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There are various touted benefits to electric cars. Generally, the most talked-about selling points of EVs are their low impact on the environment and relatively low cost to operate depending on how they are charged. Though, another frequently talked about advantage is their performance.

Electric cars are known for having instant torque. This results in extremely fast and sometimes startling acceleration. There are hundreds of videos on YouTube of electric cars surprising muscle cars on the drag strip. However, what would result if an electric vehicle lined up against an internal combustion car with the same horsepower?

That is precisely what YouTube channel carwow did when they pitted a Tesla Model 3 against a Mercedes-AMG CLA 45. Let’s take a closer look at the competitors.

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S

Matte grey Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 driving.
Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 | Mercedes Benz

Initially released in 2019, the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 is a high-performance variant of the Mercedes Benz CLA “coupe.” Despite Mercedes Benz referring to the CLA as a “coupe,” it has four doors and can comfortably seat five. Though, we are not here to talk about practicality.

The Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 is currently one of the most powerful small cars that someone can get from Mercedes Benz. It features a 2.0 liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. That engine produces 420 horsepower from the factory, but the specific car in this race has been tuned to 490 horsepower and 486 ft-lbs of torque. It sends that power and torque to all four wheels. In stock form, it can do 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds. We imagine this tuned version does it a bit faster.

Tesla Model 3 Performance

Tesla Model 3 performance edition.
Tesla Model 3 Performance | Tesla Motors

When the Tesla Model 3 arrived, it was intended to be the accessible EV for the mass market. The Tesla Model S had made a significant impact on the EV market before the Mode 3 arrived. However, the Model S is an aspirational car and is priced out of most middle-class incomes.

Despite being the more cost-friendly Tesla, the Model 3 still comes with plenty of power depending on the trim chosen. The competitor in this race is a Tesla Model 3 Performance edition. That means dual electric motors (one in front and one in the back) combine for 490 horsepower and 486 ft-lbs of torque—the same as its gasoline-powered opponent. The Tesla is a bit heavier than the CLA due to its batteries. Can the instant torque of the electric motors make up for it?

Tesla Model 3 versus Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S: Who wins?

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 vs Tesla Model 3 Performance | carwow YouTube

We will not spoil the winner of the drag race here. It is much more entertaining to watch it all unfold for yourself in carwow’s video. We will say that the results were a lot closer than we expected. There were even a few surprises.

The cars competed in three runs from a dead stop and a few runs from a rolling start. The track was also wet because, well, United Kingdom. The future of cars is still electric, so in the long run, the winner of a Tesla Model 3 versus a Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S may not matter much. Though, it was still fun to watch.


You Can Buy a Used Tesla Model 3 With 15K Miles for the Same Price as a 2021 Model 3