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Dallas Amped tour, new info

I had a great time test driving the Model S today, it was everything I've read about.

I did find out a couple new things.

The power steering will have 3 options to choose from: comfort, normal and sport. Comfort is very easy to move the steering, and sport is a little heavier/stiffer. I preferred the sport option. The option was a few clicks away on the gorgeous screen.

The second new factoid is that Tesla is planning on offering a data plan to go along with the non-navigation cars. Details are still being ironed out, so I didn't learn too much more than that.

The power steering will have 3 options to choose from: comfort, normal and sport. Comfort is very easy to move the steering, and sport is a little heavier/stiffer. I preferred the sport option. (marek.koenig)

This has been mentioned in many reviews, here in the forums as well as in the media. As far as I can recall, every single reviewer stated he or she preferred "Sport". A German magazine even wrote the options translate to "soft", "very soft" and "way too soft". If everybody agrees on this, I wonder what the options are there for?

So I guess my question is: Has anybody found during a Model S test drive that he or she prefers any other mode except "Sport" for steering?

Without having driven the car myself, I can say with 100% certainty that my wife will prefer the "comfort" setting ;)

jkirkebo, thank you for submitting your wife's unqualified opinion! ;-) Seriously, I'm looking for statements from people who have actually tried the settings for themselves.

I recall one video, or the accompanying commentary, that indicated the man's wife preferred the normal setting. Don't recall which, it was one of the earlier ones in the Amped tour.

@ Volker
Let's not forget that neither we on this forum nor the professional reviewers are 'typical.' I suspect Tesla has done its homework (market research) on this subject. Personaly, having driven the Model S, I would prefer an even tighter steering like my old Healey's rack and pinion. Unfortunately, power steering gets in the way today.

I drove only in Sport mode, and I would not want it to be any softer than it was, so will likely never switch to Normal or Comfort mode. I have no idea what my wife's preference might be since she hasn't driven it yet.

@V.B. --

In the recent Edmund's Inside Line review, Mike McGrath stated: Preferred the midlevel standard mode over Sport, which seemed like it was fighting me more than helping. A very long and heavy car and was surprised it could go through [the slalom] at almost 67 mph. Seems like a very good suspension tuning compromise.

I personally liked the sport setting during my test drive, but I didn't try the other modes, so I'll have to wait for delivery (in about 2 months, given the slow rate of production currently) to determine which I'll use every day.

I drove on all three settings, and prefer the sport setting. Normal was still workable, but comfort was WAY to soft.

@marek.koenig Your statement seems to imply that a data plan is included with the tech package (cars with navigation). Does anyone know if that is true?

i agree with and had the same experience as rifleman after quickly trying all three on my test drive in la.

i was surprised the edmunds guy mentioned preferring normal, but i did note that in his video as well...

I also preferred the sport setting, and tried all 3. However, we were "testing out the limits of the car." We were all looking for that rush. Braking hard, accelerating hard, turning hard. The sport mode is made for this.

Having tried the others, I can definitely see myself using the comfort mode on long roadtrips where I'm on the freeway most of the time, and can pay less attention to the turning aspect of things. More sway in the turning = more comfort on long straight stretches.

My handler described the one of the other 2 modes (not sport) as similar to the Cadillac setting of which I tried all three in my quick test drive and like epley, would do sport day to day and something more comfortable on those long, power conservation focused drives.

With regard to the non tech package data plan I believe this is to provide those owners an alternative to get directions through google maps on the browser. If you don't get 3G plan or tech package then you won't be able to see any sort of maps at All, let alone get turn by turn nav.

My rep told me I didn't need a data plan at all with tech package because the maps are internal anyway. I have not heard that it is included with tech package, just for sig users for one year free or so.

My wife and I both enjoyed sport steering so never thought to change it, but maybe some people will want it for navigating mall parking lots.

Yeah, tight turns at low speed ...

Michael23 (no relation! :-) ) writes that his rep told him he didn't need a data plan at all with the tech package because the maps are on local storage. However, apparently there is no POI database on the local storage (this was discussed over on TMC). The car is apparently relying upon Google when looking for points of interest, and then the resulting address is set as the destination and the local maps take over from there.

So, it seems that you would need a data connection of some kind if you care to look for points of interest.

For what it's worth, I tried a POI search on one of the Menlo Park demo cars, and it was fantastic. Just fantastic. There's a great restaurant nearby called Cook's Seafood. I typed "Cook's" into the search bar, and it auto-completed the rest in a popup of suggestions just like in a browser. Tapped it, and the directions popped up. I also tried my office address. I entered the number and the street name (minus the "Avenue"), and got a list of completions, on which my office was the second entry. *SO* much nicer than my current nav systems.

@Michael37, I thought data was also required for updates and car status updates back to TM? If you don't park daily near a Wifi hotspot for example?

On that note, what if an update occurs while you are at work, will there be notification on the 17" screen that waits for you to press "OK" that new software has been updated on your Model S? Or are all updates uploaded and then it waits for you to execute them before the actually do?

BYT, if I understand that correctly, then there's two kinds of data. There is some kind of "trickle data" that strictly connects with Tesla (as opposed to the open internet) and comes included with all cars. This is used for updates (Tesla2car) and monitoring (car2Tesla). From a technical perspective, it sounds like something similar to Amazon's Whispernet, but that guess is even less founded that everything else I said.

On top of that, it is presumably your choice (and your business, your cost) to add a broad band data connection for maps and internet radio and websurfing etc.

I would love to have any of these assumptions confirmed or denied.
http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/elon-confirms-4g-all-cars

Regarding steering modes, I prefer Standard. I have had plenty of sports cars and spent time at the track as well. I love the connection with the road and tight control of a great steering setup, but this is a luxury sport sedan (mine is a perf model). I like a slightly softer feel and a small amount of give on center (for the highway) when driving this class of car.

Maybe my mood will change over time. Right now I only have about 600 miles on my awesome Model S.

Overall, I am quite satisfied with Standard Mode. Comfort is a little too slushy even for me. I am also pretty happy with Sport Mode even though I don't use it as my default mode. Interestingly, I use the middle mode on my Audi A8 as well.

I was also at the Dallas Amped event. Loved the car, no complaints. I really wished they'd picked a better track for the test drive. Not enough turns/curves and not long enough BUT big thank you to Tesla for making the stop. If I'd drove it an hour I'd still complain.

A couple of tidbits:

First, be very careful with the paint protection option on a white or pearl paint color. The pearl performance S they had was already showing signs of yellowing and it was very obvious to anyone within say 5 feet of the car. It was good to see what panels had the protection but I won't be putting that stuff on my tesla.

Regarding delivery, one of the employees was #6500-ish and said he expected his delivery in late March or April. He bet my #7500-ish would come late April.

Yeah, I'm $4559 and they said I'd likely be sitting right on the cusp of 2012-2013. Fingers crossed, 2012!

That would be #4559, not $4559. :D

With regard to the paint protection package--I've used a local tinting/protection shop for my previous cars (BMW, Lexus, Volvo). They reviewed the Tesla package & told me that the best they could do was possibly match Tesla's price. I will use the local shop for infra-red rejecting window tinting but decided to go with Tesla on the protection package.

KJR,

Is that with the same coverage of the protective material?

David,
Yes I showed them the protection template and a picture of the car. The 3 guys in the shop all looked at it. They said they would likely try to custom cut the film if they did it. They did comment the price was reasonable considering the amount of film that was being used.

@KJR4235: When I bought my last car, the Lexus dealership offered some type of paint protection for around $700. I got the option but always felt like it did no good. It was some type of coating, but not a visible film. What Telsa is offering seems much stronger (based on random comments I've read on these threads). Is the Tesla paint protection package supposed to be much more effective?

When I talked to my customer rep during the configuration phase, he said Tesla is advising against the protection coating for either of the two whites or the silver. It shows.

Interesting. My rep (who'd already taken the order before it was known that a line can show on the whites) has not suggested I remove the coating from my order. If some reps are advising against adding it to a white car, why isn't mine advising me to remove it?

Mine didn't either, but when I asked him he said yes it's obvious. So I removed the clear bra and reordered. Luckily it doesn't affect my date.

@EdG Was this your final configuration for 'build your Model S'? That's when I ran into it.

@swmedland -- the place I go to does the 3M protection for the local dealerships (including a number of exotics). I doubt the film is different. The price is based on the amount of coverage and film used. I previously used the local guys for the quality & price. They essentially told me "we would love to do the window tinting" after reviewing Tesla's coverage & price. I trust the guys that are the experts on this one.


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