2012 Tesla Model S Drive review Autoweek

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2012 Tesla Model S: review

The interior is solid, and nicely crafted. Photo by G. Johnson.

Design chief von Holzhausen calls the 17 screen the of the interior. Photo by Davey G.

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What is it?

To the mass media, the Model S is undoubtedly one of the most models, if not the most anticipated to hit the road this year. Elon Musk’s EV concern a mock-up Model S prototype in 2009, the Model S has been everything from the salvation of the industry to abject vaporware.

The still out on the former, but we’re to report that the latter is no a concern. On June 22, Tesla the regular delivery of cars and Tesla investor Steve had already received their Currently produced at the company’s Calif. plant at the rate of one per with a ramp-up schedule has the electric seven-passenger sedan off the line at 80 per day by year’s end, the S is a real car with excellent and fine handling.

The car’s salient merits aren’t we really had a chance to evaluate our 20 minutes in the new sedan. The first 10 of a ride with a Tesla representative in a Signature Series model. For our own drive, we chose a Signature Series car.

All Signature Series models Tesla’s largest battery an 85-kilowatt-hour unit EPA-rated to a 265-mile range under new five-cycle EV-testing regimen.

this year, less models will arrive 60-kilowatt-hour and 40-kilowatt-hour packs, for the EPA has yet to release range figures.

is it like to drive?

While likes to tout the Model S as an to the BMW 5-series. it’s really an to two of our favorite 5er alternatives the Audi A7 and the XF. The hatch and the ride bring the to mind. The Wait, this is really that rapid? recalls the supercharged versions of the

The large, rectangular battery acts as a stressed member of the tying the thick, extruded-aluminum rails together. The compact is mounted between the rails at the axle, occupying little space than a traditional pumpkin and half-shafts would. The of all that mass so low in the vehicle is a of gravity similar to that of the GT.

But while the GT is all wild hair and a brash, brutish, American the Model S, despite its Californian and construction, is undoubtedly the most sedan built by a non-European Yes, the exterior by former designer Franz von Holzhausen is akin to a leaping cat with buzzed into its fur, but the S feels otherwise wholly The steering column and window sourced from Mercedes do to dispel the feeling.

During our short loop, took us through Tesla’s down a few Fremont surface and back up I-880, we had enough of a for an initial impression, albeit a one. Nevertheless, Tesla’s encouraged us to open the taps, to unsettle the car with sudden stomp the brakes, fling the car an on-ramp and get a feel for the way the company regenerative braking.

Tesla a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.4 seconds for the S Performance. The way the car delivers its 443 lb-ft of made it feel like less. We don’t recall the same gut punch from the Panamera Turbo S, a car that the same feat roughly a quicker.

At-speed acceleration, which the Porsche does significantly more impressive, is more than adequate in the We accidentally hit severely extralegal while shooting for a velocity mildly disagreeable to Jehosaphat Q. The car tops out at 125 mph, while the sees a 5-mph bump to

In a banked corner, the car simply as a result of all that mass so to the ground. The Model S doesn’t quite as buttoned-down under sawing as the normal comportment of the car suggest. We imagine that the model is better in this though the basic car is still within the acceptable range.

We tell you how the brakes stand up to abuse, but feel and modulation are good; they hauled the five-door down nicely our one hard stop.

Part of the that the brakes feel so is the Tesla’s approach to regenerative Unlike many manufacturers, isn’t controlled by the brake at all—it’s handled solely by the Let off the pedal slightly, and the car begins juice back into the Remove your right entirely and the sedan generates at its maximum rate.

A gyro the rate of deceleration and flicks on the LED lights accordingly.

Over pavement, the Model S doesn’t unsettled, though it does its fair share of surface to the occupants. Otherwise, the ride is certainly within the expectations of the demographic.

If the Tesla’s latest has any glaring they’re in the interior. While the design is nice, for a car that the claims is family-oriented and everyday it’s missing a number of that buyers take for

Since there’s no transmission or the interior’s default configuration a small armrest console the front seats, with a rubber tray running to the dash. The company suggests a briefcase would sit nicely We stuffed it with a heavily messenger bag, and while it in place, the lack of motion more the result of the fact we’d wedged the item the seats, the console and the dash.

cornering, smaller bags or could become unwelcome

There are no cupholders for the rear-seat (although there are for the unfortunate stuffed into the rear-facing seats). Neither the doors nor the seatbacks have map pockets. We Tesla assumes that the 17-inch multifunction display the need for maps.

Still, the of interior storage in a modern feels like a bush-league


The company does say that a of center-console modules are under We doubt that the early who’ve plunked down for the first thousand cars miss the amenities all that They’ll even likely be to have the opportunity to personalize cars further.

The mass market will not be so

As for the Brobdingnagian touch screen, von Holzhausen characterizes as the hero of the It’s a cute party and a nod to the company’s Silicon Valley but we’re still partial to old buttons.

One final knock on the is the forward chairs’ severe of lateral support. We found sliding around both as and passenger. Inexplicably, there’s no seat option.

A car that like this practically one.

On the upside, it’s an nice place to spend featuring negligible NVH levels, a of interesting and well-executed wood quality leather and a genuine of craftsmanship.

Do I want one?

no question that the Model S is a automobile. It’s attractive, well-built and luxurious, offers that no other EV does, the way a serious sports sedan and generally comes off as a wholly proposition. Despite some of the touches, it’s a genuine designed and constructed by people who care about creating a car not just paying the concept lip

It is, however, still a machine for adopters. As Tesla’s first ground-up vehicle, there be teething problems, and we can’t be how the company is equipped to handle

Caveats aside, the Model S is the fully-realized electric vehicle has yet delivered. It’s a genuinely effort; one that compares with the vehicles to which touts it as an alternative. Already from heaven to the faithful, it to be seen how many fence-sitters new sedan can convert.

2012 Model S

Base Price:

As-Tested Price: $94,490

85-kWh battery pack; 324-lb-ft three-phase, four-pole AC motor; one-speed automatic

Weight: 4,647.3 lb

Fuel (EPA): 89 mpg-e

Range 265 mi

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