This is the entry-level Tesla right now, at least until the Model X crossover and Model 3 compact executive models arrive in the UK by the end of the year and production begins in 2017 respectively.

The 70D – the ‘D’ indicates four-wheel drive – is so-called because it has a 70kWh battery, rather than the 90kWh in the Model S 90. That means a 0-62mph acceleration time of ‘only’ 5.2 seconds, rather than the more powerful model’s 2.8-4.2 seconds, depending on specification.

But 5.2 seconds is still pretty damn fast for two tonnes of car, and the 70D certainly doesn’t feel like the poor relation of the line-up. Especially when you factor in that going up to the 90D – which offers around another 50 miles of range – costs in excess of £12,000.

The 70D is £4400 more than the rear-wheel drive model, and shaves 0.3 seconds off the acceleration time while adding another 10 miles of range to the official cycle.

The Tesla interior is brilliantly designed and dominated by the huge 17-inch touchscreen that controls everything that goes on in the car, as well as being the information centre for the wi-fi updates that Tesla sends out app-style for everything from changes to how the car actually operates – such as the addition of a ‘creep’ function – through to security or information upgrades.

But the Tesla is probably the first car that stacks up financially against regular diesel plug-in hybrid rivals. For example, its 114.2p per mile figure compares favourably with the BMW 640d Gran Coupe’s 125.0p, even though it starts at in excess of £5000 more. It’s the same story for the Audi A7.

The tax savings are the main reason: there’s little difference on RVs, although the Tesla does shade it, but a 7% BIK band versus 29% for the BMW makes a compelling case: a 40% tax payer will save more than £5300 per year on BIK by choosing the Tesla, and the company NI savings are in excess of £5000 over three years.

It is worth noting that the Model S 70 has shot up in price compared with the announcement last year when the car was added to the range, but it is still eligible for the Government’s £4500 grant, as well as a 100% discount on the London congestion charge. And even in entry-level form, it’s still an incredible machine.

Tesla Model S 70D

Model price range £63,235-£97,335
Residual value 33.0%
Depreciation £45,255
Fuel £545
Service, maintenance and repair £4377
Vehicle Excise Duty £0
National Insurance £2705
Cost per mile 114.2p
Range 292 miles
CO2 (BIK band) 0g/km (7%)
BIK 20/40% per month £79/£158
Warranty 4yrs/50,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 745 litres
Battery size/power 70kWh/259hp