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First Day of Firsts: Review of my just delivered Tesla Model S

Discussion in 'Model S: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by bond, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. bond

    bond Member

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    #1 bond, Jul 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
    Hey!

    Today was the day i picked up my Tesla Model S, and the first day i drove it on the freeway, first stop-n-go traffic and i wanted to post a mini-review based on comparisons to cars i have driven every day for the past few years. I hope this is interesting to someone!

    MY PREVIOUS DAILY RIDES

    I drove[!] a 2007 Porsche 911 Targa 4S [manual] as my daily driver. I purchased it new in Jan 2007 and i have put over 55k miles on it since. This is by far the car i have the most experience with in the past decade, and where a number of comparison points are. Additionally, we drive a 2012 Porsche Cayenne S which tows our Airstream Trailer. This is my other comparison vector, as i put a lot of freeway and vacation miles on this car.

    THE TESLA MODEL S

    My Tesla is a Black P85 with the Panoramic roof [which is essentially the same as my Targa] + 21" tires. I have the twin chargers, tech package and sound package.

    Caveats:I am not a professional driver. I am not attempting to debate the strengths of the 911 and it's venerable history with the Tesla Model S. All feedback below is purely my immediate first-day take on this new car and how it relates for ME and MY driving habits. thanks for listening!!

    First Freeway Ride

    Ride: I drive my 911 in non-sport mode. I do this because the freeways and roads around LA suck, and the suspension is way too tight to have a pleasant drive unless you like feeling every nook/pothole/ripped up lane and enjoy bouncing up and down at 2 cycles per second. The tesla has a similar ride feel - it might be a little smoother than the 911 4S [non-sport] but not hugely so. I find this a plus - i like to feel the road beneath the car, and at least in my config i certainly can.

    Steering: When I first set up the Tesla, i assumed that i would want the steering in 'sport' rather than 'standard' and i was incredibly wrong. In Sport mode the car felt really 'squirelly' when changing lanes and accelerating. I have to tell you i was really disappointed for a few minutes..i exited the freeway, and experimented a bit and fortunately when i switched to 'standard' and entered the freeway the steering feels a lot more in line with the 911. i can accelerate and change lanes and the car goes where i want it to without feeling twitchy and overcorrect-y. for a moment i was feeling like it was the car, but it was just my inability to hold the steering wheel straight enough at speed on crap freeway with sensitivity dialed up. lets blame that on me, but in the end the S [standard mode] and the Targa both feel sporty and capable at freeway speeds for me to be happy!

    Acceleration: On a good day, i could get my 911 stick a run for its money and shift through those gears like butter. on a bad, i would bog down..chalk that up to skill - but normally the 911 feels fast and ready to go. The S is -faster- and without shifting it feels consistent. The only thing i like better is the accelerator pedal feel in the 911. Even in non-sport, it feels like less distance/movement of the pedal gets the torque up. in the S i feel like i have too much travel to get where i want..i would request there be a few sport modes to remap the pedal distance. the Sport mode in the 911 had this, but it was on/off and frankly on was too much for LA traffic [for me] so i rarely used it. I think there is likely a Comfort, Standard and Sport mapping you could use in the S. right now it feels like 'comfort' to me.

    Downshifting

    I have to say i LOVE the regen. it feels like downshifting without the work. cars should just have just worked this way from the beginning of time- this just *works*. i do agree with another poster that suggested we have a higher regen mode... it would be nice at freeway, but what i might prefer is something that scaled and was a consistent percentage of what speed you were currently moving, if such a thing were possible.
    Model S for the big win here.

    Comfort

    This is tough to write about. Lets start by comparing to the Cayenne S - i feel like the Tesla is closer to the Cayenne in comfort, with the Cayenne winning, but i would have to put more butt-in-seat time to really tell. i get sore in the 911 driving for hours [LA to Vegas] but it is doable..on the other hand while in the Cayenne I can do 4-5 hours without even realizing it.
    Some immediate notes:

    Seat bolsters - on a tight turn i seriously felt like i could slide out of the car if the door was open. I have never felt like that in the 911 or Cayenne. its possible i was taking my freeway on-ramp turn faster than i would feel comfortable in the Cayenne, so i'll discount that. The side-side sway is clearly more than the 911, and the seat in the S is less 'hugging'. Also, the Cayenne has handles, which i think will be sorely missed in the 'S' by my passengers!

    Steering Wheel - its a tad to thick for my tastes. 20-25% less would be nicer [guessing] - if anyone is familiar with the First release of the Xbox, the controllers were HUGE, and faired poorly in other markets [Japan]. i feel that the steering wheel has the same problem and could go in for a little reduction in circumference.

    Pano roof vs Targa roof

    For those not in the new, the recent 997 targas [no idea about the new 991's] that my car was the first model year for - have an entirely glass roof. i mean, other than frame. it slides back and behaves very much like the Panoramic roof on the 'S' - the main differences being that the 911 has a shade that is motorised, it slides inside the car in the 911, and that there isnt the same big black bar in the middle.

    The 911 roof feels like it is easier for the driver to see through.
    the 911 roof is like hades when the sun is out, even with the sunshade - i seriously need a hat when i do a long drive. no joke.
    The a/c in the 911 struggles due to this roof. [those caveats aside- i love the targa roof]

    The Pano roof blocks way more heat/sun - HOWEVER - it needs a damn sunshade. i'm sorry, but it just does..at least for my tastes. Don't get me wrong - i think its an improvement to the 911 in terms of sun-block [i dont believe i will ever *need* a hat with the roof closed] but i think the sunshade needs to show up.

    I havent really played with the sound/buffeting - but the 911 is amazing. serously - i was actually blown away by how bad the 991 [the new 911] and their moonroof [non-targa] was. there wasnt a position that i could find in that car without having to roll down windows to avoid the worst buffeting ever..i'll update this when i do a few hours on the freeway at 60-75 on the 10 heading to Palm Springs and tell you how it compares. Bottom line, so far so good..

    Controls

    The main UI beats the cayenne and the 911 hands down. lots of discussion on this, but no contest.
    Where are the controls for the auto-dimming mirrors? on my cars it was a button on the rear view mirror, and i can't seem to locate it. i'm not a good-looker, so its likely i've missed it.
    I miss the passing radar that's in my Cayenne. the side mirrors blink/light if its not okay to pass. it's funny how much you get used to that after you trust it. i would take that any day over parking sensors..[more on that later]
    I miss having self-folding power side-mirrors.
    other than those things, it's a clear win for the Tesla.

    Parking

    My 911 was great to park - no sensors or camera but small, great turning radius. the Cayenne feels enormous, and was painful when i started driving it - but it has backup camera + sensors. Still hate parking it.. The tesla has only a backup camera - and today i parked the car about a dozen times in different circumstances...and i have to say it's weird - because the car feels small [to me] - a LOT smaller than the Cayenne, and since i have really poor visibility in the 911 Targa [those rear pillars and glass roof housing = no visibility] and no sensors, i havent found this a problem yet. all of my parking has been right on the money - i haven't scraped anything [clearly the 911 is lower as i scrape it constantly and had to adapt how i drive] so the lesson is this: if i drive a 911 for years and then throw random hours in with the enormous Cayenne [or Vanagon driving] to mix it up, then the S just feels 'right'. So far so good.

    Stereo

    Saw a lot of discussion about the stereo. I have the deluxe/premium or whatever..and i think its great. i'm not an audiophile [clearly] but i was ready to be really disappointed. Frankly, its good. the 911 was good, the cayenne was good - all of these were way better than any other cars i've had and i really dont detect a massive difference in the S. MUCH LESS CONTROL - > definitely. I hope that control will come..but overall i'm happy. I guess when i was ready to be disappointed, i came out pleasantly surprised.

    Key

    Man, i dig the auto-present, auto-walk away. i'm sold on it. I wish the key was smaller..and the shape [IMHO] is silly. i would rather have a Werthers lozenge with no buttons as an option. Tesla: if you are listening..be different than other car companies. Give us options for fobs!
    Whatever the case, i like not having keys and having a hand free to carry whatever all the time..sweet!

    Summary

    Well, there it is. A random assortment of first thoughts from my first day with my first Tesla Model S as compared to my Cayenne and 911.
    All i know is this..in my short life, the 911 was my favourite car ever. it was reliable, it was fast, it was good looking [at least i thought so] and it was comfortable. it was an everyday sports car...and now it feels like ancient technology. If my business was the auto business, and i was a C-level exec at any other car company in the world - i would be scared as hell right now. This car - with all it's little rough edges and missing features [really? the floor mat gets blown back when i accelerate too fast? wtf?] in it's FIRST incarnation is CLEARLY the future of all vehicles.

    I told my son [14] today as he got his first ride in it that he will barely remember gasoline cars, and they will be a quaint memory.

    Now if you'll excuse me, i have to go move some money over to my old e-trade account that i havent touched in years. I have a technology company i have to invest in..

    cheers,

    bond
     
  2. DaveT

    DaveT Searcher of green pastures

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    Congrats on the car and thanks for the great review/comparison.

    I love the ending.
     
  3. AMPd

    AMPd Active Member

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    Well done Mr. Bond
     
  4. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    VIN ends in 007
     
  5. TommyBoy

    TommyBoy Member

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    What an AWESOME REVIEW! Thanks so much for posting it. As somebody who loves the 911 it was especially useful to me to hear the comparisons.
     
  6. gnelson

    gnelson Member

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    Thanks for the review. It was very interesting. I had a similar experience with my purchase, but I also had the pleasure of driving a Chevrolet Volt and being accustomed to a car being propelled by electricity (people on this forum get offended when I call the Volt an electric car). My daily driver was a 2003 Corvette Convertible with a 6 speed transmission. It was fast and I loved the acceleration, handling, shifting and top down experience. I appreciated the Bose in the Volt more than in the Corvette because the Volt was so quiet (even quieter than the Tesla P85+ - most likely due to tires). I am also not an audiophile so I can't really say if the sound package in the Tesla is better than the Bose. Many audiophiles refer to the Bose as Blows.

    I was used to the regenerative braking as I usually drive the Volt in "L" which is comparable to standard regenerative braking in the Tesla (Tesla seems to have slightly more regenerative impact).

    I have never switched the steering to standard mode on the Tesla. I compare the handling and steering to the Corvette except the Tesla is smoother with the air suspension. I had the magnetic ride suspension on the Corvette and considered it to be exceptional. I usually drove with it in sport mode.

    Since it is currently hot in Houston and my wife never really wanted to experience sun, I mostly drove with the top down if I was alone. My wife is happier with the Tesla.

    You didn't mention whether you use creep mode or not. I turned mine off. I rarely use the brake except to come to a full stop. I like that setting as it compares to the 6 speed with the clutch disengaged.

    The thing I definitely don't miss is going to a gasoline station. Even having a Volt with an ICE, I have only burned 17 gal of gasoline this year in it. The Corvette used to burn about 1.5 gal per typical day.

    The biggest adjustment from the Corvette to the Tesla was getting used to the width. I incurred some minor curb rash on the first day. I have since adjusted to the width.
     
  7. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

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    No, there's no setting for it. Are you looking for on/off (which I've heard a couple of people ask for) or adjusting sensitivity?

    I'm driving a somewhat-painful rental (out of town) right now--beware, you may not be able to completely avoid gas cars! If only someone rented Tesla Model Ss (and for a reasonable price) where I am right now....

    Anyway, great review/comparison. Even though I've had the car for almost 6 months now (!), I still like reading reviews and comparisons. No, I'm not obsessed. ;-)
     
  8. irishstoutaz

    irishstoutaz Member

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    Congrats and nice review...
     
  9. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    Yes the Model S has huge amount of accelerator pedal travel compared to anything else I've driven as well. This is so you can precisely control the amount of regen you want.
     
  10. bond

    bond Member

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    Thanks for the kudos! Some additional thoughts -

    1. Creep Mode is OFF. Just like a stick, i love it this way. I havent even tried it on, but why would i want to? Creep is a 'bug' in ICE's as far as i'm concerned. S for the win here again!

    2. Dimming Mirrors - sometimes at night on the freeway i would want dimming to be adjustable or on/off at least. having the switch has been handy in some situations, especially when idiots who drive lights/off [nighttime freeway racing] with a cut-off switch are out there. Yeah, i've seen them.

    3. Wish Tesla had a TT-30 plug for the Model S. I have an Airstream and I keep noticing homes that have TT-30 plugs, not to mention trailer parks. Some do have 50amp service admittedly, but i can see where a TT-30 would be nice. [note to self: http://evseadapters.com/adapters-for-tesla-model-s.php has one]

    4. Had my Greyhound in the S today/ Can't do that in the 911 and believe me - I even tried [once]. He loved it, and was able to hop in/out without problems [retired racer with a healed break] which is great, since he can't do that in the Cayenne.

    5. Wish the accelerator was remappable - I understand what you are saying re: REGEN, and honestly i had not considered that - but i still believe that having the ability to tweak it would be a welcome addition.

    6. Wife *loves* the car. My 911 is nearly sold, should be gone Tuesday.

    7. Wish the X could pull my Airstream because my order would be in today..

    cheers,

    bond
     
  11. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Congrats. Model X will almost certainly have towing capability but range will take a hit of course.
     
  12. wts13

    wts13 Member

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    Are there any official references of that, or just speculation? (I agree the conjecture is reasonable, just wondering if you're citing a specific source)
     
  13. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    Congrats on your new MS, everyday I learn another thing I previously did not know about it.
    Practice makes perfect, or at least better.

    Outstanding review, comparison and especially the Summary.
    It might take you a bit of time to fully recognize the genius of your car, rough edges and all.
     
  14. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I'm pretty sure Elon Musk has said so during interviews. I'll try and find a link.
    Model X--Tow capable?
     
  15. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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  16. steve841

    steve841 Active Member

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    The only disappointing part of this thread is ...

    lack of photos!
     
  17. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

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    Agreed! I thought they were mandatory? ;-)
     
  18. gnelson

    gnelson Member

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    Have you tried the sport steering setting again? I think you would really like it if you try it long enough to get comfortable with it. It would be great to see the greyhound in some of the photos that you will post.
     

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