The Good The 2012 Tesla Model S delivers extraordinary range for an electric car, along with excellent power efficiency and tremendous acceleration. A 3G data connection powers Google Maps for navigation and Internet radio. The 17-inch touch screen reacts promptly to input.
The Bad The navigation system lacks a favorite destinations list and the maps only show in one orientation (north up). The only driver assistance feature is a backup camera.
The Bottom Line The 2012 Tesla Model S sets a new standard for cars of the 21st century by integrating cabin tech equal to anything from the consumer electronics industry and incorporating a long-range, powerful, and efficient electric drivetrain.
Tesla rethinks the automobile
Tesla Motors turns our idea of an automobile on its head with the first real fruit of its labors, the 2012 Model S. The electric drivetrain takes center stage, of course, and the cabin tech takes its cues directly from the consumer electronics industry. But the Model S also challenges the way we drive.
Anticipation made it seem like the Model S was a long time coming, but Tesla took this car from development to production in record time, especially considering that the company was a startup, that the Model S was the first car built wholly by the company, and that its factory line did not exist two years ago.
The resulting sedan takes more from premium European styling than stodgy American or Japanese automotive design. The Model S looks like a modern grand tourer, its curving roofline ending up in a hatchback over the rear while rounded fenders pontoon prominently from the sides.
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