Road Tests

Tesla Model S

4

thumbs upStonking heave, room for everybody, totally usable, oozes brilliance

thumbs downNot cheap, still not enough chargers, dull cornering, slightly bland styling

Should You?

The Model S changed global attitudes to electric cars and made them sexy and aspirational. 300+ mile range, Porsche punching performance and room for five adults (seven if you go for the two extra seats in the boot option) have made Tesla the benchmark by which every future EV will be judged.  Even the £53k entry level 70 S can hit 60 mph in 5.4 secs, crack 140 mph and drive 240 miles between charges. D models have four-wheel drive and P90D with bigger 90kWh motors can dispatch sixty in just 2.8 secs and run to 155 mph. Gearbox has ‘Ludicrous’ performance setting. Huge 17-inch touchscreen controls everything and clever Autopilot system virtually drives itself. You can even summon the car from your smart phone.  As luxurious as a Mercedes S Class and quicker than a BMW M5. Serene on motorways and a perfect all-rounder. Wireless software updates improve the technology as you sleep and Tesla have a continuous upgrade policy. Eight-year battery warranty and free use of Supercharging network.  The Model S in all its forms is blindingly good.

My Charging Life

Charging a Model S from flat on a normal home socket can take a day so Tesla’s wall charger is essential giving a full charge in five hours. Using the Supercharger network will restore 80% charge in 40 mins and full charge in 75 mins. Real driving range is 200 to 250 miles but P90D has an official range of 316. Starry-eyed owners rave and some claim to have achieved up to 350 miles on a single charge. Tesla’s unique (and expanding) Supercharger network has 70 sites across the UK.

The Downsides

For all its performance the Model S looks a bit too conventional and all that battery weight means the handling round corners isn’t pin sharp with a lazy feel to the steering. The constant temptation to floor the throttle will reduce the range considerably. And such supercar-beating performance doesn’t come cheap with the full-house P90D costing £85k. Oh, and you’ll still have to plan long journeys round availability of charging stations.

Verdict
5

The Model S is the most practical and entertaining EV in the world by a wide margin.