Tesla Model S Review

The Tesla Model S is total luxury. Inside, this hatchback looks like a minimalistic spaceship. The tech is overwhelming, yet understated. The performance on the Model S is excellent, with incredible 0-62mph times, all while delivering a lengthy range. For the best Tesla Model S deals, take a look down below.

Tesla Model S Quick Review

7.5
This is the score given by Car & Driving
  • 10 Economy
  • 8 Depreciation
  • 8 Build
  • 8 Comfort
  • 8 Handling
  • 8 Performance
  • 7 Insurance
  • 7 Equipment
  • 7 Value
  • 7 Space
  • 5 Styling

Short Review

Here is an electric car with over 300 miles of range that can seat up to seven, has acceleration to demolish an Aston Martin and features zero tailpipe emissions. There's now a choice of either 75 or 100 kWh battery outputs and either way, you get standard 'Dual Motor All Wheel Drive'. At the top of the range, there's a flagship P100D flagship variant with super saloon-style performance. Here's what the future looks like - and it's cause for celebration.

Tesla Model S LeaseFetcher Review

Tesla Model S Review

Elon Musk’s Twitter page might single him out as one of the most controversial figures of the modern day but there’s no denying that his company, Tesla, has changed the way that people view the future of electric cars.

The Tesla Model S, released in 2012 after the Tesla Roadster, was the car that made this possible. The four-door executive saloon is an all-electric vehicle with the second quickest 0-60mph you will currently find on a production car.

Since its release, we’ve also seen the release of the smaller Tesla Model 3 and the SUV/MPV Tesla Model X. With the current pricing for the Model S, it’s well placed to take some of the market from manufacturers like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Performance, Drive, 0-60mph

Gone are the days of the Model S P100D, 100D and 75D trims. This year, Tesla has simplified its offering, reducing the number of trims to two: the Model S Long Range and Model S Ludicrous Performance.

As you would expect from an electric car, the Model S is the model of restraint when it comes to engine noise. It’s silent when stationary and though some road noise does start to creep in at higher speeds, this is only highlighted by the absence of a traditional, noisy petrol engine.

Because it is an electric car, you will also get brisk acceleration, unimpeded by the awkward gear changes typical of a petrol or diesel engine. An electric motor is able to deliver maximum torque pretty much straight away, so you’ll be rapid from the get-go. Both trims also come with all-wheel drive (AWD), making them extra nippy.

How nippy exactly?

Try 0-60mph in 2.4 seconds.

That’s if you opt for the Model S Performance trim with the ludicrous mode update. Otherwise, you’ll get a fairly modest 3.7 seconds with the Long Range trim. And the best thing is? There’s every chance that this might actually increase during your car’s lifetime, with regular software updates bring performance improvements all the time. 

It might take a little while to get used to the regenerative braking, which causes the Model S to decelerate quickly as soon as you lift your foot off the accelerator and charges the batteries in the process.

The standard air suspension makes for a smooth ride quality, but you should avoid the larger 21-inch wheels. 

Enhanced autopilot can make motorway journeys less challenging by maintaining a set speed and distance from other cars. 

Thanks to the large battery, placed under the car, there is minimal body roll and plenty of grip from its dual motor four-wheel drive system.

Interior

We hope you like minimalism.

The Tesla Model S ditches most of the switches and buttons that you’d find on a traditional dashboard in favour of a ginormous 17-inch touchscreen infotainment system which pretty much controls everything. 

While it may not have Apple Carplay or Android Auto, you do get one of the largest sat-navs available in any car, as well as a web-browser, Netflix, Youtube, In-Car Karaoke, and many other things that you wouldn’t be able to do on a standard infotainment system. This is also regularly updated. 

The seats and steering wheel are all electrically adjustable and there’s generous scope for adjustment, too. 

It’s not the most luxurious interior; there are plenty of flimsy plastics where we might expect leather or wood. It may not be as plush as a Jaguar i-pace or the Porsche Panamera S E Plug-in hybrid, but it certainly nails the futuristic look. 

Passenger and Boot Space

The Model S scores very highly on practicality. Thanks to the electric powertrain, a lot of extra space has been freed up. The Model S comes with pretty generous leg, elbow and head room, so you should have no trouble fitting five people in. There’s also no bump in the floor in the rear passenger area, so the middle passenger won’t have any issues planting their feet. 

The Model S may have a fairly conventional hatchback body, but the electric drivetrain also makes for pretty impressive boot space. Not only do you get a very generous standard rear boot but, because there’s no big petrol engine in the front, you also get space in the front. There’s also underfloor storage in the rear boot which can be used to add an additional 2 kids seats to the car, making this a 7-seater. 

Cost to run, CO2 Emissions, MPG, Range

It’s totally electric!

That’s means there’s no CO2 emissions (so no emission charges or London congestion charges), and no MPG. 

While a limited driving range may have stunted the initial uptake of electric cars, the Model S hardly suffers range anxiety, as both models come with a 100 kwh battery.

The maximum range for each car is 375 and 365 miles on a single charge for the Long Range and Performance trims respectively. This may dip a bit lower, depending on climatic variations. 

If you’re still worried that you might not have enough miles of range, there are hundreds of Tesla branded ‘superchargers’ around the country which can get you from 0-80% in 30 minutes. The Model S in-built sat-nav will plan your journey accordingly, telling you where the best place to stop and charge is. 

There’s a 4-year / 50,000-mile warranty as standard, and the battery is covered for 8 years, regardless of the number of miles that you drive. That means that you’ll be covered for most things for the duration of your lease, though if you plan to get a 4 year contract with over 12,500 annual miles you should probably consider one of their extended warranties. These give you an additional 2 years or 25,000 miles (whichever comes first), or an extra 4 years or 50,000 miles. 

Safety Features

The Tesla Model S has a 5* Euro NCAP rating. All 3 current Tesla models have also received the lowest probability of injury rating by the U.S. government’s New Car Assessment Program.

This is down to a combination of passive safety, active safety and automated driver assistance. 

The Tesla Model S’ rigid, fortified battery pack which sits below the car floor gives the car exceptional strength, as well as larger crumple zones and a very low centre of gravity. 

The Tesla Model S also makes use of an array of wide angle and telescopic cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radars to map its surroundings and prevent collisions with features like emergency braking, collision avoidance and lane keeping assistance.

The full set of sensors provides the car with 360 degrees of visibility at up to 250 meters of range. The data that is collected is fed into Tesla’s Neural Network, which allows them to regularly update the cars with new features which may be beneficial for preventing an accident. Tesla says that their cars are fully equipped with all the hardware necessary to be fully driverless in the future. 

Verdict

7 years on, the Tesla Model S is still one of the best electric cars on offer. With regular over-the-air updates tweaking performance and safety features you will get better value for money than with most other electric cars. 

But with the new all-electric Volvo Polestar 2 and Porsche Taycan set to be released next year, it remains to be seen whether it will maintain its crown for long. 

Tesla Model S Gallery

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View the available trims for the Tesla Model S starting from £928.37 per month

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