After test driving the Tesla Model S P85D (aka Tesla P85D), my initial feeling was that I didn’t want to get out of the driver’s seat. Really. I’ve driven some fun cars in my life, but none of them came close to this. The raw power and fun is not just exhilarating — it’s immediately addictive. But the overall takeaway I most wanted to express was simply… “Wow.” (Hence what some considered to be an incomplete article.)
I’ve now edited the videos from the test drive to share them with you as well, and they are below, but there are a few points I think should be written beforehand:
1. Videos and articles can’t capture the experience. That may seem obvious, but really, they can’t. I’ve watched many Tesla P85D reaction videos, of course (see the links on the bottom of this article), and read many articles and comments about the car (it’s my job!), and I thought I was fairly prepared to have some fun but not lose my mind. Well, it seems I was wrong. You simply have to experience it.
2. Being the driver and being the passenger are two very different experiences. Being the driver, you have control of that massively powerful rocket ship (it feels like a rocket ship anyway… a super quiet one). The experience of stepping on the pedal is a ton of fun, but fun you are controlling to some degree.
As the passenger, it really is a bit like riding a rollercoaster. However, you don’t know when the driver will step on the electricity, so there is more of a surprise factor, and more “nervousness” about when it will actually happen. It’s fun.
3. There is truly much more to the car that “wows” than simply the acceleration. The steering wheel makes you feel like you have a race car in your hands, the excellent handling thanks to the low and balanced center of gravity has a similar but stronger effect, the touch screen is huge (can’t capture that in pictures or videos), the touch screen options are wonderful, the trunk space is crazy, and I loved the next-gen seats, which were firm but comfortable — exactly what I’d want.
4. While it’s hard to say any car is “worth” 3–5 times more than an average, good, electric car (like the Nissan LEAF), I think it’s very hard to settle for another model or brand once you’ve driven a Tesla P85D (or any Tesla Model S, I presume). As one of our readers, Kyle Field, wrote in a comment after test driving the P85D, “I’m looking into a used Model S to replace my Prius… or a 200mi LEAF, but the more I compare, the more the Model S seems like a no brainer. Yes, I’m aware that it’s twice the price but it’s soooooo much better on every level.” Indeed. It’s like a completely different product.
5. There’s obviously more to write, but the main thing is simply: go for a test drive!
(Or don’t, if you really need to keep your money in your pocket!)
Tesla P85D Test Drive & Reaction Videos
OK, on to the videos. And a huge thanks to Bárbara Rubim, Jorge Martinez, Kristin Johansson, and Rebecca Chan for joining me on the test drive and helping with the video production (I think Bárbara and Jorge actually did most of the recording). You’re probably better off opening each of these in a new tab or watching in full-screen mode, but I guess that’s up to you.
If you didn’t and won’t watch all of the videos, there were a few more things from them that I want to highlight, since they were new to me despite learning about the Model S as a job for years.
I’m not sure how common this feature is in other cars, but it was pretty sweet to see and experience during the P85D test drive. Basically, when you have the music (or something else) playing, you can drag a dot around on the touch screen to focus it on particular areas of the car — even specific corners, like the front-passenger corner of the car. And it worked really well.
Many cars now have little backup cameras to help you when parking or backing out of a tight space. Tesla’s backup camera (thanks to its massive touch screen) is almost like an entirely different product. It is huge, which makes it much more useful than others I’ve used. I mean, you shouldn’t have to put on your reading glasses to use the backup camera.
Well, I might have known about this one before, but I’m not sure, and it’s a cool thing that I think I never gave any attention to before: aside from searching for Superchargers generally or based on your location, you can also mark some as favorites and quickly jump to those or scan through recently visited Superchargers.
Suspension Auto Adjusts
This is one I definitely knew about before, but it is a very cool feature that I think is worth highlighting: aside from the suspension automatically lowering the car when you get on the highway, it will also remember places where you typically lower or raise the car (like going into your driveway) and start adjusting automatically in that location.
Excellent Turning Radius
Well, the subheading says enough. It can turn in not quite as tight a radius as a Renault Twizy, but it sure felt sharp — surprisingly so for such a large car.
Beats A Lamborghini
The Tesla P85D is faster to 60 mph (or 100 km/h) than most Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Porsche models, but much quicker right off the line.
If you didn’t watch the videos, you didn’t catch this tidbit: one of the passengers in our P85D test drives is quite opposed to cars (for very logical reasons) and wasn’t that into the idea of going on a test drive. She loved the P85D and said afterwards that, despite the fact that she still wouldn’t buy one, she said she “wouldn’t mind taking a drive in one every day.”
— Kristin Lundmark (@AnneKristin_J) May 17, 2015
Electric cars aren’t as green as bikes (and aren’t as good for livable cities), but if powered by sunlight or wind, they’re greener than basically everything else around.
- I Drove The Tesla P85D, And Now Nothing I Drive Will Feel The Same Way Again
- Tesla P85D Test Drive, BMW i3 On Amazon, Electric Mustang, Unfriendly Kia Dealer… (Cleantech Talk #10)
- Car Hater To EV Lover (What Made Me Into An Electric Car Lover?)
- Tesla P85D Cellphone Test — Instant Torque In Action (Video)
- 7 Top Tesla Model S P85D Reaction Videos
- Tesla Model S Feature Overview (Video)
- Tesla P85D VS. $400,000 Lamborghini Murcielago (Video)
- Tesla Leaves Lamborghini In The Dust (+ Other EV News)
- How Does Tesla’s P85D Compare Against The Audi RS7, BMW M6 GC, & Mercedes CLS63 AMG?
- Tesla Model S P85D Test Drive Blows Motor Trend Away
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