2013 Tesla Model S: P85D
January 28, 2015
My friend Russell is a software engineer who lives near Seattle, Washington. He's also a serious gearhead. When he sold his 2009 Nissan GT-R a few months ago, he knew exactly what he was going to replace it with: a Tesla Model S.
He ordered his Model S just a few weeks after the announcement of the dual-motor setup and he took delivery of the P85D 24 hours before I showed up on his doorstep. I was on a road trip to Portland but visiting him near Seattle was no problem, especially when he offered to take me for a drive.
I was eager to check out all the updates I had missed since Edmunds sold its long-term Tesla Model S nearly six months ago. The P85D gets a second electric motor in the front of the car, all-wheel drive and some added safety equipment. This is perfect for someone like Russell who lives in an area with so much rain and snow.
For options, there wasn't much he left on the shelf. He got his P85D with the carbon-fiber spoiler, red brake calipers, Smart Air Suspension, panoramic sunroof, the Tech Package (LED corner lights, foglights, power liftgate, auto-dimming rumors, power-folding headed side mirrors, and eventually, "Autopilot"), the Premium Interior package, rear jump-seats, the Subzero Weather package (heated washer nozzles, wiper blade defrosters, front and rear heated seats, heated steering wheel), a wall connector for home charging and a second set of wheels and tires for summer driving.
He left out the Ultra High Fidelity sound system in lieu of an even-more-powerful aftermarket system he plans on adding himself. After Russell gave me the run-down of all the options, we were ready to go for a drive. The "Insane" acceleration mode is just as its name suggests. Much like our old long-termer, 0-60 acceleration feels like being shot out of a canon thanks to the massive amount of immediately available torque. When we track-tested our old 414-hp long-termer, it went from zero to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. The P85D gets 691 hp, and Tesla estimates that will get it from zero to 60 in just 3.2 seconds. Not only is that 1.2 seconds quicker than our old P85, but also 0.7 seconds quicker than the 2009 GT-R Russell was getting out of.
The cargo area has decreased in size slightly with the addition of a motor up front, but that's about the only physical change I noticed in the Model S. Everything else looks pretty similar, and to my eye, still fantastic. Our single-motor P85's frunk:
The P85D's frunk:
In the clamor of weekday traffic, we couldn't really explore the P85D's handling limits. Even without that chance, though, I was still impressed by the P85D's acceleration, and I'm looking forward to bugging Russell for another ride in the future.
I asked Russell how long he plans on keeping his Model S. "At least a decade, unless they release something crazy," he said. I'll make sure to hound him for reliability updates as often as possible, too.
Travis Langness, Associate Editor