Tesla Model S Review
85 kWh Performance Series Model S Signature Edition

Tesla Model S Review

We took delivery of our Model S in late October 2012 and while plenty has been written about performance and maximum range, limited information is available on charging, effective range, features, driver experience, and owner's perspective. The purpose of this site is to share an objective/unbiased perspective on those aspects. If you are interested in something specific not mentioned on the site, send an email to teslamodelsreview at gmail and we'll add it ... or use the contact form.

The Tesla Model S Signature Performance is my daily driver and as we live in the Chicago area, we took delivery in October 2012 with the winter tire package from Tesla (Pirelli winter tires inflated to 45 PSI). The summer tires are Continental Extreme Contact on grey 21" wheels. Most days it is driven between 60 and 70 miles with 41 of those on the highway. Speed of traffic on the highways around here can run 70-80 mph and we avoid rush hour traffic. Winter performance of the vehicle far exceeded my expectations. The modulation of traction control via the electronics versus throttle control on my legacy V8 make the Tesla move forward as if it had awd - which it doesn't. I've tried to get the car sideways as well and the stability control is equally as impressive. 

The car lacks creature comforts found in similar luxury sedans and our guess is that they will find their way into future versions of the car. Things like parking sensors (added in the fall of 2013), adaptive cruise control, review view camera that depicts where the car will actually travel in the review view screen (it has a camera today, but the wide angle lens makes it difficult to determine where you will 'track' on the screen). Several desired features can/will come in the form of a software upgrade. For example, the nav system doesn't have a home button, north is always up (travel direction up is an option now with software version 5.0 fall 2013), etc. At the same time, if the hardware is not on the car, upgrading the software to deliver a feature will not be possible - as in parking sensors ... they may be able to determine the 'track' of the car when backing up and add an overlay to the rear view monitor when in reverse though.

While attempting to provide a balanced, unbiased perspective, we have to say that we really like the car (16,000 miles now) and have not had any problems so far. Getting behind the wheel of our SUV or the car this is supposed to replace (yes, we did not have the guts to sell that one yet), the experience of driving a regular car is starting to seem very wrong. As in, why does it make so much noise, the vibration of the vehicle itself although small seems odd, the shifting of the transmission makes you wonder why it has to shift, and the acceleration is not linear and when you 'step on it' there seems to be a lot of 'drama', downshift, engine noise, upshift, torque lag, etc.

We were concerned that plugging in the car every night was going to become an extra step that was a necessary evil. After a couple of hours of thinking very carefully of the placement of some hanging hooks and a broom holder positioned sideways on a pole hanging from the ceiling, the charging cable is suspended in the air above heads and is easy to grab and plug in or after charging, unplug and hang-up. Click here to see a YouTube video demonstrating it in action. It has become second nature similar to removing your backpack/briefcase from the backseat of the car; e.g., step out of the car, reach up, grab the cable, walk to the back of the car, push the button on the charging cable to open the port, push it into the charging port, open the rear door, grab your satchel and walk away ... no wasted steps or time and a full tank of miles in the morning.