Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.
When we ran the first official test numbers of the Tesla Model S two weeks ago, the results were nothing short of astonishing. Here was a 4,770-pound sedan that could launch from zero to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds flat and continue on to a 12.6-second quarter-mile. That's fast for any car, let alone an electric sedan the size of the Model S.
So where does that put the Model S in terms of the established players in the big-buck, super-sedan segment? You know, the one with all the AMGs, the Ms and the Ss. Well, the closest competitor we could find in terms of price, performance and size is the Porsche Panamera, more specifically, the Panamera GTS. It's the top-of-the-line, non-turbocharged model and it runs $111K to start. It has a 4.8-liter V8, a seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
So there you have it, two six-figure sedans with all the trimmings and the curb weights to prove it. Does the Tesla really measure up to the Porsche? Or is it a one-trick pony that merely goes fast in a straight line thanks to the instant torque of its electric motor? Check the numbers and the comments for yourself to see just how far the electric car has come.
Vehicle: 2012 Tesla Model S
Driver: Mike Monticello
Price: $94,350 (base price)
Drive Type: Transverse, rear-motor, rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Single-speed direct drive
Engine Type: 310kW, three-phase four-pole electric
Redline (rpm): 7,600
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 416 @ 5,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 443 @ 0
Brake Type (front): 13.2-inch ventilated steel rotors, four-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 14.4-inch ventilated steel rotors, four-piston fixed calipers
Suspension Type(front): Independent double wishbones, pneumatic springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, pneumatic springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 245/35ZR21
Tire Size (rear): 265/35ZR21 (101Y)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Pilot Sport PS2
Tire Type: Asymmetrical summer performance
As Tested Curb Weight (lbs.): 4,770
0-30 (sec): 2.0 (2.0 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.0 (3.0 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 4.3 (4.3 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.0 (4.0 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 6.1 (6.1 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.6 @ 108.3 (12.6 @ 108.2 w/ TC on)
30-0 (ft): 27
60-0 (ft): 108
Slalom (mph): 66.8 (66.0 w/TC off)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.86 (0.86 w/TC on)
Db @ Idle: 35.4
Db @ Full Throttle: 64.2
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 61.2
Acceleration: As you would expect with a ton of instant torque, it gets off the line in a hurry, with no wheelspin whatsoever. Just endless forward thrust. The first and second runs were the quickest, and after that it just got slower and slower despite having plenty of charge. By the sixth and final run it was 0.3 second slower.
Braking: Very firm pedal. Feels like a normal car without all the hybrid wonkiness. Just a little bit of extra travel at the very end of the stroke, but rock-solid stability and no fade. First stop was 110 feet. Second stop was shortest at 108 feet and third stop was longest at 112 feet. Very consistent.
Handling: Skid pad: Definitely felt the weight here, and the lack of a free-revving internal-combustion engine means changes in throttle have less effect on the chassis. Still, car felt pretty precise.
Slalom: The stability system cannot be fully defeated, but I was impressed with the intervention point. And it would even allow some decent slalom-exit power-on oversteer before it would slam on the brakes. Preferred the midlevel standard mode over Sport, which seemed like it was fighting me more than helping. A very long and heavy car and was surprised it could go through at almost 67 mph. Seems like a very good suspension tuning compromise.
Vehicle: 2013 Porsche Panamera GTS
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $111,975 (Base)
Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed automatic
Engine Type: Longitudinal, naturally aspirated V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 4,806/293
Redline (rpm): 7,200
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 430 @ 6,700
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 384 @3,500
Brake Type (front): 15.4-inch one-piece ventilated cast-iron discs with six-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 13-inch one-piece ventilated cast-iron discs with four-piston fixed calipers
Suspension Type (front): Double-wishbone control arms, air springs, dampers with active electronic adjustment
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink control arms, air springs, dampers with active electronic adjustment
Tire Size (front): 255/40ZR20 (101Y)
Tire Size (rear): 295/35 ZR20 (105Y)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Pilot Sport PS2
Tire Type: Summer performance
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,362
0-30 (sec): 1.4 (2.1 w/TC on)
0-45 (sec): 2.5 (3.4 w/TC on)
0-60 (sec): 4.1 (5.2 w/TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.9 (4.9 w/TC on)
0-75 (sec): 6.0 (7.2 w/TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.5 @ 108.2 (13.3 @ 105.6 w/TC on)
30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 110
Slalom (mph): 68.6 (67.8 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.96 ( 0.96 w/TC on )
Db @ Idle: 50.5
Db @ Full Throttle: 77.0
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 64.5
Acceleration: The Panamera GTS is no slouch in default Drive mode. Whacking the throttle to the floor with no performance-enhancing buttons selected gets the job done quickly and very smoothly. Selecting Sport Plus, shutting off PSM and engaging Launch Control unleashes the beast with tire-spinning, short-shifting 1st and banging off upshifts with measurably more authority and harshness. This engine is so quick to rev and it's fascinating to watch the tach needle jump down (and up for downshifts) with an almost digital precision — no sloppy throttle map here.
Braking: It required a few stops to bring the big composite brakes up to temp for the shortest stopping distance, but the behavior never changed: Flat, straight, quiet and with a firm pedal.
Handling: Skid pad: With PSM off, the Panamera GTS was very sensitive to throttle input, and I could easily adjust the rear slip angle and resulting heading with my right foot alone. PSM on allowed almost the same amount of gentle oversteer, but managed to coax a slightly quicker lap with selective brake applications.
Slalom: Unreal. How Porsche engineered a car of this size and weight to feel like a compact sport sedan is beyond me. Crisp turn-in, zero yaw delay, precise steering, gentle oversteer and predictable reactions when going to the throttle all add up to an amazing and memorable slalom exercise. Nearly the same freedom allowed with PSM on, but I noticed it most at the exit where it disallowed throttle until the steering wheel was more or less straight. Still, it feels like a car half its size and weight.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation.