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First test-drive impressions from Norway

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Dr.Ling, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Dr.Ling

    Dr.Ling Member

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    Norge
    I did my first test-drive of the Model S P85 yesterday in Oslo. The weather was not ideal, it was -5 C, snowing / sleet, and since it was friday at 3.30PM most of the test drive was spent sitting in rush-hour traffic. I did get to drive a few kilometres in the bus-lane on the freeway though, sliding past 2-3 lanes of standing traffic on my left. Wonderful, and a reason by itself enough to buy a Tesla, if I was living in areas with a lot of rush-hour traffic. A shame I could only use about 50% of it's max power, but I could definitely sense that the car has enormous power-reserves on tap.

    I've been spending A LOT of time browsing these forums, and pretty much knew what to expect of the car; It's big, smart, fast, smooth and beautiful. It looks really good even in silver with 19" wheels with winter tyres. I was surprised at how heavy it feels, but the slippery conditions exaggerated that feeling I guess, as the car lost traction (traction control kicking in of course) just barely touching the accelerator, and the same stepping off the acc with regen on. A 2,1 ton car wiggling it's tail does feel weird, even though I love that in a lighter car with a clutch pedal and a handbrake to aid you in controlling the slide. Driving an 1987 Toyota AE86 daily in the winter time (less than half the weight of the Model S) makes any car feel heavy and uncontrollable. I' m not used to powersteering, or stability control systems suddenly braking one wheel or the other!

    Reading others reviews I always wonder what cars people are driving or have driven in the past. I myself have never owned a newer car, but have driven a few. I own a 1990 Toyota MR2 Turbo and a 1987 Toyota AE86 coupe - lightweight, analog, tuned cars which I love. I haven't driven any of the Model S' direct competitors. Some cars I have driven: BMW 135i convertible, BMW X3, 2006 Honda CRV, 2010 Range Rover, 2011 Camaro SS convertible. Audi R8 and Ferrari 458 on track
    only. Been in the passenger seat of a 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport. I was really hoping to compare the insane acceleration of the Roadster Sport to the Model S, but wasn' able to this time around.

    The things that impressed me the most from my Model S test drive:

    - The cars feels very solid.
    - Massive torque.
    - Finding that headroom is not an issue front or rear, with panoramic roof. I'm 6'2" (190cm).
    - Adequate rear seat legroom - I tried sitting behind the drivers seat already adjusted for my driving position.
    - A very nice driving position, visibility-wise and legposition-wise.
    - No fogging observed. We were 3 in the car, and I think the blower was set to auto.
    - The displays, of course.
    - Regen.
    - Interior quality around the drivers position. The leather and stiching looks and feels nice, from the door to the dash, and especially the steering wheel. Alcantara roof lining was also nice.
    - The feel of the controls. Accelerator and brake feel is just perfect. The steering is hyper-sensitive and therefore feels precise.


    Things I found to be as expected:

    - The looks of the car. It's beautiful, but I was hoping it would look a lot more impressive in the metal than it did :(
    - Door-handles
    - Space in the trunk and frunk (the word "frunk" is not invented by Tesla by the way). I thought the trunk space would be even bigger than it was.
    - The seats felt just as mediocre as expected from reading this forum. I felt that side support of the seat-cushing was ok, but thigh support bad, and the back of the seat feels very firm, especially in the lumbar area. Is this adjustable?
    - Excessive wear on those protruding leathery parts on the B-pillar. The salesrep told me about 3000 people have sat in the car, though!
    - Sound system.
    - Indicator and cruise stalks don't feel quite right, but would be easy to get used to.
    - Rear seat comfort is no more than adequate.
    - That the rearview camera is not useful for checking blindzones.
    - Space in between front seats. I think I like it.
    - Feeling of heaviness and suspension feel. The suspension felt ok. Surely there must be a way to adjust the "hardness" (as for bump and rebound of normal dampers) of air-suspension systems as well? Not just ride height?

    What disappointed me the most:

    - No rear window wiper. Not a big deal, but would be nice on that day.
    - The top plate / "roof" of the dashboard felt loose.
    - Some areas of the interior feels cheap: The floormats. Bottom part of the seats has plastic that seem flimsy and the back of the drivers seat feels a bit loose.
    - Exposed parts of leather and alcantara trim on the B-pillar as discussed earlier. These parts are gonna wear pretty quickly.
    - The feeling of the rear of the car moving sideways just letting of the accelerator on snowy roads. It felt almost like a 2-way LSD set up for drifting, which I would love if it was in a lighter car - on track.


    The Model S P85 is still extremely desirable. And it's kind of a bargain over here in Norway, as it feels like a car that could be priced 20% higher considering the insane pricing of the competitors. Interior-wise it feels
    "almost-premium-luxury-car".

    I've been ambivalent as to if the Model S is the car for me, and the test drive didn't make me any wiser. I was hoping for a wow-moment that didn't happen because of the driving conditions maybe, but it was still a lot of fun. I
    just need a few more test-drives :)
     
  2. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    Good report; sounds about right. You just need one more test drive, on dry pavement and with light traffic: that's when you can expect the 'wow-moment'. Sort of like the mini 'wow-moments' I still experience every time I drive the S.
     
  3. Plug Me In

    Plug Me In Member

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    I reflected on the lack of a rear wiper this morning myself, but I think the mechanism would spoil the lines of the car. Rain X + use of the rear camera I think will more than make up for this. I've been happy with the comfort of the seats, although, just like with high end bike saddles, always a personal preference issue.

    As an aside, is English taught regularly in schools in Norway? I'm always impressed with the fluency of the posts from our Norwegian friends!
     
  4. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    That is interesting because I've found that the camera works great for that in combination with the outside mirrors (when set correctly using the head-wobble method). Was it because the lens was fogged with water?
     
  5. Dr.Ling

    Dr.Ling Member

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    Considering the amount of exposure to the english language, my english should be much much better than it is :)
    I think norwegian students these days start their english-classes at around 7-8 years of age, but I'm not entirely sure.
     
  6. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Your written English is better than the written English of most native speakers.
     
  7. Raven

    Raven Member

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    I've found setting the regen to low on very icy roads eliminates the "wiggle" issue when slowing.
     
  8. Dr.Ling

    Dr.Ling Member

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    Remember, I drove the car for the first time, maybe for a total of 30 minutes, in snowy weather. It was a bit fogged up also. So my experience with it is pretty limited.
    I don't know why I thought that the camera would be able to see a really wide angle, but I was hoping for that. I usually use that wobble-setup myself, so I doubt I'd use the rearview camera instead of the mirrors anyway.

    Even better: I was afraid the camera would be disabled during driving because of stupid european laws, but the salesguy said that woulnd't be the case :)

    - - - Updated - - -

    I guess I was a bit harsh to describe that aspect of the handling as "disappointing", as it was to be expected with regen on and those other electronic nanny-devices interfering.

    But compared to my analog "hachiroku" the MS was a lot more floaty than road conditions would lead me to expect. It was snow and sleet on the road, but sometimes it felt like soap, with the stability control interfering quite abruptly and unintuitively.

    This is NOT a weakness of the Model S, all cars with stability control behave like this. I have to get used to it.
    But for me, this is not what feels like being in control on a slippery surface. I'm much more comfortable with controlled oversteer, which is also a lot more fun :)
     
  9. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Where the camera is located makes it easy to get wet and dirty and then it becomes useless. It badly needs a self cleaning system. Probably the easiest to implement would be a spray of washer fluid followed by a blast of air to dry it off. Maybe just the blast of air if it was only wet and not too dirty.
     

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