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Tesla's Model S receives uprated motors, four-wheel drive and ridiculous levels of acceleration

What is it?

A car that accelerates extremely quickly. But while you can look for a button marked ‘launch control’ on the Tesla Model S P85D, you won’t find one. Of course you won’t. Electric motors – and there are two in the P85D, rather than a Tesla’s usual one – develop peak torque from zero revs. There is no clutch. 

Instead of engaging a dramatic launch process, then, on the 17in central monitor you just turn off the ‘creep’ function and engage the button marked ‘Insane’. It’s the sort of word that invites letters if you use it on the front of a magazine, but it gets the message across that this P85D is no ordinary Tesla. 

An ordinary (as ordinary as they get) Tesla Model S has a 376bhp motor and is pleasingly fast. The P (for Performance) designation would take that motor to 464bhp, but Tesla has deemed that this might not be enough on its own, so it has dropped that rear-drive P85 from the range and introduced the P85D instead.

It’s like a P85, but with an additional 218bhp motor at the front, making it four-wheel drive and giving a total of 682bhp. Fast? How about 3.1sec to 60mph in any conditions you choose?

What's it like?

Absurd. Push your foot into the carpet and you will accelerate in a manner you haven’t experienced before. Even if you have a really quick car like a Caterham Seven 620R alongside you at the time, you will watch it shrink in your mirrors if the surface is anything but just right. The P85D is the most absurd model in Tesla’s line-up of surprising cars. 

Surprising because of their range, mostly, a benefit that makes them more credible than any other pure electric vehicle. A regular 85 has an approximate 310-mile range. Adding 306bhp and the motor at the front only reduces that by 10 miles, because electric motors are efficient things and on the European legislative drive cycle you routinely don’t use every ounce of available grunt.

Nor would you in regular, everyday driving, where the P85D impresses just like the other Model Ss we’ve driven. Its touchscreen really is a thing of excellence, and it lives in a fine, spacious cabin finished with high-grade materials. And because there is no internal combustion engine, there are luggage compartments both front and rear, so it has bags of room. 

Road noise is on the high side and it’s still not the most engaging car to drive in the class, nor the smoothest riding, but all are respectable enough in a 2.2-tonne car that can achieve remarkable feats of acceleration.

Should I buy one?

Like any EV, you’ll have to know that your own circumstances work. But if they do, a P85D is as terrific as any other Model S. The mildly reduced range over a regular 85 is only a worry if you choose to use its acceleration to embarrass sports cars from a standstill at every given opportunity; each full-throttle run to the legal limit knocks about four miles off the distance to empty.

That doesn’t matter, though. After you’ve backed off, you’ll be that bit farther down the road and still laughing at the absurdity of it all.

Tesla Model S P85D 

Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £79,080 (after £5000 gov't grant); Engine Two electric motors; Power 682bhp; Torque 687lb ft; Gearbox Single-speed, direct drive; Kerb weight 2238kg; Top speed155mph; 0-60mph 3.1sec; Range 300 miles; CO2/tax band Nil at tailpipe, 0%

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Comments
31

6 May 2015
Until recently I lived in Norway. Compared to say, a 5 series or an XF, these made a lot of sense, due to tax rules. So much so, there are even some examples as taxis. 0-60 in 3.1 seconds is a fast taxi. Even so I'd like to see what the range would be flat out in Germany? Has anyone actually tried this?

8 May 2015
There are a number of sites out there, try google Bjørn Nyland autobahn.
The Germans dont really buy Teslas because of the range. Its an interesting car, but going 200 is pretty convenient on the Autobahn... running out of fuel/power after 120miles is not ;-)

6 May 2015
I can't think of any other car I'd rather borrow for the day. £80,0000 bargin, Porsche Pan-o-***t needs to catch up, and fast!

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

6 May 2015
xxxx wrote:

I can't think of any other car I'd rather borrow for the day. £80,0000 bargain, Porsche Pan-o-***t needs to catch up, and fast!

Take a Panamera and a Tesla to Calais, point them both at the Cote D'Azure and see which one gets there first. I doubt the Tesla has a 300 mile range at Autoroute speeds and needing to recharge at least twice makes me think it's this that'll need to catch up. Even the Supercharger Stations take 30 minutes just to add 170 miles to the range. Take the Diesel Panamera and it'll get damn close to doing the entire trip on a single tank.

 

6 May 2015
Leslie Brook wrote:
xxxx wrote:

I can't think of any other car I'd rather borrow for the day. £80,0000 bargain, Porsche Pan-o-***t needs to catch up, and fast!

Take a Panamera and a Tesla to Calais, point them both at the Cote D'Azure and see which one gets there first. I doubt the Tesla has a 300 mile range at Autoroute speeds and needing to recharge at least twice makes me think it's this that'll need to catch up. Even the Supercharger Stations take 30 minutes just to add 170 miles to the range. Take the Diesel Panamera and it'll get damn close to doing the entire trip on a single tank.

for that 1 day a year l'd take the Golf, for the other 364 days of the year I'd drive the Telsa

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

6 May 2015
xxxx wrote:
Leslie Brook wrote:
xxxx wrote:

I can't think of any other car I'd rather borrow for the day. £80,0000 bargain, Porsche Pan-o-***t needs to catch up, and fast!

Take a Panamera and a Tesla to Calais, point them both at the Cote D'Azure and see which one gets there first. I doubt the Tesla has a 300 mile range at Autoroute speeds and needing to recharge at least twice makes me think it's this that'll need to catch up. Even the Supercharger Stations take 30 minutes just to add 170 miles to the range. Take the Diesel Panamera and it'll get damn close to doing the entire trip on a single tank.

for that 1 day a year l'd take the Golf, for the other 364 days of the year I'd drive the Telsa

That doesn't make sense does it? Have a large luxo barge for every day duties and then the 1 time you want to do a journey for which a luxo barge would be ideal for you use a golf?? The Tesla might not make perfect sense now for a lot of people but in 10 years time it'll be a different situation as the ability to both store and charge will only get better. I can only assume that current customers had done their homework and could live with the cars range and need for charging time, I doubt many spend every day doing large mileages. I bet it's bloody good fun as well!!

6 May 2015
I d like to see it with better exterior styling and a properly integrated touchscreen that doesnt look like its an afterthought.

6 May 2015
Interestingly, 'P85D' is also the name of the HMRC form you need to complete to claim VAT relief on electricity.

6 May 2015
The Tesla is a surprising success in Hong Kong, probably outselling the new shape S class. It makes a lot of sense in such a compact city where one is unlikely to be caught short. And with mountains to climb in Hong Kong its impressive torque comes in useful. I agree with typos 1 that it ought to look better. Its exterior styling is derivative and does not reflect the technology underneath.

6 May 2015
The Tesla is an automotive cheetah - stunning acceleration but very poor stamina. And even then, it's a cheetah which is incredibly fussy over what it eats for dinner. Over which, it takes an absolute age. In fact, were this car a large feline, it would be extinct by now. How fortunate that there is a nature park in California which protects its existence.

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