The ‘Ascension R’ takes the Tesla Model 3 to a higher level of performance

A track-day-ready EV by Unplugged Performance
by Stephen Dobie | 6 days ago
PHOTO: TopGear.com

This is the Tesla Model 3 Ascension R, yet another example of how modified EVs really are becoming The Thing. It’s a Model 3—you’ve likely heard of it—breathed upon by Unplugged Performance—a company with its roots in the wild Japanese tuning scene and genuine Fast and Furious credibility—to make it much more of a trackday warrior.

We’ve driven some of Unplugged’s other Model 3s, but this is without doubt the wildest. A bespoke build for customer Erik Strait—and unveiled at SEMA this year—it’s what happens when you throw weeks of man hours and tens of thousands of dollars at a stock 3.

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“The Ascension R program is designed and purpose-built for the hardcore EV performance enthusiast who demands the very best,” says Unplugged boss Ben Schaffer, “and for automotive enthusiasts looking to dive headfirst into the most extreme Model 3 variant available.

“Every Ascension R can be driven on public roads daily, and [the driver] can enjoy using autopilot to the racetrack and back home without needing to change any settings.”

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This car has had the works. There’s a carbon bodykit (including that wing), 20-inch forged wheels wrapped in Michelin Cup 2s, a carbon-ceramic brake kit, adjustable coilover suspension (among countless other suspension tweaks), and proper harnessed race seats.

What Unplugged doesn’t fiddle with is the powertrain, so you’ll want the feistiest Model 3 available to make best use of all the new chassis bits.

“I’ve always had a deep appreciation of factory-tuned, street-legal race cars,” says Schaffer. “There is something special about a well-conceived vision that walks the fine line between racecar and grocery getter.

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“For years, I’ve had my mind set on exploring what a Tesla factory-built race car would entail, and how to strike the right balance in all aspects of the concept. Edgy, hardcore, high-performing, but not impractical are things not often easy to harness in harmony.”

Reckon the Ascension R has achieved it? Prices for the conversion start at $35,000 (around P1.77 million) post Model 3 purchase, with Schaffer adamant that no two Unplugged builds will be the same.

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NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: TopGear.com
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