TopGear.com’s Ollie Marriage had the opportunity to take the wheel of the Tesla Model S P90D. The American carmaker’s flagship saloon features dual electric motors producing a total of 762 horsepower and 713 pound-feet of torque, with a big, 90kwh battery pack providing the juice. For Top Gear, the P90D sprinted from zero to 60mph in 3.2 seconds, and cruised for 240 miles on a charge “with no bother at all.” Ollie’s first impression of this ‘Ludicrous’ American? “It’s cool, it’s interesting, it’s different, it’s super-fast, it makes you feel good about zero emissions, it works simply and logically, it pretty much dismisses range anxiety, it’s smooth, and it’s engaging on a whole new level.”

On Tesla’s ‘Ludicrous’ power mode:
“It’s astonishing. There’s no wheelspin, just an electrical whine and this vast, even pressure shoving you forward. It’s utterly relentless up to about 70mph, but after that it starts to tail off.”

On on the AutoPilot self-driving feature:
“Firstly, it’s so simple to operate – just a double pull on the cruise control stalk, some blue graphics appear on the dash and the car takes over. Secondly, it reacts quickly when cars ahead pull out of the way. Often, these systems pause for a second or two before accelerating, but this one’s more immediate. Lastly, and whether this is a good thing or not is debatable, you can drive with your hands off the wheel.”

Tesla Motors

Credit: Tesla Motors

On the ride and handling:
“The low speed ride on the 21in wheels is decent, and the suspension nicely insulated. And because all the weight is concentrated so low down and inside the wheelbase, it doesn’t roll and slop about. It’s very refined, with little tyre or other road noise entering the cabin – and you’d notice it, because there’s no engine noise to cover it up.”

On the cabin’s huge touchscreen interface:
“My favourite is going into the Service menu and entering ‘007’. Then, when you come out the suspension graphic showing the car will have changed to Bond’s underwater Lotus Esprit. There’s a reason for that – Elon Musk bought it at auction a couple of years back…”

Tesla Motors

Credit: Tesla Motors

On the price:
“It is … very expensive: £81,900 (once the government grant has lopped £5,000 off the asking price), and then you have to add Ludicrous mode (£8,700) and Autopilot (£2,200), then if you want the air suspension of this car, that’s £2,200, and so is the uprated sound system. The sports seats are £2,200 as well, that carbon fibre lip spoiler? £850. In total, our car was £113,180…”

On its place in the market:
“The thing that strikes you about all Teslas, not just the P90D, is that they approach things with a different, more open mindset. While the German big three permanently mark each other, and end up feeling rather generic in their quest to keep within the brand ethos, Tesla is different.”

Tesla Motors

Credit: Tesla Motors

Via: BBC

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