Forget for a minute that the Tesla design S’s fuel tank is one aluminum crate packed with countless battery cells. Neglect the electrical motors and Elon Musk’s Captain planet sermons. Really, just try to wipe what friend know about the automobile from her mind. Also in this context, the version S quiet points a spotlight ~ above the auto industry’s complacency.

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To journey a Tesla version S is come reexamine how a car and also its driver need to interact. The door handles stow flush v the sheetmetal until they glide the end to meet your hand as you approach. The stereo and climate device power ~ above the minute you open up the door. Who needs a headlight switch once the car is smart sufficient to know the difference in between day and also dusk, sun and rain?

Assembly Plant: Fremont, CaliforniaOther Models: Model X

Pared come its essentials, the cabin glows v an elegantly modern-day simplicity. Us bristled in ~ touch screens until Tesla’s sharp, 17-inch pane rendered buttons big enough to usage at rate on a crumbling interstate. Periodically, the model S learns brand-new tricks via a ­software upgrade it had actually downloaded if you were away.


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But Tesla didn’t simply reimagine how a vital should work-related or the role of software application in a car. As traditional dealers erect roadblocks for Tesla’s factory-owned stores, model S buyers need to celebrate the capability to to escape the brick-and-mortar experi­ence altogether. The is as easy to purchase a car on Tesla’s website together it is to shop Amazon. Configure the auto you want, make a $2500 deposit, and also your Tesla arrives a couple of month later.


The model S is the just electric automobile with the driving selection to make sense in American suburbs or on ours backbreaking commutes. The 70-kWh models—in either rear- or four-wheel drive—slip under ours $80,000 base-price ceiling and cover an ext than 200 miles per charge. All electric cars come through the convenience the refueling at home, but only Tesla renders long-distance travel possible with its nationwide network of free, high-voltage superchargers.

The version S is likewise the rare electric auto that embraces our most basic philosophy: Driving should be engaging. The car steers, corners, and rides through a competence that seems perfected over years of concentrated suspension advance rather than a couple of short years as a Silicon sink startup. The 70D increases in close to silence v the fury of a redline clutch dump. That springs off the line with 387 pound-feet the instantaneous torque and follows a seamless, shift-free trajectory to triple-digit speeds. Lift off the accelerator come harvest electrons and also sail to a avoid without ever touching the friction brakes. You learn to journey it with one pedal, using and recapturing electrical energy with the speed of traffic and also the flow of the road. After ~ a mainly piloting a version S, that feels strange to journey anything else.


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We live in a time where choosing amongst an Audi, a BMW, and a Mercedes can feel choose picking indigenous French vanilla, natural vanilla, or extra-creamy vanilla. Electric propulsion intimidates to do cars even more homogenized, and also yet Tesla has perfected the art of make the intangibles palpable. It’s the same strategy that makes an apologize iThing for this reason much more desirable than a point from Nokia. V the model S, Tesla has advanced the electric car from a endangered penalty box into something fun, fast, and desirable. What Musk f­igured out is that car buyers will always be ready to pay for per­formance and also style, no issue what type they might take.

How We’d construct It

We would select the four-wheel-drive model S 70D. To this us would include Autopilot semi-autonomous capability ($2500) due to the fact that our commutes room long and also boring. We’d opt because that the smart Air Suspension ($2500) because that ride-height adjustability. We’d replace the level standard seats through tan next-generation seats ($2500). And also they would certainly be heated, too, many thanks to the Subzero Weather package ($1000). Slap on part Midnight silver- Metallic paint ($1000) and we come at a total of $85,700.

Cloud-Based Commuting

Tesla’s Silicon sink mentality way the cars are never quite finished, even years ~ they’ve left the factory. The company’s most far-ranging software updates, presented here, mean a version S purchase in 2012 is a different car today.

June 2012: very first Model S deliveries.

October 9, 2012: The model S now creeps forward once the driver lifts off the brake. A mobile app allows owners come remotely screen charging, vent windows, lock and unlock doors, and precool or preheat the cabin.

November 30, 2012: Tesla add to voice commands. The door handles now automatically extend as the driver ideologies the auto with the vital fob. A brand-new “range” driving setting reduces the lot of energy consumed by the climate control.

June 18, 2013: The navigation mechanism now display screens Supercharger locations and also previously visited chargers. When directed come preheat or precool the cabin, the vehicle will use energy from the charger rather than the battery.

March 24, 2014: Tesla adds hill-start assist.

September 11, 2014: The air-suspension mechanism now remembers places where the driver formerly raised the car and increases the journey height automatically on approach. Owners have the right to use voice commands to report bugs to Tesla, sending a snapshot of your car’s status and screens come the home office. Navigation directions currently take traffic into consideration, and a new in-car calendar syncs with a phone call to display upcoming appointments.

December 7, 2014: holding the trunk button on the vital fob opens the charge port.

January 8, 2015: Adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams, and forward-collision warning set off on car fitted v Tesla’s Autopilot hardware.

March 28, 2015: Blind-spot warning and automatic emergency braking enabled on Autopilot-equipped cars. A valet mode limits the car to 107 horses and 70 mph when active. A new route planner argues charging stop on long trips and also warns once the automobile is out of range of chargers.

April 10, 2015: top speed that 85D models rises come 155 mph if the zero-to-60 drops indigenous 5.2 secs to 4.4.

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October 14, 2015: Tesla activates additional Autopilot features, including a self-steering duty and automatically parallel parking. Tesla redesigns the interfaces because that the gauge cluster and also touch screen and also adds a brake-hold system.

2016 10Best Cars: return to Overview


TESLA model S 70 / 70D

VEHICLE TYPE: rear- or front-and-rear-motor, rear- or 4-wheel-drive, 5- or 7-passenger, 4- or 5-door hatchback

BASE PRICE: $71,200-$76,200

MOTORS: AC induction, 315 hp, 325 lb-ft; 2 AC induction, 328 hp, 387 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 1-speed direct drive

CURB WEIGHT: 4400-4600 lb


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