).

Ultimately the 3 comes across as a more sporting setup than the other cars on my list - not entirely surprising. Based on other cars I've been in, I will say that the ride is more comfortable than many M-sport BMWs (I found a friend's E39 facelift 530i M-Sport especially unpleasant), perhaps most similar to our neighbour's 2014 330d GT M-sport (remember that the 3 series GT is generally a softer setup than equivalent 3 series saloon). Despite a history of choosing comfier cars, I don't find the Model 3 ride quality unpleasant at all.
Thanks very much for the comprehensive information....
 

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The fundamental characteristics of a car aren't fantastic in the Model 3 but they are good enough. The steering is fairly numb, the ride isn't what you'd call sublime and it squeaks and rattles a bit.

It's a brilliant piece of technology that happens to be an OK car, rather than a brilliant car which happens to have OK technology. Swings and roundabouts, innit.
 

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I've watched a lot of reviews of the Model 3 before I bought mine and they all said a similar thing about the suspension. Apparently (and this goes for all electric cars, not just Tesla's), the suspension is quite stiff compared to traditional ICE cars due to the extra weight of the battery and as such when you go over a pothole or bump, you do get jolted around. However, going around corners is superb as there's less leaning.

Having said all of that, my previous car was a 2009 Toyota Yaris and as you can imagine, with it being an old and outdated car, the ride comfort was awful. Going to a brand new Model 3 was a massive step up. So even though the suspension is quite stiff, I'm certainly not complaining as it is miles better than what I have ever experienced.
 

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The only thing to consider is do you HATE stiff suspension, if the answer to that is yes then it'll be too stiff. If you want floaty wallowy suspension this is not the car for you. If you want suspension that corners and grips well and does a good job of not jarring you every time you hit a bump then it's perfect. I love it for what it is. It's softer than sportier suspension like the AMG mercedes and BMW M3 without losing too much of what makes cars fun to drive. If you did a lot of track days then you'd probably want some stiffer anti roll bars and possbily coilovers as it's a heavy car and can get a bit wallowy at high speeds. I definitely wouldn't want the suspension any softer than it is.
I don't believe there's much difference in comfort between the wheel sizes as the PSI is lower on the larger wheels and higher on the smaller.... untill you hit a massive pot hole or brick in the road....
 

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Rear seats can on the firm side for longer journeys so expect some complaints from passengers. Otherwise I like the balance and the steering is direct if not the best for feedback. I've owned 2 Elise, 1 kit car and recently an RX7 so very hard to beat those for steering feel. The M3 though does have the cornering grip of my RX7 even if it takes a bit of confidence to get the weight settled and then it can really stick.
 

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Agree with everything said so far, really depends what you are driving at the moment. Freelander? It will seem harsh and sporty. 911 GT3? Smooth and comfy. I went from an Ampera and initially found it very different. Now when I drive the Ampera again, it wallows and feels heavy and slow.

My brother in-law normally drives an Audi A6, immediately curbed my M3 (Thanks!) In hindsight he probably wasn't used to the quick response, A6 steering is pretty numb and slow. Definitely much more harsh when new, I love it now. Driven 650 miles in a day 4 times, no issue with seats or ride over 10 hours.

Bit noisy on rough surfaces but I used Apple ear pod noise cancelling, very quiet. The least fatiguing car I have ever driven, autopilot did 95% of the driving Scotland to Cornwall. I just sat listening to audio books for 10 hours.

Be great when I can just fall asleep with Full Self Driving, realistically still years away but current AP great at taking the burden, especially if wet / windy / narrow lane roadworks. Just doesn't like pulling back into middle lane if there is a truck on the inside lane, does some phantom breaking which is a bit annoying. Sure it will be sorted with future updates, £40 of supercharging for 650 miles, if I was driving a Cayenne Turbo, £190 for 650 miles :eek: I now have absolutly no interest in Farty Fossil cars.
 
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