Since its introduction in mid-2012, the Tesla Model S has forced the industry to rethink the luxury car segment. Rather than adhering to traditional model years, Tesla makes running changes as needed throughout the calendar year. The most recent changes include all models being equipped with all-wheel drive: the "75D" has a 75-kilowatt-hour battery pack, the "100D" has a 100-kwh pack, and the top-of-the-line "P100D" also has a 100-kwh pack but with more powerful motors.
The Tesla Model S comes with one of three basic powertrain choices. The base Model S comes with 75-kWh battery. The 75-kWh version is powered by a 380-horsepower electric motor and has an EPA certified range of 249 miles. The 90-kWh Model S ups the range to 294 miles. The 100-kWh version is capable of 335 miles. The 90 and 100-kWh versions come only with all-wheel drive while the 75 is available with all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive. The top of the line version is the P100D where P stands for performance. While its range is a little less than the 100D (315 miles as opposed to 335) the P100D is a seriously fast automobile.
All versions will go from 0-60 mph in under six seconds, but the Performance model is the quickest with a 0-60 time of less than 3 seconds. The Model S also handles much better than its size would suggest thanks to an extremely low center of gravity, made possible by the low, flat battery pack stored under the floor.
The interior of the Model S is as groundbreaking and unconventional as the rest of the car. Where traditional cars have a vast array of buttons and knobs on the dashboard and between the front seats, the Model S simply has a huge 17-inch capacitive touchscreen. All of the media, communication, infotainment and in-cabin controls function through this screen, resulting in an amazingly uncluttered interior.
The standard feature list is extensive on the Model S, and includes 19-inch wheels, a 200-watt stereo system, Alcantara headliner, driver seat detection sensor for start/stop functionality, LED map and rear reading lights, Wi-Fi readiness and a 17-inch touchscreen in the dashboard. The options list is also quite lengthy. A variety of charging options are available, including a twin charging system to help reduce charging times, as well as access to Tesla's "Supercharger" network, the infrastructure Tesla is currently building all around the United States. Access is optional on the base car and standard on the other models, and Tesla claims that a Supercharger station can give the Model S a 50-percent charge in just half an hour.
Other interesting options include a glass panoramic sunroof, two rear-facing jump seats, a 580-watt stereo and 21-inch wheels. An optional tech package consists of xenon lights, memory seats, a power rear lift gate, keyless entry, a high-definition back up camera, GPS navigation and electrochromic side mirrors.
Tesla has also done its best to make sure that the Model S is an extremely safe vehicle. The batteries are spread out beneath the floor of the car, actually helping to improve chassis stiffness while simultaneously lowering the center of gravity. Tesla was also able to design a front crumple zone unhindered by the need to fit an engine in the front of the car, further improving safety. Of course, safety features such as anti-lock brakes and traction control are standard, as are eight airbags.