That interior looks a bit smarter and more contemporary, with a new instrument binnacle surround, new fascia trims, and neater stitching on the leathers covering the seats and panels. The cabin’s a comfy and agreeable place to be, and its crowning glory remains that huge central touchscreen through which you control pretty well everything besides going, stopping, steering and indicating. The Google Maps sat-nav system on it remains frustratingly slow to refresh – because it’s downloading mapping all the time via a 3G data modem.
Tesla’s added a voice control solution called Rdio, which is supposed to allow you to control the nav and audio systems with simple spoken commands. We couldn’t make it work at all.
Read more about Tesla's planned UK R&D centre
Meantime, there remain one or two slightly frustrating shortcomings on the inside of this car that you don’t expect to put up with. Oddment storage is thin on the ground (still no door-pockets, Tesla – really?). And fit and finish is pretty slapdash, too; the top of the dashboard flexes like it’s slowly becoming unstuck. However, the right-hand-drive execution of the car is good; the pedals and wheel are where they should be, and the central touchscreen has been reconfigured for RHD convenience.
One of the software updates for the Model S, Tesla says, was to ‘refine’ throttle response. Never felt like it needed much refining to us. But if it was immediate before, it’s now unbelievably sharp. Whether you’re at a standstill or coasting along at urban speeds, the Model S surges forward with absolutely instant muscular potency – often before you’ve even realised yourself that your right foot is already moving. And still, there’s almost no noise accompanying that incredible, burly response – which makes it all the more brain-scrambling.
The ‘Performance Plus’ version of the car tries to match that other-worldly powertrain to a properly sporting chassis, but it only succeeds in part. The air suspension is a touch hyperactive over a choppy surface, and feels skittish at times and short on wheel control. The electromechanical power steering, meanwhile, remains inconsistent; overly heavy at the extremities of lock, short on centre feel, and generally big on friction and short on feedback. Both work okay, but neither’s what the car deserves.