Few vehicles in automotive history will forever remain icons for their groundbreaking innovation. The Tesla Model S falls into this category as Tesla’s first fully in-house developed model. Even with newer and better EV models hitting the market every year, the Model S could go down in history as the most important electric car ever. It proved that EVs could be desirable and commercially viable, and their success helped put Tesla on the automotive map.
Since its launch in 2012 Tesla has continuously updated the popular four-door sedan. They don’t plan to discontinue the Model S, which keeps unlocking new levels of performance, battery range and technology, with several models introduced to the lineup, including the Model S P100D and the Model S Plaid with 1020 horsepower. As with any automotive product, the Model S is not perfect. It has a lot of features to fall in love with, but it still has a few flaws that you can’t overlook if you’re looking for a high-performance Tesla car.
10 Great feature: 405 miles battery range
Over the past decade, new technological advances have pushed the capacity of EV batteries to new heights, and range fears are almost a thing of the past. Now you can travel over 500 miles per charge thanks to the 1000 horsepower Lucid Air Dream Edition. The Tesla Model S has always been at the forefront of pushing range limits, and the current model has an estimated range of 405 miles between charges.
That’s incredibly high for a performance vehicle that powers its three motors from a 100 kWh battery pack. It also has an impressive supercharger and can charge up to 200 miles of range in 15 minutes.
9 We Would Never Buy: The Yoke Steering
Tesla went for a futuristic cabin with the Tesla Model S, and while some will love it, others will complain about the lack of a traditional steering wheel. This is one of the notable changes made to the 2022 model, where the steering yoke has replaced the conventional wheel.
Tesla no longer offers a traditional wheel; you have to learn to live with these futuristic controls. The Formula 1 style steering works well on good roads in high speed maneuvers, aided by Tesla’s autopilot function, but makes it much more difficult to perform low speed maneuvers.
8 Great Feature: The Ridiculous Plus Mode
Musk and his Tesla engineers must have added a secret warp drive to the Model S. At least that’s what we think they intended to unlock with the Ludicrous Plus mode, which references the space opera parody “Spaceballs.” . The mode to unleash the full potential of the Model S debuted in 2016 and makes a big difference in the current update.
You activate the Ludicrous Plus mode by pressing and holding the Ludicrous option in the settings menu for 5 seconds. It activates the screen’s hyperspace animation and turns the Tesla into a fast beast that can launch up to 60 mph in less than 2.3 seconds.
7 We would never buy: Inconsistent build quality
Tesla cars are way ahead of the pack when it comes to the latest technological advancements and driving aids. They get full marks for innovation, but they leave a lot to be desired when they get to build the car, and the Model S is a prime example because it shows inconsistencies in build quality.
When you spend six figures on a car, you expect the best attention to detail in every inch of your car. But the Model S comes with panel holes and other questionable quality issues. Edmunds notes that some Model S cars have crooked interior pieces and misaligned doors.
6 Great Feature: Auto-Increasing Suspension
Tesla’s auto-lifting suspension is another area you can’t fault the all-electric automaker with their tireless innovation. Yes, most luxury vehicles have air suspension, which allows the vehicle to seamlessly adapt to changing surfaces and adjust the ride height accordingly. But this input needs human input, and Tesla is changing that with the Model S.
You can set the Model S suspension to automatically lower at high speeds for better aerodynamics and stability and to raise again at low speeds or through a rough neighborhood. It also remembers routes where you previously manually adjusted the elevation and does it for you the next time you use the route.
5 We would never buy: expensive to buy
In 2010, Musk promised that the Model S would offer a seven-seat EV, travel 300 miles per charge, launch to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, and start at less than $60k. It delivered on most of its promises and more, but we’re still waiting for the seven-seater Model S, and the car’s prices are skyrocketing.
The base Tesla Model S with the twin motor starts at $104,990, while the Tri-motor Model S Plaid starts at $135,990.
4 Great feature: drag coefficient of only 0.208
With a drag coefficient of 0.208, the Tesla Model S is one of the best at cheating the wind. It narrowly pulls out another slick beast in the Lucid Air, which claims a drag coefficient of 0.21. These numbers may not mean much to everyday people, but they are great for bragging rights. These numbers are more at home in an ultra-lightweight sports car than in a heavy family sedan like the Model S.
Attention to detail on all surfaces results in optimized and superior aerodynamics, improving the car’s speed, endurance, range and handling.
3 We would never buy: falls into the group 50 insurance group
Every new car falls into an insurance group’s classification, and there are fifty of them. The ratings depend on the safety level and security equipment of the car. Group 1 is the cheapest to insure, while Group 50 is at the other end of the spectrum. The Tesla Model S is a high-performance luxury sedan that unsurprisingly falls into the Group 50 category.
It’s in good company, including the Range Rover SUV, AMG GT, Ferrari 812 Superfast, Bentley Continental GT, etc. It just means more money spent on hefty insurance premiums.
2 Great Feature: 17-inch Central Display Unit
While some may find the infotainment display on the new Model S cars complicated, we think it’s one of the car’s tasty features. While getting used to the menu on the 17-inch touchscreen takes some getting used to, you soon realize it’s much easier to navigate than the older Model S cars.
It is the epitome of a tablet on a vehicle with high definition, larger graphics and a refined user interface. You also get streaming services, a web browser and the power to play video games.
1 We would never buy: Cabin doesn’t live up to price tag
At first glance, the Model S’s minimalist and futuristic interior appears flawless. That is until you jump in the car and come across some questionably cheap materials. Even with the recent refresh for a massaged look, the model leaves a lot to be desired for a car well into the six digits.
It will impress you if you desperately want to be a part of a digital future. But it is not as luxurious as a Porsche Panamera, Volvo S90 or Mercedes E-Class. Some parts feel sticky between the leather and the advanced technology.