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Tesla Model S, in Performance Plus trim, drives like a rocket on electric rails

Tesla's Performance Plus trim adds upgraded suspension elements and a 310-kilowatt electric motor to the Model S, getting it from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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1 of 33 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Model S has shown that an electric car can be desirable and practical.

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An aluminum body helps keep the weight down.

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The battery pack, either in 60-kilowatt-hour or 85-kilowatt-hour capacity, sits underneath the car.

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An electric motor, about the size of a watermelon, sits between the rear wheels.

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Sport seats include red stitching as well as bolsters that help keep the driver in place.

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The rear bench accommodates three passengers.

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The dashboard uses a simple design, dominated by the 17-inch touchscreen.

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Electric power steering can be set to Sport, Standard, and Comfort settings.

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The Model S design is very elegant, a match for any European car.

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The Performance Plus trim adds the P85+ badge to the rear of the car.

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A carbon-fiber lip spoiler is optional.

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21-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires.

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With no engine under the hood, there is room for cargo.

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Door handles automatically pop out when you approach the car.

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The Model S is a sedan with a rear hatchback rather than a trunk.

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Optional rear-facing seats include four-point harnesses and are sized for children.

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In Performance Plus trim, the Model S shows extraordinary grip.

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The Model S is designed and built in California.

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The Tesla factory does its own aluminum body-panel stamping.

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Most of the components in the Model S are manufactured by Tesla.

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Tesla designed a unique charging port, allowing fast charging at 111 amps.

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The Model S includes an adapter for charging at public stations with J1772 plugs.

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The LCD instrument panel shows this screen when you first get in the car.

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When driving, the instrument panel shows this view, with navigation on the left and driver-selectable information on the right.

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The big center LCD can be set up to show navigation on top and audio on the bottom.

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The Internet-based navigation system includes destination history and favorites.

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Tesla includes a few Internet-based audio sources.

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HD radio comes standard.

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Other audio sources include Bluetooth streaming and USB drives.

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There are two USB ports, but no iOS integration for audio.

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The Model S includes a Web browser, which can be used to show the weather, fuel prices, and other information.

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The drive settings panel lets you change the way the Model S drives.

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A rear-view camera is the only driver assistance feature.

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