Tesla Model S Long Range pulls further ahead of the EV pack
It's been seven years since the Tesla Model S hit the market.
That's a long time for any car to be on sale without a complete overhaul.
But in the luxury sedan world.
It's an absolute eternity.
In that time competing models from BMW.
Audi and Mercedes Benz have all been refreshed at least once and yet this car except for some rhinoplasty on the nose looks pretty much the same as it did back in 2012.
But appearances can be deceiving.
This is the new Tesla Model S long range and thanks to a new motor, new suspension and a boatload of new software tying it all together.
This car can do a whopping 370 miles on a charge.
Is that enough to help it distance itself from the competition.
One place where the Model S is clearly lagging behind his design.
It's a good thing this was such a pretty car when it was first unveiled in prototype form way back in 2009.
because not a lot has changed since then.
The longest sweeping shape remains virtually untouched, strong rear fenders a highlight but other than that, there's little to get particularly excited about here.
The new Nose introduced in 2016 is a huge improvement over the original cars Black Mock Grill, and the stands with the nasty under 19 inch wheels is good Otherwise, things are beginning to look awfully plain.
Don't get me wrong, this is still a nice looking car, but in a segment that prioritizes freshness, visually the Model S is anything but.
So a lot of the car is familiar, but there's certainly a lot that's changed and it starts with the drive train.
The Tesla Model S Long Range has a new motor, but it's only new to the Model S. It's actually borrowed from the model 3. But where that motor lives in the back of the model 3, it sits up front in a much less.
And interestingly, that's a permanent magnet motor.
Now the other model S is before use fully induction motors front end rear.
So that's the new technology brought to the model S. The differences between permanent magnet and induction motors, well, we could fill the whole video explaining that.
But suffice to say that permanent magnet motors are smaller and potentially more efficient, but they're also potentially more expensive.
So having that upfront is important because up front as we do most of your regeneration, more efficient motor up front needs more regeneration Which means more range than helps us to get to that three hundred seventy mile figure.
It also means more power up front which changes the handling dynamic of this car slightly.
And I got to say I've actually noticed a little bit more torque steer in this model S than in any other my less I've noticed before.
It's not bad but you'll definitely want to make sure you've got both hands on the wheel Before you put your right foot to the floor.
By increasing the efficiency of the car.
TESLA not only managed to get more miles out of the same old battery pack.
But also effectively increased his charging arte.
That is to say.
If you can go further with every kilowatt-hour that pack has to offer, you'll basically get more miles per minute of charging.
How many more?
Try up to 130 miles in just 15 minutes, though that will depend on a variety of factors, including the current state of charge of the battery pack, ambient temperature, and of course, the speed of the super charger you're plugged into.
On a level two charger at home, you'll still be plugging over night to top this thing off
It's also worth noting that the Model S charges at a maximum of 200 kilowatts, meaning its theoretical fastest charging speed is about 20% slower than that of the model three is 250 kilowatts.
But getting either of those speeds is contingent on finding a version three supercharger, of which there are still very few.
So that means 370 miles of realistic range in a car.
That's an awfully long time to be sitting in anything.
So, thank goodness this is a pretty comfortable place to be.
These seats are reasonably supportive and definitely comfortable But overall the rest of the interior, well I think it's time for a bit of an update.
This touch screen that was once hyper futuristic back in 2012.
Well now it's starting to look a little bit dated and overall I think this whole thing looks dated.
Tesla did just add things like Centipede and Asteroid, and a lot of other 80s games which is great.
Also in keeping with the design theme which looks.
Just like an Atari twenty six hundred with this wood grain here.
So it's time for an update on the interior.
But overall it's still not a bad place to be.
The biggest change in the new model less is actually the suspension.
New dampers on all four corners have adaptive both rebound and compression and that means the car can adjust both how hard they are to compress and how quickly they react.
You can control that a little bit through the dashboard.
Now we've got a control here that allows me to go from my comfort or a sports setting.
And the Ryan quality in either is actually far better than in the old model.
So that's a good thing.
But even more impressive is the fact that this car can react dynamically to your handling inputs in a way that it never could before, because this software control has been done in house by Tesla.
They've got a lot more control over reacting how that suspension reacts to your inputs.
So for example as I turn into a sharp corner the suspension can stiffen to minimize body roll.
Same for acceleration or for braking.
That means that Tesla engineers could use thinner roll bars and not having to manage the roll of the car in that way.
And overall the car just feel so much better than it did before.
The Model S has always been a very fast car and that generally fun car to drive.
But it never really felt poise, it never really felt comfortable being pushed into the corners.
This new one seems to settle so much more quickly coming over a crest or no hard corner.
I mean, you can get your foot down very quickly and enjoy it a lot more than before.
But that suspension also helps with the efficiency.
Yes you can toggle your car to go lower like you could before, but now Tesla's added more smart so when you go on the highway, the car can detect that and lower itself even if you're not going full highway speeds, it'll still drop itself down and give you lower wind resistance and better range.
With the new suspension Tesla now has even more control to change the car's behavior with software.
So maybe that talks jerking me down out with some RTA trickery down the road.
It sounds unlikely but we've seen so many improvements to the car's video over the year update over the years that I wouldn't put it past.
Indeed reviewing Tesla's is tricky business because they are changing so quickly.
But right now the system is present in this model s are mighty impressive from top to bottom, particularly the latest flavor of autopilot.
autopilot has progressed hugely since its initial release, and while version two was a little shaky at first The system now is impressively comprehensive, auto pilot is now standard functionality, but those who add the six thousand dollar full self-driving package get the added benefit today of navigate on autopilot which enables the car to automatically make lane changes on the highway to bypass Laura traffic and even to take the appropriate exit.
I am still extremely skeptical about full self-driving functionality coming any time soon and in the past I've recommended against this $6,000 option, but I confess that this navigate feature is awfully nice.
And with the increasingly comprehensive auto-parking functionality that extra upcharge is now worth considering.
And then there are the endless other features Tesla has added that you won't find anywhere else.
Things like century mode and even dog mode where the car will maintain a steady temperature and even put a big message on the dashboard imploring well meaning passers by and did not break the glass because the pooches inside are doing just fine.
The Tesla Model S will continue to evolve through it's constant series of auto update, but in the here and no, it's impressive how well this aging sedan still stacks up to the competition.
It still turns heads, it still has world class acceleration and it finally has the handling to match.
And then there's the range With 370 miles, this car could do almost twice with some of the luxury EVs coming to the market will be able to do.
And while it's debatable whether anybody actually needs to do 370 miles in a charge, I will say this.
I've been lucky to test a lot of EVs over the years and this is the first one that's never left me with even a hint of range anxiety.
As to the rest of the car, the interior is in dire need of a refresh.
And that [UNKNOWN] might just be a sign that this architecture has reached its upper limits.
But still, this EV will get you further and faster than anything else on the market.
And seven years on, you gotta be impressed by that.
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