What is it?
A new entry point into the recently revised Tesla Model S line-up. It's also perhaps a more affordable, everyday proposition than the barnstorming P85+ version we’ve driven previously and declared to be better than an Aston Martin Rapide.
That model was undoubtedly a seminal moment for the electric car – and possibly for automotive development full stop – but priced at £50,280 after the government’s electric vehicle subsidy, this version is firmly within the reach of the type of buyers who normally opt for a plush German exec.
The revised range is now made up of the 60kWh version we’ve driving here, the punchier 85kWh model and, from July 2015, the range-topping P85D. This replaces the Performance model, and will have an eye watering 682bhp, thankfully deployed through all four wheels.
What's it like?
There are some important mechanical differences involved in choosing the lesser Model S. It makes do with ‘just’ a 298bhp motor, which gives a top speed of 120mph and a claimed 0-60mph time of 5.9sec, along with a claimed range of around 215 miles – around 80 miles less than you get in the 85kWh car.
Other than the motor and the fact that it sheds more than 100kg thanks to its smaller battery pack, the most notable change on the 60 is to the suspension.
The 85 Performance uses an air-sprung set-up, with stiffer anti-roll bars along with standard 21-inch wheels. But the standard mechanical suspension employed by this 60 version helps soften out the ride – at least for the most part.
Where the firmer 85 Performance would occasionally crash over pot holes, the 60 glides over them beautifully with little upset to the body. However, continuous ripples in the road cause it to fidget and never completely settle.
The pay-off is that when you exploit the fast and direct steering and launch the 60 at a bend, there's prodigious grip and barely any body roll, despite the smaller tyres. Eventually the front will wash wide, and if you give the accelerator a prod mid-corner you can tempt the rear to break loose, but it’s never wild.