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Tesla Model S P85 D Test Drive Review

Date: 12 June 2015   |   Author:

Category: Luxury
Key rival: Mercedes S-class
P11D: £84,480
On sale: September 2015

Most cars have normal and sport modes. The fact the new Tesla P85D has only Sport or Insane - seriously -  acceleration modes shows the mentality behind this new range-topper from the EV upstart that's forging an impressive reputation in the automotive industry.

The Tesla Model S P85D is powered by two motors: a 221hp unit in the front and a 470hp addition in the back, each powering a pair of wheels. The result is acceleration from 0-62mph in a frankly astonishing 3.4 seconds, and the brutality from standstill needs to be experienced to be believed.

Although it's definitely an executive saloon rather than a sports car to drive, the sheer acceleration is addictive, even if it does rapidly eat into the official 300-mile range that will be plenty for virtually all situations.  At least Tesla's 68 superchargers in 22 locations around the UK, and 700 across Europe, mean there are options for recharging.

Unlike any other manufacturer, Tesla is able to update its cars as you would an app, by connecting them to an owner's home wi-fi, and the latest update included a new valet mode, and also upgraded the autonomous braking system to work up to 25mph if the driver doesn't respond to an impending collision.

But it's on paper where you can see the Tesla's advantage. Costing somewhere around the same as a Mercedes S500L plug-in, it would, for example, cost significantly less in terms of a company's National Insurance bills over three years.

Meanwhile, Tesla guarantees a 50% residual value after three years and 45,000 miles on the base car without options for private customers, while KwikCarcost puts RVs at 34.4% for 3yrs/60k miles, which is 1.7 percentage points above the Mercedes.

The Model S is a remarkable car, and one of the most remarkable of this, or maybe any, era.

Tesla Model S P85D

Model price range £60,000-£84,900
Residual value 34.4%
Depreciation £55,405
Fuel £481
Service, maintenance and repair £4825
Vehicle Excise Duty £0
National Insurance £2448
Cost per mile 135.1p
Range 300 miles
CO2 (BIK band) 0g/km (5%)
BIK 20/40% per month £70/£141
Warranty 4yrs/50,000mls (battery 8 years)
Boot space (min/max) 745/1645 litres
Engine size/power 691hp


Epically capable car that shows how far Tesla can push the technology
  • Epic performance
  • Unique styling both
  • Inside and out, innovation
  • Lot of money but admittedly for a lot of car
  • Minimal number of dealers