Cooley On Cars
On the road: 2015 Tesla Model S P85DThe new Tesla Model S P85D has dual motors and autonomous drive features. Brian Cooley drives it and checks the tech.
For all its advancements, the Tesla model S was missing some pretty basic things. All wheel drive, and any kind of driver assist. They just got caught up. Let's drive the 2015 Tesla P85D. Check the [INAUDIBLE] rather quickly. Now on the outside, as you can see, these new D model Tesla model Ss are very familiar. It's what's happening underneath in two broad areas. First of all, the D tells you you got dual motors, which also rolls in all-wheel drive. Secondly, a whole new wave of autonomy. Driver assist to the degree of self-driving even is coming in phases. Let's start with the drivetrain though. Now, a Model S traditionally had a single motor at the rear driving those wheels. These new D cars add a second motor at the front to drive those wheels to the tune of 188 horse power. If you get a P or Performance model, like we have, the rear motor gets bumped way up to 470 horsepower and the front a bit higher to 221 for a massive 691 total. That gets this nearly 5,000 pound car to 60 in 3.2 seconds. Range is down but only slightly from a standard rear-wheel drive model. Overall charge time doesn't change much in the new car, with a single charger that comes built in, about eight a half hours. Option the dual charger and you get that down to about four. Tesla's super charger gets you 170 miles of range. For 30 minutes. And if their battery-swap stations come to fruition, you'll swap the whole pack in just three minutes. Now all-wheel drive comes in many flavors of course. There's that which is aimed very much at dealing with tough conditions, and that which is aimed at performance. This one is clearly looking more like a performance setup, though it's certainly going to help you when you've got lesser traction. Then there's the new autopilot. Which is what Tesla calls their Driver Assist. That means adaptive cruise that maintains speed and distance to other cars, along with the ability to come all the way to a full stop and resume. To be honest, nothing other cars didn't have a couple years ago. Ditto this car's new ability to read speed limit signs and alert you to the correct speed. Now highway lane changing is interesting, you can do it by just signaling. Our car currently just does the acceleration part for you, but automatic lane change steering is coming as well. Self-parking in a Tesla means the car not only parks in a spot that you pull alongside of, but eventually will bring itself out of that spot and to you, at least on private property [MUSIC] Now, inside the model S, nothing has changed on the P85D. Just to give you a quick refresher, these cars are laid out differently than yours. Here is the giant center LCD that can be used in one or two modes. You see Google Maps is one you'll commonly have up. Here is one that may be an eye opener, a live web browser [UNKNOWN]. That it even works while you drive. Over there, in front of the driver, is an all LCD instrument panel will your main sort of speed and range gauge in front of you. On the left you'll get navigation when you're under navigation, and then on the right, you've got about a handful of very quick shortcut menus that largely replace things that are buttons on other cars. And the media choices on these cards are similarly modern. You know, they have AM, FM, HD radio, of course, then standard, they include streaming radio, like Slacker in Tune In through a built-in 3-G radio. Interestingly, optional is satellite radio only with a pricy audio. And of course, you've also got bluetooth streaming and a couple of USB ports. For mobile devices. Now, screens that show the new features of this car are under the Controls menu. First of all, if you go to driving, here's one that's very telling, acceleration can be Sport or Insane, That takes full advantage of both motors at full. And under settings you've got what Tesla calls their Autopilot technology. And that adaptive cruise control by the way should be able to take us all the way down to zero and then back up to full freeway speed as traffic conditions warrant. Okay I'll be honest with you. If I'd done a top five improvements I wanted in the existing Model S [MUSIC] Greater performance would have been number six. Just listen on my list, these are all good performing cars. However, this is now one that has notable performance, as you saw in those 0 to 60 numbers. [MUSIC] The P85s, by the way, if they're P models, they also have an improved sports suspension, that is also highly variable in height. So combine all of that with the fact that you've got that big old belly full of battery keeping this thing planted and low centered. And it's just an amazingly grippy stuck to the Earth performance sedan. It always takes me a little time to get used to the fact that I have. The [UNKNOWN] no drive control in this car. You just have the pedal on the right, and that's it. No sport mode, no sport plus, no [INAUDIBLE] to get this and that dialed in, you just step on it harder. It's basically elegant but we're so used to having gadgetry between us and that it's a little jarring. When you drop this thing into insane mode like I showed you. [LAUGH] It's insane. How can a car that weighs nearly 5000 pounds do what that thing just did? However it's also a bit of a head thing. I would trade all of that insane mode nonsense. And all of the seconds they've shaved on the zero to 60 time for a vastly shorter battery charge. Let's not lose the real fact on electric cars. These P85Ds, which are top of the stack performance, dual motor models, are coming in at around 106,000 base, and then we would add about another 8,000 dollars in options. But due to the almost 10,000 dollars in-. In tax credits available, at least here in California, we end up actually below the MSRP but, still, not a cheap car. This technology'll also be very interesting as we see the all-wheel drive get much more accessible in the coming model X. [MUSIC] More cars driven CNET style. Standing by now at CNEToncars.com. Click on the road.