Tesla Model S P100D: 'Technological marvel' wows critics

Cult Californian car firm's latest family ride is faster to 60mph than a McLaren P1


Tesla has launched its new range-topping all-electric Model S P100D saloon, which boasts a faster zero to 60mph time than a McLaren P1 hypercar.

According to Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, a software update has seen the family saloon go from a standing start to 60mph in 2.34secs, shaving 0.16secs off its original time.

See more

These figures suggest the P100D is faster than a McLaren P1, the Ferrari LaFerrari and most importantly, the all-electric Faraday Future FF 91 SUV, which previously held the record for the fastest accelerating road car with 2.39secs.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

With an estimated range of 381 miles and a growing network of supercharger hubs, Tesla's offering could give supercar-level performance with practicality of a family saloon - but what do the critics think?

AutoExpress is certainly impressed, saying the "monumentally fast" P100D feels unlike anything else available on the market and offers "mind boggling" acceleration that could make drivers feel nauseous if regularly repeated.

The acceleration, which is greatly improved when the optional Ludicrous mode is activated, is assisted by the standard "Dual Motor" all-wheel drive system, which offers great traction cold and slippery conditions, the mag adds.

What makes the P100D particularly impressive is its claimed 381-mile range, AutoExpress continues, although it is widely believed that figure will "plummet" in cold conditions. Nevertheless, that's an increase of 65 miles over the "now defunct" P90D and 128 miles more than the entry-level 60D.

The P100D boasts "thoroughly impressive" performance that could "humble supercars" without polluting the planet, CarBuyer says. Ultimately, the performance is "superb" on all models, as its electric motor offers instant power that cannot be matched by petrol or diesel cars.

It is a shame, however, that the aesthetics and interior design fail to live up to its German rivals, the site adds, particularly as the front-end facelift has "detracted from the visual appeal" of its predecessor and it comes with slightly less interior space than the Mercedes E-Class.

"The Tesla Models S P100D is three cars", says Engadget: a "technological marvel" battery electric vehicle with the characteristics of a luxury saloon and the speed of a supercar.

Praising the car as "outstanding", the site says Tesla's creation has the ability to lure an array of buyers into the electric market.

While the 17ins touchscreen "controls everything" and is simple to navigate, "physical buttons" for the climate control system might be easier to use on the road, it adds. Fortunately, features such as music and voice commands can be controlled using "knobs on the steering wheel".

Autocar gives the P100D four out of five stars, highlighting its "face-bending" acceleration and extended battery range. The critic is also impressed by the "strong regenerative braking", which allows the driver to use the brake pedal less often and save battery power.

Inside, despite some some "large gaps" around the cubbyhole's lid and odd squeaks from the trim, there is an abundance of "rich feeling materials" and lots of extra storage space.

Tesla P100D: The 'quickest production car in the world'

24 August

Tesla has revealed an all-new version of its Model S electric saloon with an ingenious party trick – when it arrives, it'll be the self-proclaimed "quickest production car in the world".

Right now, the Model S can do 0-60mph in just 2.8secs – that's the car in P90D trim with additional "Ludicrous mode". This new model turns up the wick with an even more powerful electric powertrain, slashing that already astonishing time.

The Model S P100D gets a 100kWh battery pack and with the additional electric power Tesla claims it can do 0-60mph in just 2.5secs.

To put things in perspective, that's quicker than the £866,000 McLaren P1 hypercar.

Only two cars can claim faster 0-60mph times – the Ferrari LaFerrari and the Porsche 918. These were both limited run, ultra-expensive collectors' items, but because they aren't in production anymore – much like the McLaren – the crown of "fastest accelerating car you can buy today" goes to the Tesla.

Considering it's a 2.1 tonne all-electric family car capable of seating five adults and two children, the P100D is more than impressive.

Along with the headline performance figure, it also sets the bar in a parameter many of its buyers will find less fun, but is actually much more useful. With the denser 100kWh battery pack comes not just extra speed but range.

Tesla claims the P100D can do up to 380 miles on a single charge, as rated officially on the NEDC scale.

This means it's the longest-lasting mass-production electric car ever made, with a range comparable to many petrol-powered cars. Evo says a real-world range of 315 miles is more likely, but it's still a remarkable feat.

For more on cars and the latest luxury news follow @the_week_portfolio on Instagram

Prices have not yet been announced, although Tesla is offering the car to those on the P90D waiting list for £7,500 on top of the £106,000 asking price of the current range-topper.

What's more, the ultra-powerful 100kWh powertrain won't be limited to just the Model S. The Model X SUV will get it too, making for an all-electric 4x4 with a 0-62mph time of just 2.9secs – faster than the likes of the Ferrari 488 GTB, McLaren 675 LT and Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.