Tesla Model S P85D offers insane performance with plush comfort and breathtaking technology
What we like:
- It’s fast. Really fast.
- Power is formidable but completely manageable
- Technological advancement
- Design and comfort
Not so much:
- Insane Mode a hoot but shortens battery life
- Some visibility issues
- Expensive options
- Touchscreen can lag
Tesla continues to be taking the world be storm with its continuously – and relatively quickly – evolving range of electrical automotive products. This time, in a move that could syphon traditional Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, Audi RS and Porsche customers, they have added a dual motor all-wheel drive version of the Model S luxury sedan, the Tesla Model S P85D, which usurps Tesla’s flagship title previous held by the Tesla Model S P85+.
The car’s vital figures have more than captured the attention of motoring enthusiasts an automotive executives alike: 515kW shared between two electric motors, four-wheel drive and a 0-100 sprint time of a mind bending 3.3 seconds.
In short, the quickest and most powerful four door production car in history.
We sampled the Tesla Model S P85D to establish whether this is an electric fad, or the future of supercar motoring.
Price and Equipment
The Tesla Model S P85D is priced from $181,487, excluding on road costs and other government charges. There are also a host of expensive-and many should be standard-options that allow the would-be owner to tailor their new Tesla to their specific taste and needs.
Venture on a box ticking frenzy, and a new Tesla Model S P85D could set one back more than $220,000.
Our test car was extensively optioned and a price breakdown is provided at the end of this review.
The Tesla Model S interior has always been minimalistic but beautifully crafted, luxurious and functional. The 17 inch touchscreen forms the centrepiece of the interior and controls virtually all the of the car’s functions from opening the front luggage compartment through to entering an address on the Google Maps based satellite navigation system.
The system is simple to use after some familiarisation, and the navigation system isn’t dissimilar to applications found on smartphones. An added feature is that it now has a list of Tesla Supercharging points, which is a handy function should one wish to take their P85D on a long journey.
Unfortunately, in our test car at least, we found that the touchscreen could be slow to react to input when toggling between functions, particularly when the satellite navigation was involved.
Granted, all graphics are beautiful and crisp and the optional high fidelity sound system is still probably one of the best factory fitted in-car audio systems available on the market. Moreover, a few shortcuts that can be controlled from the steering wheel and there is voice control, which only seems to operate the mobile phone.
There’s also internet connectivity-there’s an inbuilt SIM card- and a variety of applications at the passengers’ disposal.
The leather seats offer heating for all five passengers and manage to be soft yet supportive. Space for all passengers is equally luxurious and the optional carbon fibre inserts and black Alcantara trim tastefully complement the P85D’s performance focussed character. At night, occupants are bathed in a soft white LED light.
Sadly, oddment storage is still insufficient, with a centre console is all but absent, a modestly sized glovebox and only a small shelf to hold small essentials.
As there isn’t a traditional combustion engine to be found, the Model S effectively has two boots, one at the front and one at the rear, with the rear fitted with electric opening and closing. Maximum boot space is 1975 litres.
Engine and Transmission
The Tesla Model S P85D’s drivetrain comprises of two electric motors with the front motor generating 193kW and the rear motor producing 375kW. Total torque is a stump pulling 967Nm.
The drivetrain is powered by a standard 85 kWh battery and range on a full charge is 491 kilometres. Customers also have the option of upgrading the Ludicrous Pack, which improves performance further.
Two drive modes are at the driver’s disposal: Sport and Insane mode. In Insane Mode, performance is well, insane. When selected, Tesla claims that the P85D can complete the 0-100 sprint in 3.3 seconds.
While we were unable to test these claims, we certainly believe such a time in achievable. Sheer power and sprint times aside, perhaps the best thing about the P8D’s performance is that it is exhilarating rather than terrifying.
Power delivery is virtually endless but it is a smooth as silk and the car feels as if it wants to appease the driver, ensuring that they receive maximum driving enjoyment.
The only criticisms we have are that Insane Mode reduces a battery charge, Sport is best for longevity and Tesla says this mode is akin to the performance in the P85+, albeit with power directed to four wheels. Additionally, manual gear shifters would go some way to improving driver engagement.
Drive sensibly and in Sport Mode and in excess of 400 kilometres from a charge should be attainable.
In conclusion, the P85D is as easy to drive around town as it is to blast around a country road en route to one’s favourite holiday spot and best of all, you can charge it when you get there as Tesla Australia now offers a portable charger.
On The Road
Optional air suspension sees that the Tesla Model S P85D corners flat while delivering ride quality that is more or less perfect and is a good suitor for the drivetrain. When negotiating seriously tight and twisty road though, the P85D’s size and weight can be felt, reminding the driver that this is a high performance grand tourer, rather than an out and out sports car.
Equally polished brakes efficiently wipe off speed with excellent pedal feel.
Visibility still remains a bugbear of the Tesla Model S, with those fixed rear headrests hampering visibility at the rear and thick C pillars hindering visibility from side to side. Still, there is that large high definition camera to assist.
All Tesla Model S variants have been awarded a five star ANCAP safety rating. Six airbags: dual front, side and curtain airbags are standard along with collision avoidance technology, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control are all fitted as standard.
Servicing and Warranty:
All Tesla models are covered by an eight year, unlimited kilometre battery and drive warranty and free access to the supercharging network.
Make and model: Tesla Model S P85D Engine type: Dual electric
Power: Front motor: 193kW, rear motor: 375kW, all-wheel drive
Transmission: Single reduction gear with all-wheel wheel drive.
Fuel consumption: 0 litres per 100 kilometres
Dimensions: 4970mm long, 1964mm wide, 1435mm high and 2960mm wheelbase
Country of Origin: United States
Price: $181,487-exclusive of on road costs and options
|Dual Chargers $2,340||Paint – Multi-Coat $2,730|
|Smart Air Suspension $4,680||All Glass Panoramic Roof $2,730|
|Subzero Weather Package $1,885||21″ Grey Turbine Alloy Wheels|
|Leather Seats $3,250||Red paint $2,730|
|Premium Interior Package $5,590|
|Carbon Fibre – Inserts $1,885|
|Carbon Fibre Spoiler $1,560|
|Headlining – Black Alcantara $5,330|