In a recent interview with Automobile Magazine, Franz von Holzhausen, the designer of the Model 3, shares some interesting tidbits on the reasoning behind the Model 3 design. For example, he shares that they “knew that flush door handles were important” but they simplified the mechanism “so they are not as costly” as those on the Model S. Also, he says they “kept good aerodynamics for range as well as to make the car sporty. Not silliness, just clean and sporty.”
However, one interesting point Franz makes is that the made the Model 3 look more “friendly”.
We made the early cars less distinct from rivals but slowly came to this solution of how to keep a premium sports feel friendlier and happier than the luxury S.
In many ways the Model 3 looks very similar to the Model S. To many people it might be initially difficult to tell them apart, except the Model 3 is slightly smaller. However, when one looks more closely there are definitely notable features that make the Model 3 not as flashy.
There are several features that make the Model 3 more “friendly”. First, the Model 3 headlights go back further and aren’t as intimidating as the Model S headlights. In other words, the headlights don’t stare you down as much as the Model S.
Second, the Model 3 has a lip that goes further up giving it more of a curvy front.
Third, the Model 3 hood has a more curvy profile compared to the Model S hood which is more pointy.
I’ve personally noticed the difference between my Model 3 and my previous Model S. When I walk up to my Model 3 it is noticeably a much more “approachable” car. My Model S looked like a fancy car… gorgeous and classy. The Model 3 is gorgeous in many ways but different than the Model S. It’s a much more humble and modest look.
It’s interesting to me that Franz and Tesla would intentionally design the Model 3 to be more “friendly”. I think they knew that the Model 3 needed to have more mass appeal than the Model S, so that it needed to be a tad bit more accessible. Further, they likely wanted to differentiate between the Model 3 and the Model S and ensure that the Model S would remain their flagship luxury sedan with a slightly more luxurious, class and aggressive look.
Overall, I’m very happy with the look of the Model 3. It’s a stunning car both inside and out.