Is Tesla Model S Performance The Top Dog EV? Our Reviewers Thoughts


The Tesla Model S Performance Is So QUICK That Even Our kids Loves It.

In a lot of ways, the Tesla Model S changed a way in which consumers viewed electric vehicles. With its futuristic styling, tons of technology, and amazing acceleration there’s no doubt that this car is a force to be reckoned with. But did it stand up to the challenges of time?

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But as it moves along in years and with more and more competitors coming into the market, we’re here to find out today if this EV still has what it takes to be the king of electric.

The Tesla Model S went on sale in 2012, and by the end of 2018 Tesla had sold more than 250,000 worldwide. If nothing more, Tesla has proven that electric vehicles are viable and can be lived with every day.

The one we tested was the Tesla Model S performance. It’s best to think of Tesla’s first and foremost as consumer technology, with the car stuff being a result.

And like other pieces of technology, say your television or smartphone, Tesla doesn’t promote model years.

Over the Air Updates

But looking at the ten digits of the VIN you can determine the model year, and the vehicle we tested was a 2019 Model S.

Because software is such an important part of what makes these vehicles unique, over-the-air updates allow most owners to always have the latest changes.

Tesla isn’t like traditional automobile manufacturers, and will often release new hardware updates and rearrange trim levels overnight.

The Tesla Model S we tested had recent Raven updates, that means there are some things worth mentioning.

The Model S received a facelift halfway through 2016, and now has a smooth solid front bumper versus the previous bumper with the oval insert that was meant to simulate a grille.

Full LED headlights come standard upfront, there are also LED fog lights.

I like the latest design of the model S and its aging well, eight years since its release and it still looks elegant and futuristic.

The slim grille opening on the Model S helps break up the front bumper some, especially compared to the model 3 which looks like a sad platypus.

Looking at the Model S from the side, everything about it looks sleek and efficient. The looks aren’t deceiving, because the Model S has a very low drag coefficient of 0.23 according to Tesla.

In the rear, there are also LED lighting, and with the release of the Raven Model S Tesla has gone away from using numbers to designate such as 75D and P100D and instead, buyers can simply get the long-range model or the performance model.

All models now get dual motors, which means all of them are all-wheel drive. The red line under dual-motor lets you know it is a performance model.

Tesla Model S Performance Pricing

As of today, long-range models start at seventy-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety dollars, and performance models start at ninety-nine thousand nine hundred ninety dollars.

Tesla’s marketing says you can subtract another five thousand five hundred dollars worth of gas savings from those prices.

Tesla Model S Performance Specifications

Performance models also receive a slim carbon-fiber lip spoiler on the rear, and red-painted brake calipers. The 21-inch sonic carbon twin-turbine wheels at forty-five hundred dollars added to the price.

There are also 19-inch carbon wheels available for fifteen hundred dollars. The Model S comes standard with 19-inch silver wheels.

Tesla Model S Performance Paint Options

The pearl white paint comes as standard, black, silver and blue can be purchased for fifteen hundred dollars and red costs two thousand five hundred dollars extra.

Tesla Model S Performance Cargo Space

One of the most attractive things about the Model S is that it’s a hatchback, making it very practical. opening the power lifting tailgate gives you access to twenty-six point three cubic feet of cargo space.

The rear seats also fold down extending the storage into the cabin,

Under the floor, you will find more storage and the charging connector. There’s also 2.1 cubic feet of storage upfront, in total the Model S has roughly 28 cubic feet of storage.

That’s more than the Porsche Panamera which is rated at close to 18 cubic feet, and Audi A7 which has close to 25 cubic feet.

Porsches newly released Taycan has fourteen point three cubic feet in the rear, and two-point eight cubic feet in the front, for a total of 17. 1 cubic feet of cargo space when you get the Taycan 4S. Taycan turbos have even less space in the rear.

Tesla Model S Performance Key Entry

Getting into the Model S can be done using the key fob, which is shaped like a model S. With the fob in your pocket the car senses you approaching, it then unlocks the vehicle and folds out the door handles.

The same thing happens when leaving the vehicle, once it detects the fob is out of range the handles retract, the mirrors fold, and the vehicle becomes secure.

Tesla Model S Performance Interior

There’s been some talk about the use of materials and Tesla’s fit and finish and I do see some of that here.

There is some questionable use of plastics where I don’t think they should have used it versus other types. Some of the panel gaps are not great, unlike most of their European competitors.

The Model S interior has a very modern and minimal design, again the materials are fine, but not great for this class of vehicle.

There simply aren’t that many materials, to begin with, although, the Model S competes pretty closely with the Mercedes-Benz E-class due to a partnership with Daimler, it borrows some of its parts from Mercedes.

The most obvious pieces are the door switches and steering wheel stalks pulled from the fourth generation E-class. If you want the white interior in ash wood accents, that will be an extra $1500.

Carbon fiber trim accents with white interior is a $2,000 upgrade, other color and trim options are available, the black interior with white accents come as standard.

The center armrest has two independent sliders with cupholders underneath because there isn’t a transmission or driveshaft. The middle tunnel is used for storage.

On the right side of the17in display screen, there is a button that opens the glove compartment, on the left is a button for the hazard lights.

In terms of cubbies, pockets, and spaces to hold items that’s about it. There’s zero storage in the doors for both the front and rear, it seems a bit odd because I imagine door storage is a popular place to store items for a lot of drivers and passengers.

Passengers do get their climate control vents and USB ports in the rear.

The floor in the rear is also completely flat due to the lack of a drivetrain, delivering more comfort for passengers seated in the middle. The Model S has a tinted glass roof with UV and infrared protection.

Tesla Model S Performance 17in Digital Display

Upfront, the 17-inch touchscreen dominates the dashboard and controls almost all of the car’s functions. Some might view this as an example of Tesla’s commitment to the technology, however, I see it as a huge distraction.

Sure we’re moving into a world where self-driving cars will become a reality, but it’s no surprise that I hate touchscreens as they require a lot more attention to operate than physical buttons.

Ergonomically I prefer physical buttons over flicking through a touchscreen, but in the world of touchscreens, this is a very good one.

There’s a lot of functions and features available, but for the sake of time, I will only give a brief overview of the center touchscreen.

With the Raven update, the Model S performance has the latest Tesla media control unit and hardware.

Starting at the bottom you can find most of your climate control functions for stuff like AC, heated seats and steering wheel.

Pressing the car icon will bring up the quick menu with access to common controls like turning on the headlights, and popping the trunk. On the left side, you will find several options for settings you can adjust.

These include suspension, lights, driving, autopilot, vehicle display, trips, navigation, safety and security, service and software.

Pressing the Tesla icon at the top of the screen will give you access to a handful of options, including fun things such as a whoopee cushion, and entertainment options such as YouTube and the Tesla arcade.

Tesla Model S Performance Steering Wheel

The steering wheel also has two buttons on the left and right that allow you to control various functions, and see certain information with your fingertips. Press and hold a button, and you can change the function and information it controls.

Tesla Model S Performance AWD Drive Train

The Model S uses two motors, one at the front and one in the rear to effectively make the dual-motor Model S performance an all-wheel-drive car.

With the Raven update, the Model S has its front induction motor replaced by the rear motor found in the model 3. It’s a reluctance motor and makes 275 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

The rear motor remains an induction motor and puts out 503 horsepower, and 531 pound-feet of torque.

I’m not going to pretend to know a ton about how it all works, but the new setup does provide the Raven Model S with more efficiency without losing power.

The motors are powered by a 100-kilowatt hour battery pack that sits low in the middle of the vehicle. The setup doesn’t require a transmission, and that means power is there immediately when you need it.

Combined the motors make seven hundred and seventy-eight horsepower, and eight hundred and forty-one pound-feet of torque.

Tesla Model S Performance Acceleration

The acceleration is so instantaneous, you don’t have to wait for it to take off because as soon as you hit the pedal it goes.

The Model S performance is capable of doing 0 to 60 in 2.4 seconds according to Tesla, it’s worth mentioning that in 2017 Motor Trend tested a P100 D Ludacris that hit 60 miles per hour in 2.28 seconds, and ran through the quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds at 125 miles per hour.

We didn’t do a full arm Ludacris Plus launched. One, I didn’t want to put unnecessary stress in the powertrain, and two I didn’t have the patience to wait 45 minutes for everything to heat up.

Even without using Ludacris plus, I would imagine the odds of finding something else on the road that can outrun the Model S performance to just past legal speeds, is next to zero.

Cruising at 30 miles per hour and want to go 60 miles per hour? The Model S performance can get you there before you can say go 60 miles per hour.

Tesla Model S Performance Suspension

With the Raven update, our Model S gets adaptive suspension that can be set to standard in the sport mode.

Switching between standard and sport I didn’t notice too much of a difference for the street driving I did, but overall the ride feels well planted and the suspension did a great job of soaking up bumps.

Tesla Model S Performance Steering

The steering, however, feels detached. There’s good weighting, but I didn’t feel connected to the road, the handling characteristics of the Model S are competent but don’t inspire too much excitement.

It’s the same with the acceleration. Yes sub 3 seconds runs 0 to 60 will always be thrilling, but it’s all a bit uneventful when compared to a combustion engine-powered vehicle.

Cars like the E63 AMG S can be downright violent when they accelerate, but there’s none of that with the Model S.

Press the pedal and there’s an assertive force that nails you to the seat, but beyond that, there’s no drama. If the result is all you care about, the Model S certainly gets the job done.

If you care more about the overall event of accelerating, internal combustion engine power vehicles still provide more excitement in my opinion. But acceleration is just one of the Model S’s tricks.

Tesla Model S Performance Self Driving System

The other is the optional $7000 full self-driving system, which is capable of navigating on autopilot. Including taking on-ramps, overtaking slower traffic, auto lane changes on the highway, Auto Park and summon mode.

Future updates should include recognizing the responding to stoplights and stop signs, and automatic driving on city streets. The system uses a network of cameras, sensors, and radar located around the vehicle.

All of this technology is leading us towards self-driving cars, but it’s a technology that Tesla owners can experience now. While all of this technology sounds cool, it did require me to pay more attention to the car and screens.

On open highways with a little traffic, the system is great and you can set it and relax, but when a lot is going on around you the system is always up to something that needs your attention and approval.

The lane change system, for example, whether it’s trying to switch lanes to take an upcoming exit, or to overtake solar traffic, always tends to want to switch lanes when another vehicle is next to you so you end up driving alongside a truck with your signal on and nowhere to go.

To switch lanes the default seems for the car to want to slow down to get over, which probably annoys those behind you.

Drivers can adjust how aggressive the system is and we admittedly had our set to Mad Max, but it still made choices that a competent human driver would avoid. The technology is cool, but comparatively, it’s a bit of a bad driver.

The normal autopilot system is good, however, it comes standard, it will steer accelerate and brake automatically.

To activate the autopilot system you pull the stock on the left of the wheel one time, to activate the self-driving system you pull the stock twice.

In the navigation menu, you can also choose to navigate on autopilot, and the car will take on and off-ramps for you. The instrument screen is clean and provides a good amount of information.

I like how the animations show the traffic around you acting as a blind spot monitor, the animations are good and you can tell the difference between smaller cars and semi-trucks. The system is even capable of displaying safety cones.

Tesla Model S Performance Cameras

The cameras can also be used in sentry mode, which monitors and records any activity happening around the car while it is secured.

Tesla Model S Performance Range

Being free of gasoline is an exciting part of owning a Tesla. our Model S performance has an estimated range of three hundred and twenty-six miles, long-range models are rated at 390 miles.

Tesla Model S Performance Charging

Most owners will do their charging at home, we juiced our Model S at the closest supercharging station. It is about 20 minutes from where I live, and one of only two supercharging stations within 50 miles.

Tesla Model S Performance Review Charging Port

Pointing out places a charge may be a reality for some people, but for the most part, when combined with charging at home, there isn’t too much of an inconvenience.

It took about 40 minutes for me to go from under forty percent charge to just over 95 percent. By the time I made it back home I was down to 89 percent, and the next morning after sitting overnight I was down to 83 percent.

The Model S has existed all of its life without any direct competitors, what Porsches new Taycan starting to show up in showrooms that’s no longer the case. But even after having been on the market for eight years, it’s awesome to see how competitive the Model S is with the Taycan.

Their close enough to make no difference. They are just as quick 0 to 60 miles per hour and through the quarter-mile, sure the Taycan doesn’t suffer from decreased acceleration as two battery drains like the Model S and the Taycan certainly has the better build quality and driving dynamics.

However, the Taycan in top trim costs almost double the price of the Model S performance but isn’t necessarily twice the car. It’s almost like Porsche only aimed to catch Tesla, but not surpass them.

Or is it possible that Tesla was so far ahead of its time with the Model s that as technology is still class-leading even today. I imagine its a bit of both.

Either way, I would feel comfortable saying if you’re in the market for a fully electric luxury vehicle, the Tesla Model S is still the benchmark and should be near or at the top of your list of vehicles to buy.

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