Our test car was fitted with Tesla’s now retired Performance Plus Pack chassis mods (wider rear tyres, stiffer anti-roll bars and uprated dampers), this is a fairly softly sprung saloon that does isolation better than driver involvement. And that’s exactly as it should be.
Without the suspension modifications, the car’s cosseting rolling refinement might have better stood out. As it was, the test car neither rode nor handled with any particular brilliance.
That said, the Model S is every bit as good as you’d expect it to be on both fronts, given that it’s Tesla’s first proper fist at a car. It’s also probably every bit as good as it needs to be for something whose ultimate selling point is largely unrelated to how perfectly it rides a bump or sweeps around a corner.
Driven as fast as its powertrain will allow, the Tesla Model S’s chassis can certainly hack the pace, but it doesn’t bring much sporting engagement. The air suspension allows the usual few degrees of gently bumbling, constant body movement on a testing road, but nothing too discouraging.
Ultimately, it controls pitch and roll very well. But it never makes you feel connected to the contact patches. There are three assistance settings for the power steering, which is sensibly paced – but, similarly, none of them provides much road feel. The Comfort setting is by far the most pleasant.
Our experience suggests that a smaller wheel and tyre, combined with Tesla’s softer chassis set-up, would be the way to configure your car. On the 21-inch rims, a bit of road roar took the edge off the car’s natural advantage on mechanical refinement above 40mph.
Above all else, quick as it undoubtedly is, you want this car to be quiet as well. Its appeal comes from that unlikely juxtaposition of remarkable pace and incredible calm.