The opportunity to test drive a Tesla don’t come around very often, so when CC&V was invited to the Manchester Tesla dealership to drive the Tesla S, it was our first chance to see what all the fuss was about.
As a fleet publication, we were expecting to be testing an entry level 75kWh Business Economy model, which retails at £56,835. Instead, Tesla decide to let me drive the frankly bonkers P100D, which is powered by the 100kWh battery.
With the P100D, a range of 381 miles is claimed from a fully charged battery. Taking into account the nature of official NEDC tests & after an hour behind the wheel, I would feel confident that 300 miles would be achievable in the P100D, which considering range is a customers main priority with an EV, is pretty impressive.
Driving carefully however, is not what the P100D is about, far from it. It’s a super-car at a super-car price, coming a sit does with a £40,000 premium over the standard 100D
Why is it £40,000 more expensive then the Model S 100D ? This is why. Standard on the P100D is Ludicrous Speed, which allows the driver access to Ludicrous Plus mode & a frankly bonkers 0-62mph time of 2.4 seconds & all in silence, which, when you’re driving one, makes it feel like being a passenger on a theme park ride. The 100D is slow in comparison, hitting 62mph in a lack lustre 4.2 seconds, which is why it’s so much cheaper.
To be fair, even in the P100d, you can calm things down a bit, by choosing Sport mode, which makes it a little more relaxing. Ludicrous mode is next & Ludicrous Plus, is well, the choice of wanna-be astronauts. Whichever you choose, the he torque is extraordinary, 713lb ft at 0rpm, although the acceleration decreases the faster you go.
As with al of the Model S range, the P100D has strong regenerative braking, allowing, in complete contrast to it’s rampant acceleration, for a relaxing drive. As with al EV’s, if you use the brake sparingly & carefully, you’ll see the range usage slow, which equates to more miles between charges.
Despite the temptation to to “ back to the future,” it’s a surprisingly compliant car to drive. It handles the motorway with aplomb. Country roads & tight bends hold no fear & even the suspension & tyres work well on most road surfaces. The steering perhaps, isn’t as precise as you’d want but with stability control always turned on, at least, in the style of a Premier League footballer or two, you can avoid “writing” your Tesla off.
Much has been talked about the Model S’s interior & it is a nice place to be. The enormous 17″ touchscreen, that dominates the centre console, is so intuitive & user-friendly, that you may want to spend an evening or two getting used to what it can do, which is a lot. The function you’ll most want to familiarise yourself with, is the one that shows you where your nearest charging station is & which also tells you if that station has any available charging points.
The software updates from Tesla are already becoming legendary, coming as they do with the frequency of Donald Trumps Tweets. The company claims that by updating the cars “brain,” this regularly, will prevent the car from dating. Only time will tell if this proves to be correct, for at present, both the tech inside the Model S & the exterior looks are pretty damn good.
Inside, my test car was finished in a white seat fabric, which does actually look smart. This is a finish that Tesla claims is both hard-wearing & wipe clean. I’m not so sure that I believe them though, especially as I regularly ferry around sixth-form rugby players, as well as a muddy Cockerpoo. To my mind, black would seem preferable.
As with many performance motors, storage is an afterthought & in the cabin anyway, is limited to a couple of areas between the front seats. Front & rear passenger leg & headroom is excellent. The boot isn’t bad either, but your charging paraphernalia, as well as the battery, will eat up useful space.
Build quality is alright, but is still far away from the equivalent German cars such as the Porsche Panamara or even the Italian Maserati Ghibli. However, for sheer unadulterated fun the P100D is very hard to beat, which brings us to the question of should I lease one ? Like all EV’s, range anxiety is a customer no no. Buyers want to know that a trip to the supermarket can be made without worrying about having to recharge. Tesla does offer customers for around £400, a charging station, which allows one to fast-charge at home. Furthermore, I drove the Tesla S for 50 miles & the range fell from 299 miles when I got into it, to 249 miles when I got out, which suggests that Tesla range claims aren’t ludicrous. Add in the exceptional low running costs & you would seem to have a decent cocktail to tempt you.
However, before you tell your partner that you want to spend over £130,0000 on a car, remember that the entry level Tesla S 75, costs a far more enticing £56,835. The 75D also offers a claimed 334 mile range, which we think is more likely to be around 250 miles. So in my humble opinion, the cheapest version is the one to go for, not only because it’s £75,000 cheaper, but also because it offers impressive battery life & from the outside, looks just as good.
Crazy Stupid Love 4/5