Hands on: Tesla Motors Model S P90D
It started with a tweet.
Apparently, someone from Ireland tweeted Elon Musk, mercurial founder of Tesla Motors, and asked when the cars were coming to Ireland.
Already available directly in the UK, that’s where you have to go as an Irish buyer if you wish to procure one. So, Mr Musk in typical ‘get it done’ fashion said make it so, and yea, it was so.
A small fleet of the luxury cars were dispatched to Ireland from the UK and we here at TechCentral got to have a spin in one. And a spin it was, as we only had about 30 minutes or so at the wheel, but about an hour or so in the car all told.
During that time, we tested not just the autopilot, but also the aptly named Ludicrous mode acceleration trick.
For anyone who might have been under a rock for the last few years, the Tesla Model S is a luxury saloon that is entirely electric. Available in two-wheel or four-wheel drive versions, the tested model was the top P 90D spec which uses separate motors front and rear to drive the wheels for full performance.
Luxury is a key word here, because from the moment one even approaches the car, the build quality is apparent. Doors handles are flush fit for reduced drag, as are the lights and charge socket cover.
On opening the door, the interior is beautifully appointed with suede, alcantara, leather and, in the tested model, satin-finished carbon fibre. The tolerances are tight, the fit exact and the impression is of European luxury, not American — this is a very good thing.
The next thing that impresses upon the senses is the spaciousness. Without a drive tunnel through the middle, or the encroaching bulkhead between where a front mounted engine would be and the cabin, the feeling of space is multiplied. With various seating options available, from the 2 + 2, to 5 adults and there is always the + 2 rear facing seats in the boot.
Sit in the driver’s seat and the near bucket design enfolds. Then behold the 432mm (17”) screen that sits where the centre console would be. This is the primary display outside of the instruments and allows all parameters of the car to be accessed and manipulated in the same way one would a smart phone or tablet. Then the dashboard itself lights up as the car is started and the full TFT display shows all aspects of relevant driving dynamics.