Each car is very different. I'd avoid the very early ones due to potentially bad build quality. If you went certain features, that also directs you to certain years of build. Do some research. Use ev-cpo. Great site. Good luck!
One of the things that makes Tesla as a manufacturer different from others is that there are continual adjustments and tweaks to the cars, without regard to the traditional "model year". For example, the first version of Autopilot hardware started appearing (quietly) on cars in late 2014. A minor design refresh took place starting with April-ish 2016 builds. More recently, the center screen was updated with a different (faster) CPU starting around March 2018. (These are just a few of many examples.) In general, more recent builds have better quality, although there are many exceptions to this rule.
I agree with @croman above, figure out what features you need (e.g. battery size, dual vs. single motor, performance vs. non-performance, autopilot) and that might determine the model year for you.
PS. My wife's last several cars have been a 330i, a 335d, and now a 330e. I keep hoping her next car will be a Tesla but it feels like the best way to make that happen would be to buy one, remove all the Tesla badging and stick a BMW roundel on it.
I think the major cut is when they added auto pilot hardware at the end of 2014. Lots of changes were made over the years. I don't think any year should be avoided. They never made bad cars. My pre-AP car with 160k miles has had one repair that cost me $300. That's it. Everything else was warranty or my own fault or normal maintenance (tires, air filter, wipers, ...). I'd say, a high mileage older car is a great deal as we know the batteries are holding up really well and the rest of the car is built really well. The quality issues that Tesla had in the beginning are all sorted out in the old cars.
Personally for me I would only consider the 100D Model S just because I drive so much and do many road trips that range is priority to me. I' put a 100 battery in my old car if possible
I definitely don't think they are made the same. I think just the paint job alone are different per car. My buddy and I bought our cars the same time and same specs. He sometimes have rattling in certain areas and me on other areas.
Wow thanks, guys, I remember seeing a few early Model S's and thought the panel gaps were bigger then what they should be. I'm not sure about the sub model yet, and I get that the 60,75,80,85 etc... is all about battery size, currently, I have an 11 mile RT commute to work, but I know this will change in the next 2 yrs.
So what about maintenance issues? Someone posted that they have 160K miles on their's which is very impressive, what kind of issues have people run into in regards to Maintenance on them..
I’d recommend any S made after dual motor and AP1 were introduced (Sept 2014 and newer). The newest cars are quieter, but some discontinued items like upgraded suspension in P85D, Alcantara on the dash, NextGen rear seats and executive seats, and even AP1 are arguably better than what is included in current cars.