TESLA

TESLA MODEL S HATCHBACK Long Range AWD 5dr Auto

Fuel

FuelElectric

Transmission

TransmissionAutomatic

Acceleration

0 - 62 mph3.1s

WLTP - Pure Electric Range

Electric Range412 miles

Tesla's Model S is the brand's original EV, an electric car with up to 405 miles of range, a model that can seat up to seven, has acceleration to demolish an Aston Martin and features zero tailpipe emissions. The car has now been updated with an all-new interior and there's now a choice of either 'Long Range' or 'Plaid' variants with 100kWh battery outputs. Either way, you get standard 'Dual Motor All Wheel Drive'. Here's what the future looks like - and it's cause for celebration.

SMART CHARGER

Unconvinced by electric vehicles? Wait until you try Tesla's Model S. Jonathan Crouch reports on the improved version.

Ten Second Review

Tesla's Model S is the brand's original EV, an electric car with up to 405 miles of range, a model that can seat up to seven, has acceleration to demolish an Aston Martin and features zero tailpipe emissions. The car has now been updated with an all-new interior and there's now a choice of either 'Long Range' or 'Plaid' variants with 100kWh battery outputs. Either way, you get standard 'Dual Motor All Wheel Drive'. Here's what the future looks like - and it's cause for celebration.

Background

What do electric cars say to you? For the most part, they're rather inoffensive city scoots. Get one out on the open road and they're often only about half an hour from leaving you stranded on the hard shoulder with no juice. That's the way electric cars have been developed by big car companies. Tesla isn't a big car company. It has never been rooted in the culture of the internal combustion engine, so perhaps it's understandable that when it sets out to build an electric vehicle, things are a bit different. Co-founded by Paypal creator, Elon Musk, Tesla has been committed from the word go to changing how we think about electric vehicles. The Model S may look like a relatively conventional luxury car but it's anything but. It's a car that has the power to fundamentally alter the status quo in this sector. Electric power isn't just for small cars. It works really well with big ones too.

Driving Experience

What are the driving characteristics you'd look for in a big luxury car? We'd be looking for hushed refinement, a smooth step-off the line, instant acceleration as soon as you prod the throttle and the handling ability of a smaller car. The Tesla Model S delivers all of these things and more. The 2.2-tonne kerb weight hints at a rather portly demeanour but the Model S handles a good deal more sharply than you might imagine. The steering can be switched between three settings - Comfort, Normal and Sport - changing the weight of feel but not markedly adjusting the level of feedback. Ride quality is better than you'd expect from a vehicle running on 21-inch wheels. Air suspension is optional and worth having. As you'd expect from an EV, there's no gearbox as such, so power transfer is even smoother than the best automatic transmissions. That power comes courtesy of batteries developed by Panasonic which sit under the floor of the car, keeping the centre of gravity low, while the electric motor sits atop the rear axle. Tesla now only offers 100 kWh variants of this car. There are two variants on offer, the 'Long Range' model, which can offer a 405 miles WLTP rated driving range; and the top 'Plaid' version, where the driving range figure is WLTP-rated at 390 miles. Even with the base 'Long Range' version, sixty is just 3.1s away from rest, so you'll be looking at very rapid progress. Both derivatives get standard Dual Motor All Wheel Drive, which gives you get two electric motors, one sitting on the front axle, the other driving from the rear. With the power spread around the drivetrain, you've of course got the perfect recipe for AWD traction. The same AWD set-up is used by the insane flagship 'Plaid' variant. 'Insane' is a word we feel we have to use because it designates the most frantic of this top Tesla's three driving modes - the others being 'Normal' and 'Sport'. Go 'Insane' and 60mph is just 1.99s away from rest on the way to 200mph, courtesy of a 1,020hp combined power output. As advertised, there's nothing else with four or five seats that can get remotely close to this kind of pace.

Design and Build

Not too many changes have been made to the outside of this revised Model S - revised bumpers and updated wheels are the main changes. Originally, Tesla deliberately set out to style this car in a relatively conservative fashion so as not to alienate its core buyers. There's even a dummy air intake at the front. The car it most closely resembles in external dimension is a Porsche Panamera, but when you check the tape measure, you realise quite what a massive car this is. At 4978mm long, 1964mm wide and 1435mm high, it's 8mm longer, 33mm wider and 17mm taller than a Panamera, which is already a pretty sizeable hunk of automotive real estate. The width makes it feel a handful on narrow city streets but there's plenty of space inside. Where, if you've ownerd this car previously, you'll find a completely updated cabin. There's the weirdest steering wheel we've ever seen, cut in half like the tiller from a space ship. The 17-inch cinematic display central screen is completely different too, as before controlling everything from the air-conditioning to the air suspension. And you can specify a further central screen for the rear. As before, the car is a comfortable five-seater and can even be configured into a seven seat mode thanks to a pair of the cleverest rear-facing occasional seats we've ever seen. They flip out of the boot floor and while they may only be good for small kids, it's a trick that few will see coming. With no internal combustion engine to package, the Model S has storage front and rear totalling a massive 895-litres. Fold the rear seats flat and you get 1,642-litres of luggage capacity. Parts quality inside is extremely good although the eagle-eyed amongst you might well spot some Mercedes-Benz switchgear. Still, that's no bad thing.

Market and Model

So, how much will you pay for this taste of your motoring future? A little more than used to be the case for a Model S because Tesla no longer offers this car with its feeblest 75 kWh battery. The larger 100 kWh battery features with the volume 'Long Range' version, which costs around £84,000 and includes the clever Dual Motor All Wheel Drive system that now comes as standard. Top of the range, priced from around £119,000, is the 'Model S Plaid' derivative, one of the fastest and most unique cars in the world. You certainly get Performance, the 100 kWh battery here mated with an electric motor offering almost twice as much grunt - 1,020hp! - and enough pulling power to ensure that the Dual Motor All Wheel Drive system will have its work cut out in transmitting the torque to the tarmac.

Cost of Ownership

Owning a Model S is different from conventionally powered vehicles. There's no petrol bill and service is minimal. The annual service fee covers an annual inspection, replacement parts like brake pads and windscreen wipers, 24 hour roadside assistance, system monitoring, remote diagnostics, software updates and new features sent through the touchscreen. It's possible to charge the battery half way in about 30 minutes using Tesla's 'supercharger' but as with most elements of this car, it requires a change in your way of thinking. The car responds best to nightly recharges, but will happily sit for a couple of weeks at an airport while you holiday without losing significant charge and the battery pack has no 'memory effect'. Over longer stationary periods, the batteries will slowly lose their charge. If left at a 0% state of charge for period of time, you may need a battery replacement. The batteries are guaranteed for 8 years with a full replacement billed at $12,000 USD. Tesla reckons that the 100kWh 'Long range' model can go 405 miles on the WLTP test (it's 390 miles for the top 'Plaid' version), but a realworld range is more in the region of 350 miles. Charging takes about 8 hours from a 7kW wallbox, but you can replenish the battery up to around half its capacity in about 30 minutes if you use a Tesla Supercharger station.

Summary

The Tesla Model S remains a remarkable vehicle. It changes the way you'll view the whole concept of a motor car. As long as you're willing to alter your long-held preconceptions of what an automobile demands and, in turn, delivers, the Model S demonstrates that the genuinely practical electric vehicle has been achieved. Caveats are few. Yes, battery charging does require a little more thought than just topping up a tank and if a car is shared between a married couple for instance, you'll both need to be on the ball with it. Other than that, it's a tour de force. The revised interior of this improved model is adventurous, the packaging ingenious, the styling sleek and mature in its execution. It's searingly rapid, wonderfully refined and rides and handles well. If this is the future of cars, bring it on. The internal combustion engine has had a good innings and certainly has charisma, but the Tesla Model S opens a window to a better way.

  • Heated washer nozzles
  • Electric windows with one touch open
  • Rear window defroster
  • Solar reflect windshield
  • Rain sensitive windscreen wipers
  • Wiper blade defrosters

  • Active safety technologies including collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking
  • Four wheel antilock disc brakes with electronic parking brake
  • Electronic Brakeforce Distribution + Brake Assist
  • Electronic stability control
  • Anti lock brake system + traction control

  • Floor mats

  • Smart air suspension

  • Mobile App interface
  • Bluetooth hands free phone with voice control system

  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Lane departure warning system
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • High definition reversing camera
  • Cruise control
  • Speed sensitive power steering
  • Custom driver profiles

  • Power tailgate
  • Homelink (programmable garage door opener)

  • Service indicator
  • Roll over sensor
  • Acoustic seat-belt warning
  • Real time traffic information
  • Touch screen centre multi info display
  • Satellite navigation system

  • Electrochromatic rear view mirror
  • Auto dimming mirrors
  • Electric/heated/folding door mirrors with memory

  • DAB Digital radio
  • Mobile App remote control
  • Wi-Fi Hotspot - 4G Enabled

  • Body colour bumpers

  • Side marker bumper illumination
  • Exterior door handle lights
  • Auto high beam
  • LED fog lights
  • LED tail lights
  • Daytime running lights
  • Automatic, adaptive, auto level LED headlights
  • Three position dynamic LED turning lights

  • HEPA air filtration system
  • Pollen filter
  • Automatic dual-zone climate control system

  • Front centre armrest with 2 cupholders
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Parcel shelf
  • Glove compartment
  • Removable centre console
  • Supercharger access
  • Power adjustable steering wheel
  • Tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection
  • Front trunk + rear trunk and 60/40 folding rear seats upto 894 storage

  • LED ambient lighting
  • LED map reading lights
  • Door lights

  • Rear door child safety locks
  • Head airbags
  • Front seatbelt pretensioner
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Driver/Front Passenger airbags
  • Side curtain airbags
  • 3x3 point rear seatbelts
  • Knee airbags

  • 2 second row isofix attachments
  • 2 fixed rear headrests
  • 5 seat Interior (2nd row bench)
  • Front head restraints
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated rear seats

  • Immobiliser
  • Anti theft alarm
  • Keyless entry

  • Driver/passenger sunvisors and vanity mirrors

  • Coupler/Connector Type: Type 2
  • Battery Leased: False
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Comb: 663
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Comb: 412

  • CO2 (g/km): 0
  • Standard Euro Emissions: N
  • Noise Level dB(A): N
  • CO: N
  • HC: N
  • NOx: N
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N

  • Cylinders: N
  • Cylinder Layout: N
  • Number of Valves: N
  • Camshaft: N
  • Fuel Delivery: N
  • Catalytic Convertor: N
  • Compression Ratio: N
  • Transmission: AUTO
  • Gears: 1 SPEED
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): N
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): N
  • CC: 1
  • Engine Code: N

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: N
  • EC Urban (mpg): N
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): N
  • EC Combined (mpg): N

  • Coin Series: Long Range
  • Coin Description: N
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 4
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 50000
  • Service Interval Mileage: 12000
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage: N
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: N
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: N
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: N
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: N
  • Badge Power: 670
  • Badge Engine CC: 0.0
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 50U
  • Generation Mark: 1
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Did at least one aspect of this vehicle's safety give cause for concern?: False

  • Engine Power - KW: 500
  • Engine Power - BHP: 670
  • Engine Power - PS: False
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): True
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 3.1
  • Top Speed: 155

  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP

  • Tyre Size Spare: N
  • Wheel Type: 19" ALLOY
  • Wheel Style: TEMPEST
  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False

  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2069
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): N
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: N
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: N
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 793
  • No. of Seats: 5

  • Full self-driving capability: £6,800
  • Enhanced autopilot: £3,400
  • Base autopilot: Included

  • Additional multi coat paint: £2,500
  • Multi coat paint: Included
  • Metallic paint: £1,450
  • Solid paint: £1,450

  • Premium artificial leather with ebony décor: Included
  • Premium artificial leather with walnut decor: £2,000

  • Metallic - Midnight silver: £1,450
  • Metallic - Deep blue: £1,450

  • Solid - Black: £1,450

  • Multi coat - Pearl white: £0
  • Additional multi coat - Red: £2,500

  • Premium artificial leather interior - Black with ebony decor: £0
  • Premium artificial leather interior - Black and white with walnut decor: £2,000
  • Premium artificial leather interior - Cream with walnut decor: £2,000

  • 21" Arachnid alloy wheels: £4,400
  • 19" Tempest alloy wheels: Included

Whilst every effort is made to verify and ensure the accuracy of the data, the information should only be used as a guide and no purchasing decision should be made without verification of the data from either the manufacturer or franchised dealer. Our offers may be on a different model year to that represented by this data and so specification may differ accordingly.

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