This Tesla Model S video review includes information about battery range, price, performance, interior and cargo space, and competitors. For more information, read the Tesla Model S review or check out the Edmunds.com Long-Term Test updates.
The Tesla Model S is unlike any car you've ever driven — and it's not just because it's electric. Even simple things are totally different. To get in, you walk up with the key in your pocket and the door handles slide out. Once inside, you don't turn the car on. That happened automatically the second you approached the car. Just put the car into drive and away you go.
The thing you notice first once inside the Tesla is its touchscreen. It controls almost everything: opening the sunroof, changing a radio station, altering the steering effort, or entering in a navigation destination. Perhaps a few functions would be better controlled by old-fashioned buttons, but this does work quite well.
The Model S is unique in other ways. Not only is the hatchback trunk enormous, but there's a second sizeable cargo area where an engine would normally be. You can also opt for a rear-facing jump seat, although it's really not that useful.
The Model S 60 trim features a battery that can go an estimate 208 miles and that's as quick as many six-cylinder luxury sedans. Then there are two Model S 85 trims. Each has a bigger battery pack capable of an estimated 265 miles of range, but whereas the base 85 is only slightly quicker than the 60 trim, the Model S P85 performance model goes from zero to 60 mph in an incredible 4.3 seconds.
Although you could use a regular household outlet to recharge a Tesla, it would take roughly, oh, forever. The recommended High Power Home Charging package at best recharges the 85 models in about 4.5 hours. And since this is the first electric car you could actually take on a road trip, Tesla's growing supercharger network allows you to travel longer distances.
The Tesla does have flaws, however. Interior storage is restricted to a ditch between the front seats, rear headroom is tight, some common features are missing like a rear center armrest, and we've experienced several reliability problems in the course of our year-long test.
In the end, though, the Tesla Model S is an incredible automobile that isn't just the ultimate electric car, but a viable alternative to performance luxury sedans like the Porsche Panamera, Mercedes CLS and Audi A7.