Tesla MODEL S Review: 2017 Model | MODEL S | Car Buyers Guide

Tesla Model S 2017 – New Car Review

Some of us may be too cool to admit it, but I’m not. I’ve been giddy as hell about the thoughts of driving a Tesla Model S. I like trying new things, but the problem with the Model S has been that there have been zero opportunities of driving one in Ireland. Then the press releases started coming in a few months back, with the announcement that Tesla were to open a store in Ireland. Finally, I could see a Model S on the horizon!

This week, Tesla officially opened their new store and Supercharger in Ireland. The Tesla Store, for those of you have never seen a Tesla car in the flesh, is based on Bracken Road in Sandyford, Dublin. While I’ve visited my fair share of showrooms in the past, I must say that I quiet liked the sparseness of what I saw in Sandyford. Two cars in the showroom is what’s there to welcome you. A Model S and a Model X in all their glory greet you at the door – of course, so too do the new sales people (or “product specialists” as they prefer to be called). Yes, the showroom is nice, but I wasn’t there for the nice coffee and buns. I was there to get my first spin in a Tesla, and as luck would have it, I got to have my first spin in three Tesla’s!

First up was the Tesla Model S P100d. This is the electric beast which is famed for its “ludicrous” drive mode. “What’s that?” I hear you ask. Well… by pressing a couple of buttons on the 17” touchscreen within the Model S, you can opt for this astonishingly fast drive mode. On-paper, and with the help of some launch control, it can boost you from 0-100km/h in a whopping… are you sitting down?... 2.7 seconds! Now, I tried it, I didn’t time it, but I can say that it felt really quick and it brought a smile to my face. This car certainly doesn’t have any overtaking problems.

In terms of driving, the Model S handles itself very well. Unfortunately, most of our miles in this car were limited to motorways, but from what I could gather from the few smaller roads that I drove on in the P100d, it handled itself very well. I got to drive the 90d for one hour on twisty mountain roads and I must say that its grip was excellent. There were only two things about the journey that I would change.  Because of the tyres that we were driving on, I found that a fair whack of road noise seeped into the cabin, and the other thing was that the A-Pillar is chunky, which meant that on occasion there was a want for better visibility.

Driving any Tesla is a new thing to me, and as I’ve already said, I was a bit giddy in the run up to driving the Tesla Model S. I like the fact that I still get excited about driving some cars. Funnily enough, on the day of the test drive, I could only compare how I felt driving this car to driving the big yellow 5.0 Ford Mustang that we had about 6 months ago. It was something new for me. I mentioned Americana when I reviewed the Stang, and with the Tesla, it’s what I’d describe as driving “new Americana”.

Another major stand-out fact about the Model S is it’s ginormous 17” touch screen system. It’s massive. This system can do a myriad of things, and while it may be distracting for some, the system seemed easy enough to use. A lot of its systems can also be controlled through the steering wheel with the functions appearing on the TFT screen in the driver’s instrument binnacle. Now, this TFT screen is impressive too, and it’s definitely up there with the Audi TFT display. The 17” screen controls everything including; media, navigation, communications, cabin control and vehicle data.

From this 17” screen, you can alter the suspension settings, drive settings, regenerative energy settings, and plenty more. The system is also connected to the internet and unlike other infotainment systems that we’ve used in the past, this one allows passengers to browse the internet through the screen while the car is driving. A nice touch in our test vehicle was the fully accessible Spotify account – as to whether you get full-time free Spotify as standard is a question you will have to ask if you visit the Tesla showroom.

We noted that we could only get 3G data through the touchscreen, but after questioning the Tesla Ireland staff, it seems that 4G will be available with the car in Ireland. This is important because the car can update its software automatically like with a phone. These updates come through frequently and are designed to constantly improve the Model S. We’ve been told that the car can be tethered to your home’s Wi-Fi too while charging and that owners can schedule the updates to happen during overnight or out of use periods.

Usually when I drive an electric car, I talk about range anxiety. Well, it’s not something that I see as being an issue in the Model S. We’ve been told that the official range for the P100d is 572km, while the 90d is 512km. This number will deplete if you’re driving at higher speeds on the motorway, but we fairly pushed our test cars and noted that the range never dropped dramatically.

Generally, at a car launch we would ask manufacturers about prospective sales. When I asked the Tesla employees what they reckoned they would sell between now and the end of the year, the response was very direct – “we don’t talk about sales figures”. In other words, they wouldn’t answer. However, Tesla’s way of doing things is different and new. They don’t do dealerships in the traditional sense, and they appear to play by different standards in comparison to other dealers. These tactics seem to be working for them… especially when you read about the demand for the likes of the Model 3 (which is expected at the end of this year). Of course, we will know from looking at nationwide sales figures, how actual converted sales are going within a couple of months.

Do I reckon they’ll do well in Ireland? Yes, I do. I think we’ll be surprised by the figures in a few months. I think most people who’ve heard of Elon Musk or Tesla will want to give it a test drive, or in fact, own one. A lot of Irish people are buying new cars and there seems to be a growing consumer confidence, and I think there will be many wealthy-enough people who will look at the PCP deals that Tesla has on offer. Will I be buying one? I’d love to… but I might need a raise!


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