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Finally drove a Model S today

A Performance model at the Tesla store in Santana Row in San Jose, California. Presumably this now allows me to express an opinion abou the car without being a "fool", as another forum member said I was for having an opinion without driving the car.

First: yes, everything you've heard abut the performance is true. Flooring the pedal in a Mod S performance model is like being shot from an electromagnetic rail gun-- a weirdly surrealistic experience in which you are suddenly gaining speed in huge, lunging gulps, with only a faint whine from the motor to indicate what's going on. It was actually a little frightening: the lack of engine noise that I expect, however subconsciously, to accompany this level of acceleration made it feel as though some external force outside of my control were moving the car.

Passing other cars at highway speeds is an experience that is explosive in its intensity.

The interior is Spartan minimalist. With no obvious gear lever (a turn-signal like stalk on the right of the steering column suffices), and the only physical button being the glove box release, the massive 17" touch screen dominates. The car looks unfinished; as though it were a prop in a science fiction movie for a scene that would only be onscreen for a few seconds, so it wasn't worth adding too much detail. Despite that, the touch screen controller is very easy to use and its large size means the buttons and controls are big enough to use easily, even given the lack of tactile feedback.

The air conditioning easily handled the 81 degree San Jose weather. I didn't play with the sound system.

Although you can feel the weight hustling this large and heavy car around corners, the very low center of gravity mitigates any body roll, and the 20" wheel/tire package on the model I drove stuck the car to the road very well.

My 2013 Audi A6 Prestige certainly has more features. Many more, actually, some of which I really like. Adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, overhead camera view when parking, very fine-grained climate control for each passenger, ventilated seats, et cetera so on and such forth.

But the lack of these features doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would. Aside from its electric propulsion, the Mod S feels like a car from the future: it knows when you approach, and when you're in the car. It wafts down the road in near-silence, apparently propelled by pious thoughts and unicorn farts. High resolution displays show you the information you need to know without bothering you with extranea. Really, the user interface on this thing is brilliant.

So, will I get one? Well, maybe. I think AGW is at best unproven, and at worst a fraud, and I care not two figs for the amount of carbon Al Gore thinks I should not be putting into the air. So I have no "green motivation". That said, as a computer guy for the past 30+ years, I find the car fascinating on a technical level, and the driving experience alone is very compelling.

Then again, I will probably like the Audi R8 a lot, too. So we'll see. But at this particular point I must say I'm leaning strongly towards the Mod S.

You seemed pretty serious until your idiotic AGW comment.

@jbunn

+1

The fact that you have to call out Al Gore?!?

Were you in a coma since 1998 to still be mad at an ex-VP? Or did you listen to Rushbo today?

Forget Al Gore, you need to rail against all those pesky "facts" and "scientific observations" from the 99% of scientists that find evidence for AGW.

Stick with the 1% that are paid by the oil industry since they'd NEVER lie.

Ah, I see that it is not enough merely to like the car: I must like it for the right reasons. got it.

Dramsey-

Don't worry - plenty of model S owners bought a car not an ideology.

Glad you had a good experience - the car has been a joy to drive for six months and I don't miss any gadgets.

Nope. It is perfectly fine to merely like the car for the driving experience and cool tech. The planet cares not what you drive.

I think there's another physical button you missed though. I believe the hazards are operated by one too. ;-)

Great review though. Glad you enjoyed the drive and could appreciate the minimal interior.

Cheers!

Some of us were sick enough of paying for gas that we (I) put a deposit on the car while it was still a napkin drawing. Who cares what anyone else thinks about why I should/shouldn't own one. I love everything about it, and the planet doesn't care, as goneskiian so eloquently stated.

People just remember you may not buy this car on ideology but ideology did make this car happen. It does not serve a purpose to attack it on this forum.

The R8 (at least from my experience with the 2012 my colleague let me drive) is a surprisingly refined ride for such a beast, but if you're looking for a daily driver and are considering any practical factors, the model s seems to be the car to beat. My friend usually takes his Infiniti to work.

I almost got the A6 instead of my 5-series in 2011, but ended up going with the brand I knew. Loved the A6 test drive, though. Definitely a well executed and well thought-out car.

Dramsey
Wow, where do I get those unicorn farts for charging? Is it now an UV instead of EV? :)

Dramsey, agree with everything you said, except AGW. I concur, especially with the comments about the weight shift and the spartan, almost unfinished looking interior.

I don't care what your ideology is, but the car is a hoot to drive, especially with the low speed turn-in. It's positively manic.

Oh, no ICE car, no matter how fast, might satisfy you again, if you but this car and drive it regularly. Be warned.

Yup, that thread said it all. Thanks for the link CZ!

Geez jbunn, samosan, the OP was expressing an opinion, and you call him idiotic? A personal attack? Really? Talk about intolerant.

Dramsey, the car is fun to drive. Something that you might have missed in a short test drive is the single pedal driving. The regen is quite strong and kicks in just with letting up on the accelerator. This means you hardly ever have to touch your brakes, and makes driving quite smooth. When I drive regular cars now, I feel I'm riding the brake all the time. Do think about buying one. There are so many things that work better with a model s, like having a full charge every morning, never visiting jiffy lube or a gas station, etc.

Oh well. I watched Chasing Ice last night and was reminded just what we are up against. Why is OK for people to display wilful ignorance and lack of consideration for the future as if it is a badge of honour?

Shop +1

The luxury is the drive train and TM did well focussing on that. In everyday driving after 4 month I am still in awe about the effortless, smooth and non- atigueing way the MS gets you from A to B, stopping and starting at red lights, inching forward in a traffic jam while all the ICEs laboring around you, absolute control holding the car at a SF hill with the accelerator only - that is the ultimate a car can pamper you.

@Dramsey "Ah, I see that it is not enough merely to like the car: I must like it for the right reasons. got it."

Gotta admit that reply was pretty funny, love your sense of humor. Anyway, I'm glad you liked the car. At the beginning I also thought that the car's interior looked unfinished but I've been driving mine for a month now and I just drove my wife's Mercedes Benz this afternoon... let me tell you, it felt all cluttered, confusing and just so "old" looking!. I used to think it was the ultimate! Perceptions can change really fast.

@Dramsey I love your sense of humor. As I've stated elsewhere, I liked the car, the driving experience, the space. The so called zero emission really never was part of my evaluation when buying one. If that means I am liking it for the wrong reasons, then guilty as charged.

It's sad that this forum is degenerating into pro/anti global warming name calling.

Let's keep politics out of this, can we? This is supposed to be a forum about a really cool car, right?

What are the ideological reasons we are supposed to want the Model S because of again? I hate when politics are thrown into situations...

Well - who started with the politics, knowing damn well what the reaction would be? Hint - look at the very first post in this thread!

I did drive the car with the brakes set to maximum regen. It was a little startling at first but by the end of the test drive I didn't notice it any more.

I belong to a Mustang club in Reno (actually, as the computer guy, I run the web site: renomustangcarclub.com). One of our members has a Model T he brings to shows occasionally. There are three foot pedals; the middle of which is the gear shift (you have to hold it down to stay in low gear). The spark advance and throttle are controlled by levers on the steering column and must be continually adjusted as you drive. There is no water pump in a stock Model T: a thermal siphoning effect is adequate to move the coolant around, but most T owners added water pumps as aftermarket accessories.

Drivers of modern ICE cars look at this and laugh heartily (or cringe mightily) and revel in the relative simplicity of operation of their cars. I suspect Mod S owners come to feel the same way about the operation of ICE cars. C'mon, you can tell me: you do, don't you?

My 2007 Saleen Mustang (500HP, supercharged, etc.) just went in for a replacement transmission. (The original works fine, but feels like a hammer handle stuck in a box of rocks. The Tremec Magnum XL sounds like a "male enhancement" product but should provide smooth, precise shifts).

Saleen

But after yesterday I realize the only reason the car has a transmission at all is to address the limitations of the IC engine...

Hm. The forum software doesn't handle images that well, does it? Or, for that matter, allow editing. Sorry! I'll scale 'em in the future.

+1 Carefree
Know you audience and if you want to heckle the home team do it from the visitor section

Dramsey
you need to add width="600" to the img tag, that's it.
Also, nice looking car!

Tobi, I will add a width tag next time. Still, it's been some time since I've used forum software that didn't auto-scale images. Seems kinda...primitive...to have to do that yourself.

There are parallels here...

@ Dramsey,

Ultimately your opinion about global climate change is irrelevant, but you should give some thought to the fact that the reality of global climate change has driven Elon Musk's passion for creating a zero emission vehicle. He wanted to create an automobile that was part of the solution and not the problem. So if it weren't for those who believe in real science and progress, this car would never exist for us to enjoy.

@Dramsey In Yiddush there's the word "kochloeffel". It literally means cooking spoon. It has come to mean someone who likes to stir things up and get people all hot and bothered--an instigator, if you will.

I would suggest to the forum not to bite.

Great review--excellent use of the language--but the whole Gore reference was a real non sequitur. Glad you liked the car.

Dramsey
I agree. Since they already use Drupal, jQuery and Shadowbox, there should be a nice plugin freely available to do the image scaling automatically (sorry for OT).

I thought this thread was interesting. I have had the Tesla Model S 40/60kwh for about a month and a half. The car is light years ahead of anything on the road presently. I keep trying to find something wrong with the car thinking sometime I'll find something. However there is nothing I can find wrong with it. Are there things I might add? Yes. But the car itself is just unreal. People ride in it and are just floored. The car is already fast I know the S85 and P85 have to really be fast. My wife already wants the Model X which I am sure will be in the future once the charging infrastructure is built out. Again you have to drive one of these cars just unreal experience. This is coming from a guy that loves Audis and has driven on the Autobaun :)

Dramsey,

Wow, sorry about those first two comments.

Anyway, I have a serious question for you as an investor. If the Tesla actually had all the same features as the Audi R8 do you think you would have any reason to consider the R8?


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