Tesla Model S P85D Review

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Tesla Model S P85D is an Electric-Powered Superhero

BY Jeff Jablansky

Positioned at the starting grid of a runway, with the gleaming borough of Manhattan visible in the distance, the 691-horsepower Tesla Model S P85D looks like an earth-bound rocket, even while standing still.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Perhaps that’s why it felt at home at Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Park, one of our first stops in an extended test of the electric wunderkind. Of course, an empty runway also sounded like it could be the perfect venue to test the Model S P85D at its theoretical limits.

Fat chance. The defunct airport’s crumbling runway is off limits to high-speed maneuvering, but it made for an incredible backdrop for this sophisticated sedan with unbelievable power. If Superman had to trade his airborne capabilities for an equally powerful motor vehicle that doesn’t draw too much attention to itself, the Model S P85D would be that car.

We learned that very quickly during a brief first drive of the Model S P85D, in which repeated zero-to-25 stoplight street drags were the bulk of our testing. Tesla Driving 101 dictates a modified approach to driving, owing to one-pedal acceleration and braking, a dashboard bereft of buttons, and the attention paid to maintaining charge. With the opportunity to really test the Tesla’s capabilities over three days of road trips, however, we wanted to finally see if there was everyday excitement beyond the hype.

Tesla Model S P85D

Our first day of testing consisted primarily of city driving, with the anticipated round-trip grind from Brooklyn to Manhattan putting pressure on the high-performance Tesla to act as a sensible commuter car. With no need to let the Model S P85D warm up in sub-30ºF temperatures, our first impressions were unusually brisk and pithy as we settled in. The dashboard is expansive but spare, leaving the 17-inch center display to shine. Even equipped with the optional “next generation”leather seats, the driving position in the Model S P85D is rather flat and upright.

Tesla Model S P85D

Several years into production and with little change to its styling, the Model S still received its share of smartphone camera snaps and finger-pointing along Madison Avenue. Over the suspension joints being repaired on the Brooklyn Bridge, we raised the air suspension to its highest position, giving us near-SUV forward visibility. The ride also remained admirably comfortable while negotiating Manhattan’s end-of-winter potholes.

We left Manhattan, to allow the big Tesla to stretch its legs, and headed for the woods of Connecticut as winter’s death grip finally began to subside. As impressive as the Model S P85D’s acceleration was from a standstill, so were its passing sprints on the highway. A couple of wrong turns off the Merritt Parkway, and we found ourselves in some of the tightest, twistiest, and hilliest roads outside our favorite secret testing grounds in southern California.

Tesla Model S P85D

Where the sizable Tesla should have floundered, it impressed, with minimal body roll through the corners and plenty of power in reserve. Yet the Model S differs from a true performance car in one very important area: the human-meets-machine interface. The steering effort, while natural-feeling, isn’t very communicative. Braking was linear, but lacked confidence compared to a more traditional (i.e. not electric-powered) sport sedan.

The romp through the woods made a significant dent in the Model S P85D’s estimated range, which read over half-full when we left the city. After our driving fun it was obvious a recharge for the 50-mile return journey would be necessary. A nearby Tesla Supercharger was available, thankfully, and coveniently located in the parking lot of a gas station along the highway. About half an hour and a cup of coffee later, the Tesla was recharged with more than enough range to get home.

Suddenly, we realized that we were treating the Model S P85D just like any gas-powered car with a range of about 250 miles. Another electric ‘top-off’ at the Supercharger station at John F. Kennedy airport revealed the location is a popular hangout for the Model S fraternity of New York City. That’s because, at the moment, this happens to be the sole Supercharger in the five boroughs.

Tesla Model S P85D

The next morning, impressed by the Model S P85D’s outright performance on the highway and usability in the city, we embarked to test its longevity on a one-day run to Montauk and back. We headed out toward the East End, with another jolt of electric juice provided at the Syosset Supercharger, to guarantee we’d have the range to reach Lond Island’s easternmost point.

Not everything went according to plan. The original idea was to replenish the Model S’energy supply at a charger in Montauk – but the charger was offline when we arrived. With only low double-digit mileage remaining, we reached out via smartphone to a local Tesla evangelist in the Hamptons. This allowed us a comfortable place to wait while the P85D recharged to just under 100 miles of range on his personal charger. Who says smartphones don’t help people make real connections?

Tesla Model S P85D

With enough range to at least make it back to the JFK Supercharger, now about 85 miles away, we set the adaptive cruise control to the Island’s stiflingly low speed limit of 50 mph. We turned most major accessory systems off to increase range, and watched the energy graph to keep track of range when traffic slowed.

By the time we reached the Supercharger, all that careful driving had actually beaten the anticipated range estimate. Unlike some EVs, the Tesla has no “greenest”driving setting, leaving it up to the driver to add efficiency to the equation. We smugly refilled at JFK once more before parking back home in Brooklyn.

No test of the Model S P85D would be complete without at least a casual mention of Insane Mode. Yes, we spent a portion of each test day entertaining family and friends with the Model S P85D’s stupefying acceleration. The feature definitely lives up to its name.

Tesla Model S P85D

We had a delightful time scaring doubtful passengers with neck-snapping acceleration runs. Although the aforementioned winter weather had no major effect on the Model S’performance, the cold temperatures presumably cut the sedan’s ability to use all 480-KW of forward thrust.

That’s little cause for consternation, however. Short of the appearance of flying cars on public roads, the Model S P85D is the closest thing to a personal jet that you can procure today. At $106,200, it’s not an inexpensive proposition, but the cost is well worth it.

Over several hundred miles of driving, we paid nothing to recharge the Tesla – savings that could add up over the long run. A less-expensive dual-motor Model S, the 70D, should further increase the value equation, and the sedan’s ubiquity, when it goes on sale soon as the new base model.

Better find your own runway now if you plan on driving this car…For more click here.

To see more info on autos go to Bizzee Autos.

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May 18, 2015 |

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