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When it comes to straight-line speed and acceleration, almost nothing beats a Tesla. Check out any Tesla drag races online and you’ll see Model 3 Performance’s and Model S P100Ds smoking exotic and muscle cars like they’re standing still. It’s fun to watch, but the point remains that Tesla has it down when it comes to electric motor performance.

That being said, comparing a Tesla Model 3 to a Mazda MX-5 might sound ludicrous. Not just because one is a two-seat convertible while the other is a four-door EV. But mainly because the Tesla is obviously quicker than the MX-5. But how can we be so sure of that?

Tesla Model 3 vs Mazda MX-5

Comparing the Mazda MX-5 to the Tesla Model 3 is way beyond comparing apples to oranges, however, it sure is fun. But who would drum up such a crazy idea? We blame Dave Erickson at Everyman Driver. He recently published a video that consisted of him doing back-to-back 0 to 60 mph runs in a 2021 Mazda MX-5 and a Tesla Model 3.

After doing four runs with each car, Erickson was able to throw down some respectable times that he recorded using a Solo lap timer. In the MX-5, he recorded 7.86 seconds for the first run and 7.16 for the second run. For the third and fourth runs, Erickson was able to dip below the seven-second range by recording a 6.98 and 6.85, respectively.

The Tesla Model 3 was much quicker as Erickson recorded a 5.7-second run first followed by a 5.64-second run for the second attempt. Thanks to the car’s single-drive transmission and electric propulsion, the Model 3 laid down some pretty consistent times. Erickson ended up recording a 5.69 for the third run and finished the trials off with a 5.64 for the fourth and final run.

How do these lap times compare?

A Mazda Miata parked at dusk, the Mazda Miata is one of the fastest cars under $30K
Mazda Miata | Mazda

After looking at the aforementioned numbers, you might be wondering how they measure up to another real-world test. Keep in mind that there are many factors that can contribute to lap times including the ambient air temperature, driving conditions, and even the driver. But for comparison’s sake, Car and Driver recorded a 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds in the 2021 Mazda MX-5. That’s over one second quicker than Erickson’s best time.

And for the Tesla Model 3, Car and Driver was able to lay down a 0-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds. That’s only about a half-second quicker than Erickson’s time, so he wasn’t too far off in his testing. However, the possible difference in elevation, terrain, and weather can have an effect on any type of performance data, hence the discrepancy.

What did we learn from this demonstration?

A red 2021 Tesla Model 3 speeds down the highway.
2021 Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

We learned that the Tesla Model 3 is definitely quicker to 60 mph than the Mazda MX-5. On a more serious note, the comparison wasn’t meant to be a serious head-to-head comparison, but it does show how much quicker an electric car can be.

The Mazda MX-5 is powered by a naturally aspirated, 2.0-liter engine that produces 181 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. The Tesla Model puts out 221 hp and 302 lb-ft, so we can see what that extra one-second time difference can be attributed to. We applaud Everyman Driver for doing this comparison. While it mainly proved that EVs are very quick, it was still a lot of fun to watch.


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