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Buying a used Model S- what must have features should I hold out for?

Littlefinger9

Member
Sep 18, 2019
28
4
Illinois
Long time lurker, hoping to pull trigger on a used S this summer. Wondering what must-haves you all recommend holding out for. Considering P85D, P90D, 100D. Budget 50-60k. Is MCU2 worth the price of a newer model? Is AP1 that bad? Would the 75D be a good way to get into a newer model without sacrificing too much in terms of range/performance? Other than maximum warranty, what else should I be looking out for? Trying to get the most bang for the buck. Plan to drive the wheels off it. Current car is a Camry with 210,000 miles on it, so you know the kind of cheap skate that's writing this. Might just go with the long range Y ultimately, but it is not nearly as sexy as the S in my opinion. Thanks- love the community here!
 

MorrisonHiker

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2015
10,336
10,162
Colorado
I'd definitely recommend the 100D as well. MCU shouldn't make a difference since you can now upgrade MCU1 to MCU2 for $2500 but I guess keep that $2500 in mind if you have two cars with different MCUs. We have an appointment for our MCU1 to be upgraded in a couple weeks. While our MCU1 is still working fine, the eMMC chip has a smaller capacity and won't last nearly as long as that of the MCU2 before needing to be replaced. MCU also adds all kinds of extra features.

We've seen some degradation with our S75D but virtually no degradation on our S100D. The larger battery means fewer battery cycles so they should last longer.
 

Akatdog

Member
Aug 4, 2019
16
8
95033
MCU1 vs MCU2 I think is moot now that it's upgradable. The bigger difference is AP1 vs AP2. I purchased mine used late last year and went with 75D Refreshed facia, AP1, MCU1. AP1 I think is going to be the main limiter as most updates now only apply to AP2 and if you plan to go FSD you're out of luck with AP1. But for me the price point was right at the time for a refreshed front end in good condition.
 

tesiono

Member
Nov 19, 2016
93
28
San Francisco
since OP mentioned performance cars, 100D wont be as fun to drive. the P85D/P90D are definitely most bang for your buck right now

MCU isnt that big of a deal, i rarely touch mine while driving. you will be using the scroll wheels most of the time.

also something to consider is that you might want free unlimited supercharging as it looks like you will be driving a lot(but those are only transferable on older cars)
 
Dec 26, 2018
693
606
TX
You're right, the S is MUCH better looking than the Y. The interior feels much nicer too. The 3 and Y just feel very very overly simplified. I know that's the whole minimalist look they're going for, but I'm not a fan of that for $60k.

Get a Facelifted P90D . Ludicrous is nice, but don't let it be a deal breaker if it doesn't have it. It's still insanely fast without ludicrous.

I'd say P90D, Premium interior, Premium sound. That should be your minimum. I'd also strongly recommend the air suspension, but if you're cheap, the old coil over shock suspension will require less maintenance, probably.

Buy used directly from Tesla, because they reset the warranty back to 4years/50k miles.

AP1 is great. I have it, and use it every day. It works well on the freeway, and I've made road trips of several hundred miles without ever turning it off. It's also fully mature, so you don't have to worry about firmware updates messing it up. It won't ever stop for stop signs or take exits, but it will change lanes when you click the indicator (a FSD feature on new cars), and to be honest I enjoy driving and it's not a "burden" actually having to make my car go using my own human foot.

You can always upgrade the MCU if you feel like watching netflix in your car is important to you - it's not to me, so I'll just have the memory changed for a couple hundred bucks down the road.

With all of that said, my priority was speed when I bought mine. I charge at home every night, so range wasn't really a worry - and I'm happy to sacrifice a few miles to go faster. Your priorities may be different, but those were mine, and it led me to my P90D.


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Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,299
7,606
Canyon Lake,CA
Agreed. For a long term owner, the 100 kWh battery is a great choice. With pre owned vehicles the price premiums for the best battery is reasonable. Later builds have faster computers, so if that is an issue for you, consider getting something with 2.0, 2,5 or the newer 3.0.
 

Akikiki

A'-Lo-HA ! y'all
Nov 26, 2012
6,527
4,885
Kaneohe, HI
These half dozen replies have already supplied the right and enough information for an excellent decision.
If you were new here, I'd say, read more on other threads. But you are a Long time lurker, so you probably have read many threads and posts without even these or more. So why are we here? :)
 

Littlefinger9

Member
Sep 18, 2019
28
4
Illinois
These half dozen replies have already supplied the right and enough information for an excellent decision.
If you were new here, I'd say, read more on other threads. But you are a Long time lurker, so you probably have read many threads and posts without even these or more. So why are we here? :)
Good point! Just want to make the right choice. The input is most appreciated. I’ve learned a lot on these forums. There’s a lot to learn and knowing the insights from those who’ve gone before me is valuable. Thanks
 

Akikiki

A'-Lo-HA ! y'all
Nov 26, 2012
6,527
4,885
Kaneohe, HI
Yep, time spent here is an investment. Some of the smartest people in the world, that own Teslas share their experiences here. Current solutions to many new and ongoing problems and more "how-to's" than any other place on the Internet for owners.
 

2101Guy

Active Member
Jan 6, 2020
2,311
3,425
USA
Good info here. My advice? Drive a 90D (non performance) first before making a decision. I came from an E55 AMG (over 500HP tuned, over 560lb/ft of torque. 180mph top speed and 0-60 4.1 seconds) to my 90D. So I was used to significant power.

The 90D did not/does not disappoint in any way. And you are coming from a Camry(much lower power). I cant put into words the levels of acceleration/performance a 90D would be for you. You could then aim for a lower mileage 2017 which is facelifted, air suspension, and capable of FSD if you desire it.

Obviously a P version is going to be even faster. I've driven and can confirm. But for day to day driving? Its going to be rare that you will even floor it on your 90D. Its just that much power and insane amounts of instant torque without waiting for gears to change, in these things.
 

Akikiki

A'-Lo-HA ! y'all
Nov 26, 2012
6,527
4,885
Kaneohe, HI
If you have absorbed the info on TMC, you have learned that cars built before Mar '17 have MCU1. Those after, MCU2. MCU2 better, MCU1 not bad, but MCU2 better. Since March this year, there's a upgrade to MCU2 that (in my opinion) is worth every dime of the $2500 cost. So, if you can afford it, get a car built after Mar '17, if not, budget for one that you can upgrade. You will be much happier. And having owned a P85 and now, a 90D, I would go for MCU2 over Performance version.
 
Dec 26, 2018
693
606
TX
Good info here. My advice? Drive a 90D (non performance) first before making a decision. I came from an E55 AMG (over 500HP tuned, over 560lb/ft of torque. 180mph top speed and 0-60 4.1 seconds) to my 90D. So I was used to significant power.

The 90D did not/does not disappoint in any way. And you are coming from a Camry(much lower power). I cant put into words the levels of acceleration/performance a 90D would be for you. You could then aim for a lower mileage 2017 which is facelifted, air suspension, and capable of FSD if you desire it.

Obviously a P version is going to be even faster. I've driven and can confirm. But for day to day driving? Its going to be rare that you will even floor it on your 90D. Its just that much power and insane amounts of instant torque without waiting for gears to change, in these things.

Actually, I agree with this. Ignore what I said before, and look at 2101Guy's insights. Coming from a Camry, the 90D will feel like a rocketship - all while giving you a bit more range. And you can save some cash by not getting a P model, while potentially getting a 2017+ model with newer AP and MCU hardware.
 
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.FP.

Member
May 13, 2020
101
18
NY
If you have absorbed the info on TMC, you have learned that cars built before Mar '17 have MCU1. Those after, MCU2. MCU2 better, MCU1 not bad, but MCU2 better. Since March this year, there's a upgrade to MCU2 that (in my opinion) is worth every dime of the $2500 cost. So, if you can afford it, get a car built after Mar '17, if not, budget for one that you can upgrade. You will be much happier. And having owned a P85 and now, a 90D, I would go for MCU2 over Performance version.

You are way more knowledgeable about this than I am, but I believe it was March 2018, not 2017 when they switched over to MCU2. They did go to AP2.5 sometime around August 2017, though.
 
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BrianS85

Member
Dec 1, 2018
124
57
San Diego, CA
I'm still torn on AP1 vs AP2. I know AP2 is supposed to be better and it has more features, but if you read through the forums it would appear that phantom braking and lane centering are still a huge problem for AP2+. Those two features (TACC + Autosteer) work beautifully on my AP1 car. I've been looking to upgrade to a facelift and I've been struggling with that decision for some time now.

I would take a look at 90Ds. They can be had in the low 50's fully optioned out with low mileage. And honestly, unless you have a long commute, I wouldn't shy away from a 75D either. Heck, I'd even consider a RWD 75 if everything else is perfect. My existing RWD 85 is fast enough for me and I don't even use the range that I currently have (though a P100D would be nice, lol).
 
Dec 26, 2018
693
606
TX
My 2016.5 is an AP1 with the Facelift front. If you want that magical combo, I believe you're looking at a car made sometime between like May and September of 2016. There are plenty of them.

You could make an argument either way on AutoPilot. I'm totally satisfied with AP1 ,and prefer to drive my own car on city streets where there's a higher risk of nabbing a curb or road debris that Autopilot (any version) might not catch.

The Intel Mobileye system in AP1 is very advanced, and well developed system - but it's fully mature and won't ever get any more upgrades in a Tesla.

AP2+ is Tesla's system is fully home grown system, so it will continue to advance. If you buy an AP2 car, you continue to get those updates.

Something to consider, though -- if you're already fully pleased with AP1, unless you buy FSD, the functional difference between AP1 and AP2 may be pretty minimal for you.
 

Akikiki

A'-Lo-HA ! y'all
Nov 26, 2012
6,527
4,885
Kaneohe, HI
AP1 will see only very minor improvements. No added features. Why bother will be Tesla's decision. AP2 will only get better and phantom braking will solved.
 

BrianS85

Member
Dec 1, 2018
124
57
San Diego, CA
AP1 will see only very minor improvements. No added features. Why bother will be Tesla's decision. AP2 will only get better and phantom braking will solved.

I agree AP1 will definitely not see any new features while AP2 will continue to get more advanced. However, their homegrown autopilot is 4 years old and STILL has reported phantom braking and lane centering issues. With how advanced the system is supposed to be in regards to learning, it's surprising that it can't distinguish a freeway overpass 100% of time. Think about all the miles being driven, all the overpasses going through the system, and it still hasn't learned properly. That seems odd to me. Don't get me wrong, I love Tesla and I wouldn't trade my car for anything other then a Tesla. But I hate that I have to trade in a properly functioning driver assist (AP1) for one that abruptly slows on the freeway (AP2) in order to get the cool new features. I really wish they would just fix that already.

Having said that, I'll likely just take the plunge on AP2 and hope it gets fixed soon. lol.
 

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