Tesla Motors has been in the news lately. Its new car, the Model 3, attracted 275,000 orders in just three days – and £30,000 saloon cars, however they’re powered, don’t normally threaten to break the internet and jam up the phone lines to quite the extent that this one did.

Things have been going quite well for Tesla, then. The company has started up, moved off, set about building the largest single factory in the world and is about to change gear.

In 2013 it paid back every dollar it owed to the US government and became the top-performing business on the New York Stock Exchange’s Nasdaq 100 index.

It expects to deliver close to 90,000 new cars this year and an ambitious 500,000 a year by the end of the decade.

Meanwhile, Tesla has been making incremental improvements to the car with which it blazed a trail three years ago when it set about proving that the electrically powered luxury car’s time had come.

Since our 2013 road test, the remarkable Model S has been in receipt of more power and performance (neither of which it really needed), more battery capacity and cruising range, a second front-mounted electric motor and consequent four-wheel drive capability and a new Autopilot feature that extends beyond the abilities of most car makers’ lane keeping and active cruise controls.

All good reasons for another full Autocar road test – and this time, in a right-hand-drive, UK-registered car.

The Model S range now starts with a sub-£55,000, 312bhp rear-drive model, moving up to include four-wheel-drive options of both 324 and 411bhp and either 70 or 90kWh of battery capacity.

Here, we’re trying the top-of-the-range P90D, complete with ‘Ludicrous Speed’ upgrade – all 525bhp, 713lb ft and £97,000 of it.

We donned our Spaceballs movie costumes to investigate Tesla’s key 2.8sec 0-60mph performance claim.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo front
    The new BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo
    First Drive
    16 February 2018
    The top-of-the-line 6 Series Gran Turismo has arrived in the UK, but does a more potent engine increase its unusual appeal?
  • Audi TT RS Coupé
    First Drive
    16 February 2018
    The Audi TT RS has the looks, a vociferous engine and the supercar-baiting performance, but is it too uncompromising to use as a daily driver?
  • Range Rover Velar front quarter
    The new Range Rover Velar P300 features a four-cylinder petrol engine
    First Drive
    16 February 2018
    JLR’s most powerful four-pot isn’t the engine the Velar truly wants but perhaps the one that makes most sense
  • Mitsubishi Outlander diesel
    The Mitsubishi Outlander diesel is available with five or seven seats
    First Drive
    15 February 2018
    The Outlander isn't just available as a PHEV: how does the diesel version compare to seven-seat rivals such as the Nissan X-Trail and Skoda Kodiaq?
  • Ferrari Portofino
    The Portofino's engine revs to a tremulous 7500rpm; it has a huge swell of mid-range torque; and it responds crisply at all times and feels unusually progressive in its power delivery for a highly stressed turbo
    First Drive
    13 February 2018
    Faster, more agile and perhaps more authentically ‘Ferrari’, but the Portofino lacks the dynamic sophistication of a great GT car, just like its predecessor