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Any opinions on the D's performance in the Snow vs. non D

Discussion in 'Model S' started by EKnight47, Dec 14, 2015.

  1. EKnight47

    EKnight47 Member

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    Any opinions on the D's performance in the Snow vs. non D? I searched, but only found one person that posted something and he didn't have snow tires. Thanks!
     
  2. kf93

    kf93 Member

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    Tires are going to make far more difference than 2wd vs awd. A lot of the car magazines have done multiple tests of this and proven it. Tire rack has some good articles on the subject also. Remember that AWD might help you go vs 2wd, but it's useless at stopping. That's where snow tires really make a difference. I lived in Germany for 5 years and over there it's against the law in the winter to drive on summer tires. They don't care what drive train you have, they care about what tires you have.
     
  3. int32_t

    int32_t Tesla Spotter

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    #3 int32_t, Dec 14, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    I would think having four-wheel regen would make a difference when stopping, too. That said, whether a car has AWD or not, there's no excuse for not having winter tires in wintry conditions.

    Maybe Bjorn Nyland's experience would shed some light on the question? He has a P85 (no D).

     
  4. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    That has been my experience over the last 3 winters. My RWD Model S with Nokian Hakka R2 winter tires has been outstanding. There has never once been a situation where I thought that AWD would have made it through where my RWD wouldn't. Sure, you can't accelerate from a stop as quickly in the snow, but once underway, it's all about the tires for steering and stopping.
     
  5. EKnight47

    EKnight47 Member

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    I'm sorry, but an AWD Model S should far outperform a RWD Model S in snowy conditions. There are plenty of situations that my RWD model S could not make it through when a friends AWD Audi or Benz had no issues. I realize the benefits of snow tires. I've lived in New England my entire life. I have also had snow tires on my S85 for the last two years and while the traction is OK, I have been caught at the bottom of my driveway (a ramp to a courtyard/driveway area) more than a handful of times due to ice/snow. AWD must provide some additional benefit to uphill traction vs. a RWD vehicle with the same tires on it, no?
     
  6. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    I think what mknox was saying is that snow tires = stopping and maneuvering power, AWD = starting power. Most people think AWD gives them more stopping power, when it doesn't.


    I can't answer your question, as living in DC I have yet to need snow tires (though I know some forum members here are adamant about putting them on, even in DC). But from the last winter you guys had in MA when you were pummeled with snow, besides that one instance, how did your RWD do?
     
  7. EKnight47

    EKnight47 Member

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    I get the start/stop thing... It was the comment "There has never once been a situation where I thought that AWD would have made it through where my RWD wouldn't." I just can't believe that to be true.

    Anyway, yes - we got pummeled last year. For a RWD car, I thought it handled great! However, it didn't feel as safe and did not perform as well as the other AWD vehicles that we owned beforehand. I have to think (or like to think I guess) that the AWD Model S would outperform the Audi's and Subarus out there......
     
  8. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Let me qualify that a bit. I have the Nokian Hakka R2 tires which I find to be outstanding. I think that makes a huge difference. On two separate occasions, I happened to have Tesla loaners while mine was in for service on very bad snow days. One of the days was so bad, they didn't even get to my car in the shop because the techs couldn't get in to work. The loaners had the Tesla Pirelli winter package and they were noticeably poor compared to my car. I got stuck in my driveway with the loaner, yet my own car has no problem whatsoever in the same or worse conditions. In that situation, AWD with the Pirellis probably would have helped.

    I have had many 4WD and AWD cars. Prior to the Model S I had a GMC Envoy (4WD) and Cadillac CTS (AWD). The Caddy with AWD was great, but once the snow got to a certain height, the limiting factor was the ground clearance of the car. The Envoy could ride over deeper snow simply because it sat higher. I am going in to my 4th winter with the Model S and the last two were particularly brutal. In road/snow conditions and depths that my AWD Cadillac could traverse, I have found that my RWD Model S can handle just as well. As I say, I haven't come to a point where my Model S won't go where the Caddy would. Now there are certainly areas that I could traverse in my Envoy that I know neither the AWD Cadillac nor the Model S could get through, but again, that was due to how deep the snow is.
     
  9. JeffS

    JeffS Member

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    #9 JeffS, Dec 14, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
    I'll share my opinion on this one. I'm in WI...so...there's that...
    I have a RWD S.

    Personally, I like to keep my mechanical things as simple as possible within the boundaries of having really nice things. This isn't my first RWD performance sedan, and I can honestly say I have never longed for AWD. It's more complexity without any added benefit to me. That doesn't mean it won't have benefit to someone else. I can only speak to my own personal value propositions.

    I've never been stuck. And to me, that's the only reason to have AWD. An AWD performance sedan will be able to not be stuck in deeper snow than I'll be able to not be stuck. For me though, I've gone home and parked the car for the duration of the storm long before I would have wished I had AWD. I'm not going out in my Tesla if the conditions are so bad that I'm at risk of getting stuck. And that's not just because I don't want to get stuck. I really don't want to get hit, or hit something with my very expensive car.

    I have a full set of snow tires on separate rims like lots of folks will opine here. I run Michelin X-Ice3 tires, and am very happy with them. There tend to be 2 or 3 days per year when I sit it out. The other 362 or 363 days a year, I'm perfectly comfortable with RWD and snow tires even in Wisconsin.

    Here's where it gets fun. Ready? It's $5,000 for the AWD option. Let's say you keep your car 5 years. That's $1,000 a year to not get stuck once or twice?
    To me, it's so worth it to just sit it out and not get stuck, with $5,000 extra in options or accessories or cash in your pocket. But that's just me. YMMV.

    Also just noticed, you have an S in your sig line. Did you get stuck a lot? Last winter excluded maybe? In only ask because to me, unless you are a tippity-top-performance-car-enthusiast, that's the only reason to have AWD. If you are a regular driver of a really nice car, RWD is perfect.
     
  10. EKnight47

    EKnight47 Member

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    Thanks, JeffS

    OK...so a lot of folks with RWD Tesla's justifying why there is no need to get AWD...I get it. I've had a RWD model S that has been through 3 winters. It's good, not great.

    Now, does anyone have any true experience in an AWD in the snow?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks for clarifying, mKnox. I have snow tires as well...they do make a great difference. I didn't have a Caddy, but my old Infiniti G35XS outperforms my RWD model S in the snow.
     
  11. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    I have an 85D and live in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Northern California. I've driven it a fair amount in snow since I picked it up Feb 2015. This includes several trips over mountain passes (Donner and Spooner) during big storms with quite a bit of ice and snow on the road.
    Can't comment on the non-D versions but the 85D is completely solid in snow. It feels like it's on rails. I've never felt it slip or slide. Being in the mountains, we do have a lot of steep hills and it goes up everything as if it was on dry pavement. Flawless performance in all conditions. I have the factory supplied Pirelli winter tires... also air suspension which helps to get the car up above deep rutted snow.
    Couldn't be happier. I may not need the X which I have reserved.
     
  12. RAW84

    RAW84 Member

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    I have a P85D with snow tires, it handled GREAT through that rough winter we had imo.

    Obviously I can't compare to the RWD Model S, but I always thought my last car (a RWD c class Benz with snow tires) was good/ok, not great in the snow. It was absolutely HORRIBLE without snow tires. I don't think you'd get stuck at the bottom of your driveway with a D
     
  13. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I think I could fairly say that my AWD Cadillac "outperformed" my Model S too, but that wasn't what I was talking about. With the Caddy, I could sprint off the line in snow easily and throw the car around a bit more aggressively too. Problem is, when you do that and things get dicey, AWD doesn't do a darned thing to get you stopped any better than FWD or RWD. In some sense, AWD can lull you in to a false sense of security regarding how much traction you have. My RWD Model S does let me know when conditions are poor, but I have always been able to get through and likely have driven a bit more cautiously than I might have otherwise. That's what I meant. I haven't encountered a condition that I couldn't traverse in the RWD Model S that I believe AWD would have allowed, "performance" notwithstanding.
     
  14. ColoradoVoltage

    ColoradoVoltage New Member

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    I have some fresh and direct experience here.

    Conclusion: I feel strongly the 70D is night-and-day in the snow over my old S60, here in Colorado winter. This is with direct experience with both cars * with identical snow tires *.

    Snow tires: 245/45R-19 Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32

    In September 2014 we got a 60 (non-AWD). We were thrilled with the car. Then winter came. The car was really bad in the snow. I wish it weren't the case, but it was.

    (We keep snow tires on all of our cars--we actually had the Tesla dealer install snow tires when we took delivery of the S60 in Sep 2014).

    In my direct experience, the S60 was challenging to drive on the snow. Once we got stuck on a slight hill - at a red light--and there was like 0.5in of snow on the ground that had just fallen. Traction control was always engaging. It was very slippery. Once I even had the backend start to slip out just doing 30mph around town. Traction control kicked in, otherwise, I would have be in the curb or worse.

    This was the primary reason why I jumped at the 70D in April. There was no way we could drive this car long-term in the winter here. I didn't think twice. I got the same car, same color, same options--just AWD.

    The 70D in stark contrast, is an order of magnitude better in the snow. This is with an identical set of snow tires. This is how a car should behave in the snow (we've had several storms here in Colorado to test in). I feel much more confident in the 70D. It is simply night and day, no question about it. The car is almost as solid as my Q5 (AWD) with snow tires, which is the best car I've driven in the snow (a tank).

    My go-to test, I do every day: Pulling out of my driveway onto the snowy, icy neighborhood street--I do some solid acceleration from 0 to 25. The 70D sticks, traction control doesn't engage, and my throttle is NOT limited, the car goes--as if it's dry.

    With the S60, the limiter kicked in, acceleration was slow, tentative, traction control on, slipping and sliding. I literally had to nurse the car to start.

    I am beside myself at the difference in experience of the 70D vs 60, and am so grateful that the AWD in the 70D is so effective. We are much safer in the 70D in the snow (and I was pretty nervous before). I cannot recommend a non-D Tesla S in the snow. I can very much recommend the 70D for snow driving (with a set of snow tires). It was so important to me I took the loss on the S60 in order to be safer in the winter (and any slushy driving conditions).
     
  15. EKnight47

    EKnight47 Member

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    Awesome, thank you. That's what I am looking for...just more confidence in handling. I have driven in snow my entire life and completely understand that it's important not to be lulled into a sense of over confidence with AWD.
     
  16. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I am curious as to why you feel safer. The only "unsafe" scenario I can think of would be if you got stuck in a live traffic lane and were at risk of being hit by another car. But that seems unlikely based on my past 3 winters worth of experience. Once you're actually moving along, I think problems stopping or sliding would be the same on either 2WD or AWD (again, based on my experiences with both types of cars).

    Don't get me wrong... I would absolutely order a D if I was buying today. Mostly because I like a fully loaded (but not necessarily high performance) car. Likely an 85D or 90D. I just like to tell people that (again, in my opinion) you don't really "need" AWD, but you may very well "want" it.
     
  17. Evbwcaer

    Evbwcaer Member

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    Is it really true that AWD/4WD, more specifically having a powered front axle, does not help with steering in slippery conditions? I can't imagine how that would be the case...having powered wheels pulling you in the direction they are aimed as opposed to being just aimed but not powered.
     
  18. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I found that to be more relevant in summer conditions when I really wanted to power through corners and such. There is probably some advantage in slippery conditions too, but my feeling is that if you're driving fast enough (for the conditions) where this is a factor, you're already going too fast. I used to find with my last AWD car that because I could accelerate so well, I wouldn't realize how slippery it really was until I needed to stop or make an abrupt maneuver.
     
  19. RyanT

    RyanT Member

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    I have a RWD P85 with Michelin X-Ice3 tires. I've been up in the mountains a few times where the snow was deep enough to scrape the underside of the car. I've been able to stop/start/turn around in those situations. I feel the traction control is so good on the car you don't have to worry much about the back end breaking loose. Even with traction control off it's not bad. Yes, I've played around with it off a few times. Haven't felt like I was going to get stuck yet.
    IMG_0120.JPG IMG_0102.JPG
     
  20. EKnight47

    EKnight47 Member

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    It helps. Without a doubt.
     

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