- Centurion Member
- Posts: 532
- Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:20 pm
- Location: United States
One thing no one has mentioned in this thread is the new kid on the block...Tesla. The upstart all-electric brainchild of Elon Musk is beginning to turn heads in the luxury car market since they began to outsell Mercedes and BMW last quarter in the large sedan segment, especially in certain parts of the country like the west coast.
I had an opportunity to test drive one a month ago at a Tesla event in my city. One of my friends bought one recently and decided to let Tesla hold the event at his business in town since there is no Tesla store here (yet). I brought my wife since she's an environmental sustainability PhD with a real lead foot when it comes to driving. Both of us took a crack at the Model S P85+ top performance model they had available.
I've driven a few cars in my day but I'm limited to what I can drive because of my height. Because of that, I cannot drive any Audis, only the Mercedes S class, the Lexus LS (but not really anything else), the BMW 7 series and 3 series (but not the 5!) and most Cadillacs (CTS, ATS, XTS, SRX). The Tesla was comfortable for me once I figured out the proper seating position, but not perfect (nothing is). The Tesla sales rep had me begin by driving to the nearest Interstate on-ramp which was a steep uphill grade and told me to floor it. "Ok, you're the boss".
Omigod! I had read that electric cars had all of their torque immediately but there's nothing to prepare you for that kind of immediate rush, even going uphill. No engine revving...no waiting for maximum torque in the curve...just everything you want RIGHT NOW. 0-60 in 4.2 seconds, all quiet without drama. All of a sudden there's this stupid grin on your face and you now realize what all the automotive writers are fawning over. The last car I drove with that kind of punch was the CTS-V.
Is it a perfect car? No. The interior is nice but less bespoke than some of the competition. Somebody forgot to design cupholders for the rear and the current solution is pretty laughable. But the interior has two major things going for it. First, since the electric drivetrain is sitting between the rear wheels behind the rear seat, there's no driveshaft hump. That means you get a lot of interior room back in the vehicle...I haven't seen an interior layout like this since the first 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado and 1967 Cadillac Eldorado which both had front wheel drive. Second, the massive 17" infotainment screen dominates the landscape. It's more responsive to touch input than Cadillac CUE, with all that real estate, you can easily set it up to do two major tasks at once (Radio and Nav or AC and NAV or Web Browsing(!!!) and NAV).
Best of all, the car get regular software updates from Tesla, these days about once every 3-4 months. So current owners get new features regularly. You burn no fossil fuels while driving and get around 200 miles of range from the 60 kw model and 275 from the 85 kw model. And Tesla just announced yesterday that they can claim they are the safest car on the planet...the NHTSA crash tests were published on it and not only does it have a 5 star rating but it exceeded the test data for all cars ever tested in all individual categories, and that includes larger SUVs and minivans.
If you're curious, you should try to find a store for a test drive. But be warned. I walked in not knowing what to expect and walked away with a new fantasy car (and so did my wife). If you drive one, you may be smitten too. It's hard not to with that car.
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