by Michael Butler
The world is an oven that is pre-heating itself to destroy humankind, and the best thing is that we're the ones setting the temperature. This might be cause for concern, but humans seem to be having such a great time that most are carrying on as if the imminent extinction of our race is some kind of conspiracy theory. At least Elon Musk and his team are taking things seriously by building all-electric cars that can sprint to sixty in the mid-two-second range. The 2020 Tesla Model S continues the brand's flagship electric sedan dominance that started in 2012, delivering up to 402 miles of range in Long Range Plus guise, kicking range anxiety to the curb, and delivering a 3.7-second 0-60 time. Combine this with sporty handling, massive cargo space, and the fact that the Tesla S is one of the most advanced cars on the road today, and you've got yourself a winning combination. There's just the small matter of the Porsche Taycan to deal with.
Unlike other car manufacturers who prescribe to the Gregorian calendar, Tesla claims not to believe in model years. Be that as it may, for 2020, there are some notable improvements and additions that make the Tesla Model S even more efficient and rapid. For 2020, the Tesla Model S is only available in Long Range Plus and Performance variants, the latter reviewed separately while the former has achieved the status of being the first EV to be rated by the EPA with a 400-mile-plus range. The Tesla S range receives an updated front-drive unit and motor, as well as air suspension, which is now adaptive. Ongoing software updates allow the Model S to take full advantage of V3 supercharging capabilities, which, according to Tesla, will reduce average charging times by 25 percent. Later in the year we also expect Full Self Driving Capability to come online, with Autopilot capable of negotiating stop signs and traffic lights.
Basic economics tells us that the higher the demand, the dearer the product or service, which can be related to the Tesla Model S. These cars are in high demand, and we don't blame the people who want them; at its price, the Tesla Model S Long Range Plus is a bargain of note. The Long Range Plus comes in with an MSRP of $79,990 as well as a destination and documentation fee of $1,200. With extra options and the $7,000 autopilot package fitted, the cost of the Tesla Model S Long Range Plus could come in at just over $95k.
See trim levels and configurations:
As a full-size electric sedan, the Tesla Model S might not be the lightest of cars, but thanks to some very clever packaging, and fine-tuning to suspension and chassis systems, the new Tesla Model S handles with the poise of a much lighter car. A key reason for this is the way Tesla has managed to package the numerous batteries used to power the electric motors: they've been placed low in the chassis, which means the Model S has a low center of gravity, which in turn assists with handling and cornering ability. Get behind the steering wheel, and you'll be pleased to note the Model S' ability to place its nose into a corner without protest. Steering is direct, and two settings offer light and heavy steering feel. The new adaptive suspension varies between stiff and relaxed depending on the driving mode but never feels overly harsh, just watch out for those massive optional wheels. The Porsche Taycan might offer a more sporty drive, but the Tesla Model S offers a great balance.
It's worth noting that the very first Tesla Model S is the car that basically set off the current EV race, and is a true trendsetter in its own right. Since its launch, the Model S has seen numerous improvements to both its hardware and software systems and is today still one of the frontrunners in the electric race. What Tesla has managed to achieve with the Model S is truly astonishing: not only have they built a car that will blow the doors off of almost everything else on the road, but they have built a car that is beautiful to drive, offers good levels of technology, class-leading range in this Long Range Plus variant, and is surprisingly practical - something that can't be said for any of its gas-powered rivals. Unfortunately, the Tesla Model S is still beleaguered by shoddy workmanship inside the interior, with misaligned panels still prevalent, but its infotainment system and a general sense of airiness make up for minor build quality niggles. The Tesla Model S Long Range Plus is still a brilliant choice if your ultimate aim in pure electric range.
Do you want to go really fast and really far at the same time? Then you'll be happy to get behind the wheel of the Long Range Plus. Sharing features with the Performance model, the Long Range Plus comes comprehensively equipped with illuminated door handles with keyless entry, a power liftgate, and stunning 19-inch wheels as standard. Inside, you get a massive 17-inch display with navigation, a wireless charging pad, and a seriously advanced climate control system. If it were up to us, we'd get our Long Range Plus in Midnight Silver Metallic with the black and white interior and the optional Full Self-Driving package.
The Tesla 3 is the smaller and more attainable sibling of the Model S. The Tesla Model 3 was specifically designed to offer a low-cost alternative to the Model S, which is seen by most as a high-end luxury car. The Model 3 might be down on power, but it offers impressive range and awesome acceleration times, too. Powered by a similar electric motor setup and AWD drivetrain, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range variant will travel for 322 miles on one charge and accelerate to sixty in 4.4 seconds in standard guise - slightly behind the figures from its bigger brother. We love the fact that it delivers competitive performance at $30k less. With a bunch of standard luxury and safety features, as well as a good number of driver aids, the Tesla Model 3 is a great bargain - we just wished that it came with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a fate the Model S also suffers from. Give us the cheaper Model 3 purely for the cost-saving benefits.
The Tesla Model S lineup consists of the Long Range Plus and the Performance models for 2020 - last year's Standard Range edition was culled from the range after only a short stint on the market. Instead, these two models represent two ends of the spectrum of the Model S - one focused on giving you the most mileage, the other striving to push you back into your seat. Initial differences between these two models are mostly cosmetic, with the Performance blessed with a carbon fiber exterior spoiler, and two exclusive interior trims. All the other features remain the same, including the large 17-inch screen, heated front and rear seats, glass roof, and posh audio setup. The real differences to consider are in range and acceleration times, with the Long Range Plus variant allowing for more 43 more miles per charge, but sacrificing more than a full second to get to 60 mph. Still, the Long Range Plus can do the benchmark dash in 3.7 seconds, which isn't half bad. If you're not looking for face-melting performance, you can't go wrong with the Long Range Plus - and, it costs around $20k less, before options.
The most popular competitors of 2020 Tesla Model S: