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2015 Tesla Model S

Overview
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2015 Tesla Model S Review

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Designed from the start as an EV, the 2015 Tesla Model S is a roomy 5-passenger electric sedan boasting excellent cargo room with advantages in range and performance that its rivals can't touch. Tesla itself is run more like a tech company than an automaker, making for a unique ownership experience that could hint at the future of the auto industry. For now though, the Tesla Model S stands alone, with its long cruising range and network of "Supercharger" charging stations taking some of the guesswork out of recharging. This year, the all-wheel-drive, high-performance P85D Model S debuts. It can blow the doors off virtually any sedan you'd care to mention...and a lot of supercars as well.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2015 Tesla Model S puts the "mean" in green. The standard car can accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, and the P85D can do it in an astonishing 3.1 seconds. All the while, this electric car coddles its occupants, and produces zero tailpipe emissions.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the Model S has a long range, and Tesla's Supercharger stations around the country make recharging relatively quick, recharging the Model S battery still takes longer than filling up at a gas station. If your long-distance plans are more spontaneous, a Porsche Panamera hybrid may be a better choice.

What's New for 2015

Tesla updates its cars more like Apple updates its iPhones, issuing software updates frequently, and the occasional gotta-have-it hardware changes whenever it darn well feels like it. This year, along with the software, is the new all-wheel-drive P85D that literally offers "Insane" acceleration, while the 70D becomes the new base model.

Driving the Model S
Driving Impressions

The 2015 Tesla Model S P85D model offers two acceleration settings: Sport and Insane. Seriously, it has an "Insane" mode, and a 5,000-pound electric car accelerating from a standstill to...

... 60 mph in just over three seconds is completely bonkers. That's not just quicker than virtually any other production sedan, it's quicker than a lot of supercars. This superbike-like performance is possible thanks to an additional electric motor that powers the front wheels. Combined with the standard rear motor, there is 691 horsepower available in what was already the best EV on the road today. The Tesla Model S was designed from the start as an EV, and its advantages in space, comfort, style, on-road silence, and battery range all stem from that design, whether you're in the new 70D entry model or the range-topping P85D. The low-mounted battery makes the Model S highly maneuverable, and the quick steering and excellent power delivery make it downright fun to drive.

17-INCH INFOTAINMENT SCREEN
The 17-inch touch screen in the center of the Model S dash makes every other car interior look as antiquated as a rotary phone. This easily configurable screen operates like a tablet computer, reacting to finger taps, pinch and drag movements, and cursor control.

REAR-FACING JUMP SEATS
If room for five passengers still isn't enough, you can equip your Model S with a pair of rear-facing jump seats in the cargo area, just like your mom's old Chevy Caprice wagon. Like that old Caprice, they're strictly for kids, but mom's old wagon never could boast 5-point seatbelts.

2015 Tesla Model S Details
2015 Tesla Model S photo Interior

You'd be surprised how much passenger and cargo space you can get in a car when you don't have an engine or fuel tank. The Tesla Model S is actually a hatchback, meaning there's a ton of cargo space behind the rear seats. In addition, there's a supplemental front trunk, or "frunk" as Tesla calls it (is it a "froot" in England?). Passengers are comfortable in all seating positions, and the driver and front passenger get new chairs for 2015. Also new are interior upgrades that fit in with the Tesla's luxury-oriented image.

Exterior
2015 Tesla Model S photo

Tesla says it's a sedan, but the wide hatch in the rear says otherwise. Whatever you call it, the Tesla Model S boasts clean, uncluttered lines that lead to an impressive 0.24 coefficient of drag, meaning it slices through the air. Highlights include retractable door handles that emerge when the key is nearby, and a recharging port that's hidden in the taillights. While 21-inch wheels are available, the 19-inch wheels result in a more comfortable ride. About the only criticism is that the Model S looks oddly wide from the front and rear, all to accommodate the large under-floor battery pack.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2015 Tesla Model S gets 12-way-adjustable heated front seats, navigation and a high-definition backup camera as standard equipment. Other standard highlights include cloth/synthetic-leather upholstery, eight airbags, a 7-speaker/200-watt audio system that lacks a CD player but includes two USB inputs, and a 17-inch touch-screen handling climate, entertainment and vehicle controls. It also has the most advanced starter system imaginable: There's no "Start" button – you simply climb in, shift into gear, and start driving.

Optional Equipment

In addition to battery size and rear-drive or all-wheel drive, the Tesla Model S electric vehicle comes with a variety of available options. A panoramic glass roof (operated by a swipe of the 17-inch touch screen), Nappa leather, high-end audio, and a Tech Package with Autopilot that bundles features like active cruise control, keyless entry, lighted door handles, and a power rear liftgate, are all available. An active air suspension and Subzero package are also available, the latter adding a heated steering wheel, heated rear seat, heated washer nozzles and a windshield-wiper de-icer.

Under the Hood

With the new 70D, even the least-expensive Tesla Model S has an estimated range of 240 miles thanks to a 70kWh battery rated at 329 horsepower. This new model also comes standard with all-wheel drive. The Model S 85 offers a more powerful 362-horsepower motor, adding an 85 kWh battery pack that extends the range to 265 miles. The Model S 85 is now the only rear-wheel-drive Tesla, as the others have moved to all-wheel drive and a dual-motor system. The Model S 85D boasts 422 horsepower and a range of 270 miles. Finally, there's the flagship P85D with its rear-mounted 470-horsepower motor paired with a 221-horsepower motor in the front, for a total of 691 horsepower, all while maintaining an estimated range of 253 miles.

Model S 70D
AC electric motor with 70 kWh battery pack
329 horsepower
NA: lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway economy: 101/102 MPGe
Range with full charge (estimated): 240 miles

Model S 85
AC electric motor with 85kWh battery pack
362 horsepower
325 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway economy: 88/90 MPGe
Range with full charge (estimated): 265 miles

Model S 85D
Dual AC electric motors with 85kWh battery pack
422 combined horsepower
398 lb-ft combined torque (199 lb-ft front and rear)
EPA city/highway economy: 95/106 MPGe
Range with full charge (estimated): 270 miles

Model S P85D
Dual AC electric motors with 85kWh battery pack
691 combined horsepower (221 hp front, 470 hp rear)
687 lb-ft combined torque (244 lb-ft front, 443 lb-ft rear)
EPA city/highway economy: 89/98 MPGe
Range with full charge (estimated): 253 miles

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