Single Speed Automatic
by John Tallodi
The Tesla Model S has revolutionized the way we see electric cars and is in part responsible for the new wave of all-electric vehicles that are now reaching the market. Of all the variants, the range-topping derivatives have done the most to convince shoppers that the internal combustion engine has met its match.
The P100D is the latest such model and as is usually the case, YouTube is awash with head-to-head comparisons with just about anything else on the road. This is no one trick pony though; constant updates and modifications have seen the Model S develop into an accomplished luxury sedan and the P100D comes packed with advanced features.
The cabin is a mix of modern, minimalist design, the large 17-inch touchscreen controls just about every function on the car and the only remaining physical buttons are to be found on the steering wheel.
Thanks to a battery pack that extends the length of the undercarriage, there is a lot of space inside and five adults will fit quite comfortably. An optional third row offering two smaller seats is available while an executive four seat option can also be specified which limits the rear seats to two very luxurious chairs.
While interior material quality is not up to the best rivals in this price range, the availability of various premium interior finishes on the P100D does elevate the luxury levels above the base Model S.
The rear trunk is spacious and above average in size , foldable rear seats allow for a large load area and there is still the front trunk, or frunk as Tesla like to call it, for additional storage space.
The steering is good for an all-electric setup and the brakes offer good feel and progression. Air suspension is standard and the ride is firm but comfortable on most surfaces although larger bumps and ridges taken at speed can unsettle the composure of the car.
The cabin is well-insulated and other than some tire roar and the odd electric drivetrain whine, there is very little noise to be heard at just about any speed.
The P100D features a 100kWh battery and an electric motor at each axle, it offers a 315-mile range under ideal conditions and comes equipped with the Ludicrous Speed Upgrade.
The oft quoted 0-60 mph time of 2.5-seconds makes this the quickest accelerating four-door sedan in the world.
Achieving this number in the real-world is not quite as easy as you may think as the battery will have to be nearly full and at the correct temperature, which can take a while, using the launch mode will also severely shorten the available range.
Still, there is no denying that even an ill-prepared P100D will see off most sports cars without much trouble and the arguably more relevant overtaking figures are even more impressive. Top speed is an academic 155 mph and while acceleration tapers off as speeds rise, at any legal velocities the P100D reigns supreme.
The P100D comes packed with just about all the standard and available features on offer and notable items include LED Headlights, 17-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, WiFi connectivity and HD radio (but no Apple Car Play or Android Auto), navigation system, power liftgate, self-presenting door handles and keyless entry. The Sub-Zero Weather Package featuring heating for all seats the steering wheel and windscreen washer fluid is standard too.
Safety devices include blind-spot warning, automatic emergency braking, rearview camera, lane departure warning and parking sensors.
The Premium Package is standard on this model and adds a medical-grade air filtration system and 11-speaker custom audio system.
The Enhanced Autopilot option is also standard and offers 4 driving assist cameras (up from 1 on standard models) and 12 ultrasonic sensors which allow for self-parking and practically autonomous highway driving.
The available Full Self-Driving Capability Package increases the camera system to 8 units and promises full autonomy although some of the features will be made available as regulations allow. A carbon fiber spoiler and rear facing seats are other available options.
Part of the standard package are over-the-air software updates, real-time navigation information, 400 kWh of free annual Supercharger credits and an 8-year infinite mile battery warranty.
The Tesla Model S P100D should be a whole lot slower, then perhaps its not so 'ludicrous' acceleration potential wouldn't overshadow its other capabilities. Because this sedan features a number of industry-leading technologies that deserve more recognition.
This range-topping model offers luxurious and spacious transport for up to 7 occupants and the constantly improving range and infrastructure are helping banish range anxiety to a thing of the past. The ballistic performance is just a very big cherry on the already tasty cake.