From £58,6008
New starting point for revised Model S line-up is still the electric saloon to beat

Our Verdict

Tesla Model S 95D

In theory, this all-electric luxury car looks a hit. So is it in practice?

Steve Cropley Autocar
16 July 2018

What is it?

The recently simplified UK range of the Model S, the BMW 5 Series-sized four-door saloon that took Elon Musk’s electric car marque to global prominence following its launch in 2012, starts with the all-wheel-drive 75D.

In the UK, its starting price is listed at £64,700, which swells to £75,950 by the time you’ve added our test car’s desirable options package: 19in carbon-adorned wheels (£1400), silver roof (£950), exotic white interior (£3100), an adornments package labelled 'premium upgrades' (£4700) and a few other bits and pieces.

More to the point, an owner prepared to put down a deposit around £10,000 can run one of these over a three-year term for £600-700 a month, which is what most business-oriented owners seem to do.

The Model S is a four-door saloon, updated front and rear a couple of years ago so that it belies its age, and it’s still the Tesla you’re most likely to see — at least until supplies of the smaller, cheaper Model 3 (the one they seem to have so much trouble producing in volume) improve.

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Tesla is unaccountably coy about specifying the total output of the two electric drive motors (one on the front axle, one on the rear) and outputs vary according to model, but the 75D seems to pack a total of 415bhp, giving it the impressive performance credentials of a 140mph top speed and 4.2sec 0-60mph acceleration time.

The '75' refers to a 75kWh battery (there are faster and more expensive '100' models offered in UK for up to £40,000 more) but the virtue of this entry model is that its battery — good for a realistic range around 230 miles — saves around 200kg in weight on its siblings and costs considerable less because, as is becoming well known with electric cars, the battery is the expensive bit.

What's it like?

It’s a handsome beast, especially now that the frontal styling has been modernised and simplified. It’s 'refined American' in character, but well-sized for our roads so that it won’t upset someone used to the more conventional Jaguars and German executive saloons to which it makes an interesting alternative.

Inside, providing you’ve had the premium upgrades, the car is pleasantly modern. The fascia is dominated by a massive screen that is central to the driver’s activities and can be configured in a variety of ways, presenting the car’s running history in large and impressive detail, perhaps, or providing the biggest navigation screen going. Or, of course, showing details of the audio system (very impressive in our car, with its performance laid bare by the lack of mechanical noise and vibration) or ventilation.

The car is simple to drive, of course, like the simples of automatics. You use buttons to choose forward or reverse motion, or a park mode, and that’s about it. The performance — especially acceleration — is highly accessible; it accelerates very strongly, and especially quick off the mark in traffic (versus more conventional cars) because there’s so little to do, and the response of the motors is clean and instant. Those who’ve never driven a modern electric car are in for a treat.

The handling is good, mostly because the car’s weight is centred in the battery, which is extremely low in the car. The steering sets a good European standard for effort, gearing and accuracy, although it doesn’t quite have the precision of the very best from the likes of Jaguar. You’re always aware of the 75D’s 2100kg mass as it corners or brakes, but it’s a curiosity rather than a difficulty. But laden with luggage and people, it goes well into Range Rover territory.

There’s little sense of this being an entry-level Model S, and even the range (you start getting restless as you approach 200 miles) isn’t a problem given the exemplary availability of Tesla’s Supercharger network, especially in the UK’s more populated areas, and its speed of charging. A half-hour coffee break gives you an 80% boost, enough for another 180-odd miles. And, at present (in contrast to all others), that boost is a freebie.

Faults? The under-floor battery makes the floor high, especially in the rear, in a way that doesn’t affect (for instance) Jaguar’s new I-Pace SUV because it starts off taller. The Model S's front screen pillars are about the thickest of any car I can remember, meaning you really need to be careful at intersections. Oh, and the friction brakes are overlight, so when you need to wash off the past 20mph at an intersection (having used the regenerative braking to attain low speed) it’s hard to stop with the smoothness we’re used to in conventional systems.

Should I buy one?

For serious users of a single electric saloon car, it’s hard to see a better choice than this, at least for the time being.

The 75D’s cruising range, combined with the ease of use of the Supercharger network, make this the UK’s most practical biggish electric car now — and this looks to be the case for the next few years.

Residuals are good (especially for lower-end models) and the car seems quite well made, too. For now, and for a while to come, the others still have Tesla to beat.

Tesla Model S 75D specification

Where UK Price £75,950 On sale now Engine permanent magnet Battery 75kWh Power 415bhp Torque not stated Gearbox single speed Kerb weight 2090kg Top speed 140mph 0-62mph 4.2sec Range 230 miles CO2 0g/km Rivals Jaguar I-Pace

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Comments
37

16 July 2018
'Desirable'?

Not to me, it isn't.

16 July 2018

Has anyone asked his opinion?

17 July 2018

Underwater?

16 July 2018

Although comments like 'Model 3' "the one they seem to have so much trouble producing in volume" don't really have a place in the article.

Also "In the UK, its starting price is listed at £64,700, which swells to £75,950" well the starting price doesn't swell just because you've you've added options, minor point I know.

Don't usually have a SOLE price at the bottom of an article showing the price with all the options either, check out the previous reviews. Another minor point I know.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

16 July 2018
xxxx wrote:

Although comments like 'Model 3' "the one they seem to have so much trouble producing in volume" don't really have a place in the article.

Also "In the UK, its starting price is listed at £64,700, which swells to £75,950" well the starting price doesn't swell just because you've you've added options, minor point I know.

Don't usually have a SOLE price at the bottom of an article showing the price with all the options either, check out the previous reviews. Another minor point I know.

Its perfectly acceptable for Steve to make the comments he did about the Model 3, millions of other articles in many automotive publications have mentioned, as asides other models that manufacturers make when driving a different model, since, well 1895 when Autocar started. The starting price DOES swell when you add (or in this case the manufacturer adds) options, Tesla, like most manufacturers often supply cars to journalists with extra equipment added and the article points out the base price to make this perfectly clear. Steve made 3 mistakes in the article, none of which you pointed out. Instead you try and fail to make out theres something wrong with him mentioning the Model 3 situation and pointing out that the test car had options, basically youre just riled cos he didnt just print "The car is perfect, just like Elon xxxx". We all know that in your eyes Tesla is beyond any criticism and everything about it is perfect.

XXXX just went POP.

16 July 2018

It's perfectably reasonable for me to question why a review about one car needs comments about the production rate of another, especially as they're by and large 'over the hill' regarding production rates.

"Instead you try and fail to make out theres something wrong with him "  - Really please.

The starting price is the starting price, the price with options is something different.

But like I said they're minor points. A bit like you TYPOS1.

As to me thinking TESLA are perfect you couldn't be further from the truth,  now run along you sad little troll and stop stalking me.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

16 July 2018
xxxx wrote:

It's perfectably reasonable for me to question why a review about one car needs comments about the production rate of another, especially as they're by and large 'over the hill' regarding production rates.

"Instead you try and fail to make out theres something wrong with him "  - Really please.

The starting price is the starting price, the price with options is something different.

But like I said they're minor points. A bit like you TYPOS1.

As to me thinking TESLA are perfect you couldn't be further from the truth,  now run along you sad little troll and stop stalking me.

As I ve said before, you clearly dont know the definition of "troll" - replying to your comment is not in anyway trolling.

You always camplain if anyone makes any criticism, however valid, about Tesla or any electric vehicle, you comments here were not "minor" they were totally wrong.

XXXX just went POP.

17 July 2018
xxxx wrote:

It's perfectably reasonable for me to question why a review about one car needs comments about the production rate of another, especially as they're by and large 'over the hill' regarding production rates.

"Instead you try and fail to make out theres something wrong with him "  - Really please.

The starting price is the starting price, the price with options is something different.

But like I said they're minor points. A bit like you TYPOS1.

As to me thinking TESLA are perfect you couldn't be further from the truth,  now run along you sad little troll and stop stalking me.

 

Grow up.

17 July 2018
typos1 wrote:

The starting price DOES swell when you add (or in this case the manufacturer adds) options,

Well pedantically the "price" swells, the base price is the base price.

typos1 wrote:

Tesla, like most manufacturers often supply cars to journalists with extra equipment added and the article points out the base price to make this perfectly clear.

Does it? It says "From £58600" at the top of the article, in the body it says, "starting price is listed at £64,700" and then in the footer it says, "Price £75,950". It also doesn't mention the £4500 plug-in grant, while saying it's a 5 series rival, of which only the 530e qualifies for £2500. That makes a significant impact on the price. So it could be much clearer - especially for those that don't very carefully read the whole thing.

typos1 wrote:

basically youre just riled cos he didnt just print "The car is perfect, just like Elon xxxx". We all know that in your eyes Tesla is beyond any criticism and everything about it is perfect.

This is a bit strange, and makes it hard to take you seriously. Don't think I've heard anyone say they are perfect, but I have heard a lot of subtle to blatant negative stuff, from ommssion and innacuracy to downright lies - and often when people correct it, they are erroneously labelled, "fanboys". If people are accurate and fair then there should be no problem with positive or negative, and of course people can have their own taste on the matter.

17 July 2018
typos1 wrote:

The starting price DOES swell when you add (or in this case the manufacturer adds) options,

Well pedantically the "price" swells, the base price is the base price.

typos1 wrote:

Tesla, like most manufacturers often supply cars to journalists with extra equipment added and the article points out the base price to make this perfectly clear.

Does it? It says "From £58600" at the top of the article, in the body it says, "starting price is listed at £64,700" and then in the footer it says, "Price £75,950". It also doesn't mention the £4500 plug-in grant, while saying it's a 5 series rival, of which only the 530e qualifies for £2500. That makes a significant impact on the price. So it could be much clearer - especially for those that don't very carefully read the whole thing.

typos1 wrote:

basically youre just riled cos he didnt just print "The car is perfect, just like Elon xxxx". We all know that in your eyes Tesla is beyond any criticism and everything about it is perfect.

This is a bit strange, and makes it hard to take you seriously. Don't think I've heard anyone say they are perfect, but I have heard a lot of subtle to blatant negative stuff, from ommssion and innacuracy to downright lies - and often when people correct it, they are erroneously labelled, "fanboys". If people are accurate and fair then there should be no problem with positive or negative, and of course people can have their own taste on the matter.

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