The Tesla Model S showed everyone that EVs could be cool.
For our latest sub $50k supercar, we wanted to take a look at a model that showed the world that extreme performance comes in all shapes and sizes. When Tesla came out with its first car, the Roadster, we knew that the company had the potential for greatness. What we could not predict was how quickly Tesla could take the insane performance of the Roadster and bring it to a practical platform. The Model S may be a practical sedan with two trunks, but it is also an insane supercar.
You've probably read a lot of coverage about new versions of the Tesla Model S that have Ps and Ds and silly sport modes called "insane mode" or "ludicrous mode." Unfortunately, these modes are only available on the newer P versions of the Model S, the cheapest of which costs a whopping $108,000 for the P90D. These new cars might be insanely fast, but what if you only had half as much money to spend? What kind of Tesla could you get for less than say, $50,000? We have already said how much we would love to buy a Tesla Roadster for around this price, but the Model S has also dipped below the $50,000 mark. Unfortunately, you may miss out on some of the cool features when springing for a new one.
We ran a search on Cars.com to see what kind of Teslas are available for less than $50,000. All of the cars we found were 2014 or older, which means they won't come with that snazzy autopilot feature. Early Teslas did not have the hardware necessary for the autopilot system to work, and retrofitting it would be quite costly. We did happen to come across one 2014 model with 44,000 miles, although you would have to find out if it was built after October 2014 to be eligible for the autopilot update. If we rule out the possibility of buying a sub-$50,000 Model S with autopilot or insane/ludicrous mode, then the next-fastest version that we can look at is the Performance model.
Back before Tesla CEO Elon Musk became obsessed with naming his cars like a 14-year old boy, there were only two versions of the Model S. The base car came with a 60 kWh lithium-ion battery and produced 302 horsepower. Stepping up to the performance model got you an 85 kWh lithium-ion battery and 416 horsepower. It didn't have any silly launch control modes, but the Model S performance could hit 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. That's not all. Even though you won't be able to impress your friends by having the car drive itself, you will be able to impress them the old fashioned way, with some all-American tire smoking. That's because unlike the new D models, the Model S Performance is RWD.
The Tesla Model S showed the world that a muscle car doesn't have to come with a big V8. Not only does the Model S come with a huge hatchback trunk, it also has a front-trunk or "frunk" that serves up additional storage. You can even buy one with the optional jump-seats in the trunk so you can fit two more children-sized passengers. For $50,000, you may miss out on a few cool features, but you will still get that awesome center-display and that unparalleled Tesla cool-factor.