Overview & Reviews
Based on the electric cars that have come out so far, you'd assume that conventional automotive design says they have to be podlike devices with meager range, meager power and about as much charm as Des Moines. For its Model S, however, Tesla has taken that conventional thinking, stuffed it in a burlap bag, beat it incessantly with a crowbar and thrown it off a bridge.
The Tesla Model S luxury sport sedan breaks with convention by featuring a thoroughly modern and upscale cabin that is enveloped by a sleek exterior. It also has the potential for stunning performance in terms of both acceleration and handling. Yet, as with many EVs, the Model S provides near-silent propulsion, further enhancing its luxurious silence on the road.
What's most impressive about the Tesla Model S, however, is that it drives just like a conventionally powered vehicle. If you spring for the range-topping battery pack, range anxiety is unlikely to be a major concern, as it can travel up to 265 miles on a single charge. There's also a wealth of cargo and passenger space for everyday usability. All told, the Tesla Model S is not just one of the best electric vehicles out there. It's one of the best luxury sedans you can get, electric or otherwise.
Current Tesla Model S
The current Tesla Model S represents the vehicle's first generation, which debuted in 2012. Measuring about 196 inches in length, this luxury sedan is roughly the size and shape of a Porsche Panamera.
Power is sent to the rear wheels by a single-speed transmission and single water-cooled electric motor that is fed by one of four distinctly different lithium-ion battery packs. With the base 40 kWh battery pack, the Model S is capable of 235 horsepower and has a range of just over 100 miles. The 60 kWh option produces 302 hp and has a 208-mile range, while the 85 kWh provides 362 hp and a 265-mile range. The top-of-the-line 85 kWh Performance model has the same range but is capable of 416 hp. Zero to 60 mph ranges from an admirable 6.5 seconds to a blistering 4.3 seconds.
There are also several charging options offered. All Tesla Model S versions can use standard 110- and 240-volt household outlets. Using a 240-volt circuit, the base 40 kWh battery would take about 5 hours to fully charge. Bigger battery packs can also use a dual charging system that can half the charge time. Using this system, count on about four hours to charge the 60 kWh or 85 kWh packs. Tesla is also building a network of high-speed superchargers that promise 160 miles worth of charge in only 30 minutes.
Besides the battery choices, there are also four trim levels to select from. Base Model S features include the typical luxury sedan trappings, plus a sleek 17-inch touchscreen, 12-way adjustable power front seats, a rearview camera and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming. Upgrading to the Performance trim adds and active air suspension and leather upholstery. Options are grouped into packages and include turn-by-turn navigation, xenon headlights, a power rear hatch, a 12-speaker premium surround-sound audio system, a panoramic sunroof, rear-facing third-row seats and additional charging units.
Inside, one of the Tesla Model S's most striking features is the centrally mounted 17-inch touchscreen. It does an excellent job of replacing conventional knobs and buttons and also allows users to customize the layout of controls. The cabin itself is a model of modern simplicity and is elegantly executed. There's also a wealth of legroom for front and rear seats, though taller passengers may run out of rear headroom. We do not recommend springing for the optional rear-facing jump seats. They can only be used for a specific size of child, and they sacrifice cargo capacity.
Though there's a significant price premium that comes along with the top 85 kWh battery pack version of the Model S, it's worth it given the stunning performance and generous cruising range it provides. We're fairly confident that most savvy shoppers would be satisfied with any of the variants, though. If we were to fault this praiseworthy car for anything, it would be the exorbitant prices for options. More importantly, we'd suggest checking out the Tesla Model S as a luxury sedan, whether or not you're in the market for an electric vehicle.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 38.00
Excellent performance, utility and efficiency - 2013 Tesla Model S
By fluxemag - December 5 - 8:51 am
I rationalized buying such an expensive car based on $3000 a year gas savings, $500 a year registration savings and maintenance savings. I chose reasonable options like leather, the pano roof and the sound system with the never-produced 40kWh battery. So I am one of the few people who got the 60kWh battery for the price of the 40 (albeit with a software limitation). The car is just as fast as the G37 was, seats 5 adults very comfortably, is twice as efficient as a Prius and has tons of cargo space. The design of the interior and exterior is beautifully done. It does get slightly annoying to drive such a high profile vehicle because that's all anyone wants to talk about.
NO LOOKING BACK - 2017 Tesla Model S
By DT - August 29 - 3:39 pm
I looked at everything. Went to Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW, Volvo,etc. They really live in the 20th century. While I gave them a chance, all dressed in suits and ties in their fancy showrooms, they really don't want to give you the time of day if you don't want to drop 50k or more on a fossil fuel burner. They put down the Tesla where ever you go, but after asking them, none of them have ever gotten of their butts to even test one.well I tested model S's over 3 years. Right now, I can't afford to buy this car, so it's the only reason why I'm not in it . It would be really nice if you could drive one for a weekend. The salesmen don't push you at all. There is such an excitement among the people, buyers, and customers in the showroom. We went for a long test ride, and it's just phenomenal. The car will actually back into a space too. It takes a while to get used to, but after 3 tests I realized how things worked, and even though I hate touch screens, they showed me how to turn it off during driving. I actually over the years wrote Elon Musk to change a few things, and 3 ideas I thought of actually happened. Imagine me writing GM in the 1970's to put a 2 liter engine with a turbo in their cars, and 40 years later Saab helped them, after they killed Saab. So, after the test is the let down. You have to get back in your car where the engine was invented over 100 years ago. It's sad. You feel like you are getting into a horse and buggy. So now GM will build 10 electric cars in China, but Tesla, the worlds greatest American car can't be sold in 5 states including Connecticut. But we are allowed to have nuclear subs made in CT. Back to the test. What the other car dealers try to scare you, they don't know the Tesla will guide your trip through the charging stations for free, and so what if you have to stop for 20 minutes. Wouldn't you stop in a gas car every 300 miles to take a pee? So forget about the new auto systems on the car. Get it without now, it's cheaper. You can add them on later when the bugs are worked out. But it's hard to consider another car after testing this car. Image a guy coming from South Africa , Elon Musk, and building the best car in our country. That's the American dream. Support this company. We are on top again with this product. If you can't afford it, look for the model 3 to come later this year. There are around 400,000 orders in for this for about 38,000 dollars.and to conclude, I worked for the oil industry for years, I saw the pollution, and while we do need oil for planes, and plastics, but not for cars much longer.
So far so good..... - 2015 Tesla Model S
By Armand Mintanciyan - April 30 - 12:32 pm
I went from a 2013 Mercedes SL550 to the 2015 Tesla P90D Ludicrous. I purchased (Dec 2015) all the options except for the extra seats and the winter package. Wish there was more options for exterior color, seat color, and trim. I chose Obsidian Black exterior , Black next gen seats, and piano black trim with white Alcantara Headliner. I was hesitant until I got the car but having driving in the car a few weeks now I am glad I chose the color combination I did. I used to have Lunar Blue for the SL550 and burl wood trim and tan interior. I miss the wood/leather steering wheel (not available in Tesla). Right before I committed to the car news came out about potential reliability issues. This did not help my nerves. No major issues (one minor one) but again only a few weeks driving. The car is a beast. Super performance. Much better acceleration that the SL550 and much better transmission (Ludicrous mode). Smooth as silk. Alot more trunk space then the SL550. Have had the car only a few weeks so I cannot compare reliability at this point. So far so good. Things that I have notices as negatives from the SL550: 1. Headlights. In the SL550 when I made turns the headlights turned with the car. Doesn't seem that the P90D does this. 2. Windshield wipers look alittle "cheap" compared to the SL550. In fairness there have been pretty strong storms the last few days and they seemed to work well. 3. Sirius radio reception. I have been having problems with this. In the SL550 never had a problem with the Sirius radio. Have an appointment to have it looked at. 4. Front center console. I think this should have been standard in the P90D. I ordered this. Had a 220V outlet installed in the garage. No issues charging. Have the car charge at 11pm at night with my tiered electric rates. Takes about 3 hours for a 60 mile round trip. Would I do it all over again. Absolutely. This car is awesome.
Best Car I Have Owned - 2013 Tesla Model S
By sanfraned - January 16 - 12:24 am
I very seldom write reviews, but after reading a couple of lousy reviews about the Tesla S, I feel compelled to do so. And by the way, I own a Tesla S. I didn't just borrow it for a week and my views are about the car, not about what I wish or about the stock market. I have had the fortune of being able to own some awesome cars over the last 20 years. Mercedes SL600, E55, S55, SL63, Nissan GTR, Porsche Turbo, Bentley Silver Spur, and the Tesla S. All great cars. Without a doubt, this is the most amazing car I have driven. It is a technology marvel, a power monster, and incredible fun to drive. It is reliable, inexpensive to run and soooo quiet. So great not to have to buy gas
Never seizes to amaze - 2017 Tesla Model S
By Roger Peng - July 3 - 9:43 am
I read a lot of rave reviews prior to purchase, and I come from a Porsche. Yet, this car still exceeds expectations and amazes me to no end. Power delivery is so instant and smooth that you almost feel like you're floating through air. After driving this car, any gas car now feels outdated. People say the car is expensive, but you get so much for your money, and you get stuff money can't buy elsewhere, such as the amazing auto pilot with lane change capability, parallel and perpendicular self parking, over the air software updates, free LTE web surfing and music streaming etc. Operational convenience and user experience is off the charts. I never use my key. Just go to the car; door handle opens automatically; sit down and drive. Some people say the fit and finish doesn't measure up to other high end marques. That's not so much the case after the 2016 refresh with Model X style seats. The fact is that the interior is extremely comfortable. After a long drive you are guaranteed to feel more pampered than in a Rolls Royce, because most of the coachwork stuff is just visual, and doesn't really provide additional comfort. I drove a Jaguar sedan for many years when that was considered the magic carpet ride. Compared to a Model S it's not even in the same league. Besides the attributes of the car itself, there are just so many benefits to ownership, like never having to go to the gas station, never having to take the car to get a smog check, never having to get an oil change, reduced need for brake service due to regen, car pool lane privilege, etc.. As far as I can see, this car has no competition, and I can't see how anyone would opt to spend similar money on a Mercedes, BMW or Lexus.
Love/Hate relationship with a 3 months old car - 2015 Tesla Model S
By V500 - May 30 - 12:30 pm
Too many quality issues - our heating system did not work in our brand new car - we had to take it to the dealership twice (not a fun experience!!). We took the car for our Ski trip - the snow chains literally cut the car - we haven’t found other cars having this issue. As per Tesla this happened because we did not use Tesla recommended snow chains but the Tesla recommended snow chains were out of stock. There was really no other option. Repair/Dealership issues - Tesla takes too much time for any repairs because it takes too long for service centers to get parts and also service centers are really busy because there are so many issues with Tesla cars. Also from our experience the service centers guys don’t care much - you are locked in once you have bought the car as there is no competition (Tesla only sends parts to their own service centers). The service centers also have a long waiting line for loaner cars - again because they have too much work because of all the car issues. Battery Range Issues - Don’t believe the range that Tesla advertises or shows in the car. It never gives you as much miles as advertised and in our experience it could dropped down to as little as 55-60% of the listed range (happened to us because we had to go through a traffic jam) Interior Design Issues - In the interior the storage space is an issue - there is no storage on the doors (which other cars have). They have a big space next to the control screen but it is difficult to use as there are no compartments (Tesla sells you a console for $600 for that). The cup holders in the car are placed at a very inconvenient place - it is very difficult to put the cups there or take cups out Big car with Good acceleration/Good for the Environment - Very nice cosmetic features which includes a nice screen with all controls, handles etc. It has a very good acceleration and fun to drive car. It looks good from outside and it is good for environment. It is also pretty big with a lot of storage space (Frunk provides additional storage) Overall it is a good car but if you are switching from a regular Gas car - you will definitely feel some pain on long trips and also with the current quality issues you probably need an extra car at home to drive around while your car is at the service center!
Ouch... Be careful here. - 2013 Tesla Model S
By twosmalltowns - April 21 - 5:25 am
I've been driving an S off & on for a few weeks (company got one as part of investor PR.) There are several concerns/problems: car is very heavy, and this will soon be a problem for suspension and tires on the bumpy, pot-holed roads. Secondly, the interior while "different" and kinda cool, is a bit cheap in some ways; the large touchscreen control center is Dangerous: having no buttons/knobs means you are staring at the screen and not on the road.) Most importantly, Tesla is a stock play, not a car company. All the hype is carefully orchestrated to build market cap. Be careful - and assume that they are smarter than you. Because they probably are.
Best vehicle I've owned - 2015 Tesla Model S
By Nicholas Devaud - December 29 - 5:59 am
1. Driving an all electric vehicle takes a little adjusting as compared to gasoline. Once you get there, you'll never want a traditional gasoline/ICE car again. 2. Damage/repairs- an important factor in decision that is often not factored. This car has mostly aluminum vs steel constructions. It keeps car light, but it can cost more to repair. I would also caution buying if you are far (>75miles) from a service center. Services and repairs could be a hassle. 3. If you hate or can't adjust to new things - this car is not for you. 4. Safety. My wife was recently hit by another driver who ran through a red light (estimated impacted was about 40-50mph). The Tesla was declared a total loss, but my wife survived the accident. In most other cars, I'm not sure she would have survived such an impact. 5. No more dirty fuel (assuming your local utility provides you with clean energy) 6. Proactive service. The car communicates back with Tesla all the time. If it thinks there's a problem, Tesla service will proactively contact you to pick-up the car to have it checked and provide you with a loaner. When my wife was in accident, the first news of that accident I received was from Tesla service. 7. Remote monitoring. If you have kids... you can see where they are, how fast they are driving, lock/unlock car, pre-cool/heat the car before you use it, etc... 8. Charging - It's really easy at home and free while you travel out of your city using their supercharger network. By the time you finish your meal, the battery (which will give you realistically at least 240 miles range vs 265 EPA range) is nearly full again. We drive about 1,500 miles/month and electic bill is up about 30-40 / mth 9. No pesky dealerships, no negotiating. Buy online. Ask for help from sales or service centers. Just great modern service. Seems like most reviews complain about minor things in their cars. I've always found Tesla very accommodating to fix defects and make their customers happy. About me - I've owned Lexus, Toyota, Nissan, Audi in past. I liked most of my cars, but never truly loved them. Tesla team - you guys are awesome.
Remarkable Car - 2013 Tesla Model S
By txcattledog - September 15 - 2:04 pm
For over 100 years, cars have improved incrementally. That has changed. In the last year, the car has improved exponentially, thanks to the Tesla Model S. Everything about the Model S is better than an gas car - drive experience, design, engineering. The car has an intuitiveness and effortlessness that is unmatched - acceleration, handling, controls. It only lacks ease of long trips, but that is being solved with the supercharger network and is already irrelevant to many. Daily, it excels - full every morning, at 1/4 the cost of gas, and 4 times the fun. We sold our Lexus when our Model S arrived and will part with our BMW for the Model X. Categorically. Unequivocally. Joyfully!!!
"First Ride" Impressions when I visited Tesla's Factory - 2012 Tesla Model S
By ev_fan - August 21 - 4:52 am
I was very impressed by the Model S and have reserved one. The car looks awesome, is quiet because it's an EV, and offers great range - up to 300 miles @ 55 mph with the largest battery pack option. It performs extremely well. Acceleration is immediately available on demand, and the 0-60 times range from 6.5 secs to 4.4(!), top speed 110-130 mph, depending on model. I also spent a half hour playing with the 17" touchscreen at a Tesla store. It offers streaming music to Google maps and everything in between. The car has the most storage space in its class, with a "frunk" (front trunk) where the noisy, polluting gas engine would be in an old-fashioned car. Also love the glass panoramic roof!