Pros: Performance, class-leading tech, comfortable drive
Cons: Expensive, rivals better finished inside
Tesla opened its first ever Irish showroom in Dublin recently, and the American electric car manufacturer has been wowing the automotive world of late with several new model releases and continuous software updates. Tesla, spearheaded by tech tycoon Elon Musk, sprung to fame over the last decade thanks to appearances on the original Top Gear and following the release of cars like the Model S, which mixes high performance and technology with the best electric range of any car on the market right now. We recently took the Model S 100D for a drive on Irish roads, the middle specification option in the Model S range, to see what it is like compared to its rivals. This was a short test drive, and we look forward to bringing you a full in-depth video review very soon.
What is it like?
The Tesla Model S 100D looks like a traditional executive car from the outside, but it offers power and performance to match even the most flamboyant of sports cars. For the most part, the Model S is unassuming with its slimline front grille and headlights, along with distinctive Tesla emblems on the front and boot lid. As you walk towards the Model S, its door handles pop out electronically, and our test car has 19-inch wheels for a premium finish.
Stepping inside, a giant 17-inch touchscreen dominates the dashboard, along with a digital driver's display and various other integrated tech. The touchscreen is hugely impressive and packed with functionality, making it easy to stream music, get destinations via Google maps and to access driving features such as Autopilot. The cabin is spacious and comfortable, although the finish isn’t as good as what you will find in Audi or BMW's premium models. Practicality is excellent, with a massive 894 litres of space in the boot, which is more than most large SUVs currently on the market, and there's even a seven seat option for growing families.
The Model S is available with three different battery options, varying in capacity from 75kWh to 100kWh and all are based on a four-wheel-drive platform. The 75 kWh model (75D) offers a claimed range of up to 490 kilometres, while the larger 100 kWh model (100D) that we drove has a claimed range of up to 632 kilometres, which is triple the distance that most other all-electric mainstream models can offer! There is a range-topping P100D model which offers blistering performance credentials, with a claimed sprint time of 0-100km/h in 2.7 seconds! To put that into perspective, that is faster than any other road-going Ferrari or Lamborghini currently on sale. The 100D offers an ideal mix of performance and range, with 0-100km/h taking just over four seconds.
Out on the road, the Model S 100D is surefooted and agile thanks to its impressive all-wheel-drive system. The steering offers lots of feel and body roll is minimal, even though the Model S weighs in at well over two tonnes. Ride quality is good, although road noise is more evident at speed due to the lack of engine noise, and this worsens when larger 21-inch alloy wheels are fitted.
With prices for the new base specification 75D version starting from circa €100k, the Model S certainly isn’t cheap. What’s more, prices for the new Model S 100D start from €121,710 after incentives and fuel savings. That said, the level of equipment and technology included is matched by few of its rivals. Standard equipment in the Model S 100D includes, air suspension, an electric tailgate, keyless entry, a suite of active safety technologies, regular software updates, 400kWh of free supercharger credits and a GPS-enabled Homelink for opening and closing garage doors, amongst many other features. What’s more, Tesla offers an eight-year, infinite battery and drive unit warranty, along with a four-year limited mileage warranty.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
With a potential electric range of over 600 kilometres, and performance to match some of the best sports cars on the market, the Tesla Model S 100D is an incredibly enticing proposition. Range anxiety is a thing of the past in the Model S 100D, and tech lovers will love the seamless integration of technology into all areas of the driving experience. The Model S is highly expensive however, and despite its premium price tag, it fails to match its rivals in terms of interior build quality and finish. Despite this, the Model S is in our opinion, the best electric car currently on sale.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Tesla Model S 100D
Prices from: €121,710 (after incentives and fuel savings)