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Has anyone gone from AWD Subaru -> RWD Model S?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by geoffreak, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. geoffreak

    geoffreak Model 3 Reservation Holder

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    As many of you who follow the Model 3 news know, RWD Model 3s will be produced in advance of the AWD version. I had planned on getting AWD, but being able to get my car sooner with a lower risk of losing half the tax credit is tempting. I don't live in an area that needs AWD, but after driving a Subaru for a few years, I really love the way it handles and how it always goes exactly where you point it even if you are on rough or wet terrain. Even when it rains, the car drives like the road is dry. I never have any wheel slippage in any condition.

    I've heard a lot of good things about how the RWD Model S, but I've also heard a number of bad things. Most of the discussion has been around how it performs in snow or how snow tires are all you need, but in Texas we have neither snow nor snow tires. I don't see much discussion about how it performs during dry times or in the rain. I also have yet to see any discussion about any Subaru drivers switching to a RWD S, and the differences they noticed in driving behavior.

    So is there anyone who has transitioned from a (recent) AWD Subaru to a RWD Model S that is willing to share their experience? I also wouldn't mind hearing from those that went from AWD Subaru to AWD in their Model S to hear how similar the systems are.
     
  2. derekmw

    derekmw Member

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    I've owned several Subaru WRX STI's (One in Seattle, WA where it rains/snows) and my other here in San Diego, CA. But unless I was going to the mountains where there was snow, I never really fully utilized the AWD system, even if it was in the rain here in San Diego. I find zero impact on driving a RWD MS here in CA with the mild weather. Even with the Model 3, I plan on getting the RWD model.
     
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  3. Boourns

    Boourns Member

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    This may be of limited value since it was so long ago (dear lord how'd I get so old), but I owned a new 2005 WRX about 11 years ago right out of college when I lived in Wisconsin. I kept it for a few months after moving back to Texas a few years later. Certainly on the few days a year we get ice/snow in DFW you will be worse off in a RWD Tesla. However, for the other 99% of the time you won't notice a difference, if my RWD classic S is any indication. I am more confident in the rain in my S than in my wife's FWD Volvo. So long as you don't drive like a jerk in your WRX in the rain I don't think you'll miss the AWD.
     
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  4. _jal_

    _jal_ Member

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    We own a 2016 Outback and a 2016 MS 60. We had very little snow here, but when we did it was a non-issue for the MS. I can definitely be more aggressive in the Outback, but the MS is fine. When I went RWD I heard about it from family / friends, but I have yet to regret my decision to pass on the AWD. It is so heavy and has such a low and central center of gravity and great traction control that it isn't just like a "regular" RWD car. It really is a great car.

    FWIW, the Outback is probably the best value automobile we've ever had.
     
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  5. JPUConn

    JPUConn Member

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    I have a 2016 Legacy and 2013 Model S RWD.

    Have winter tires on the Tesla and I drive it instead of the Subaru on all seasons when it's bad weather.
     
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  6. xav-

    xav- Member

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    I think RWD makes a difference in the rain. Push the throttle a little too hard in a turn and see what happens. My experience is by the time stability control and traction control kick in it's too late, and once the car becomes loose it becomes very hard to control in the rain... unlike in dry pavement where it's like a car racing video game.

    OP will definitely have to adjust his driving behavior in the rain. Mainly go easy on the throttle and minimize throttle on turns... obvious things. I don't think that should be a problem.

    OP should send a thank you note to Elon for saving him $5k :)
     
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  7. TomatoOne

    TomatoOne Member

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    Went from a manual 335i xDrive to a RWD P85. The P85 cured the problem I had with the bimmer - too much confidence. AWD lures you in, letting you think everything is going fine, still going fine, just fine... oops unrecoverable traction loss.

    The Tesla commands a lot more respect to its accelerator pedal, especially in the wet or in the snow. It's easy to get the rear end out, but you're also a lot more conscious about what you're doing, and the response it much more immediate than in any ICE car. I took it as a good thing.
     
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  8. Randaddy

    Randaddy Member

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    I sold my Stage 2 '09 STI wagon, and returned a leased Smart EV for a CPO '13 P85+ (I owned an E46 BMW M3 smg prior to that).

    The STI wagon was a super fun and practical car. The car wasn't a slouch to begin with but after the Stage 2 upgrade (mainly exhaust work and dyno tuned to 286 WHP and 305 lbft tq) it really came alive and felt quicker than the M3 I had before it. I had 265s all around on 18x9.5 wheels so grip was never an issue for such a light car. Essentially the car was fast, overly confidence inspiring, and able to haul a ton of crap at the same time.

    But I missed the refined ride quality of my slightly slower and less violent M3. The downsides to the STI was that it was force inducted (boost lag), thinly insulated for weight savings, had a fairly heavy clutch, no door insulation so any speakers/audio upgrades sound like crap, simple touch screen nav, and rental car interior. It was also terrible for commuting since it only returned something like 21 MPG. Hence the Smart EV.

    So to me the P85+ is a perfect blend of what I wanted in a car that could replace the other two. Can fit a TON of stuff inside (being able to fit my road bike inside the car w/o removing wheels was a MUST, fits 2 car seats better than the STI, powerful enough to require some driving finesse, and a great interior with features that make my daily commute much more pleasant. Its been raining like cats and dogs (for the Bay Area anyway) lately and the car's stability/traction control works so immediately that I hardly notice any loss of traction.

    One thing that stands out to me in Subaru's implementation of the AWD is how well the center differential equipped STIs rotate mid-turn under throttle application, fortunately the P85+ exhibits this response in droves. However, this car is much heavier and more expensive so I tend to drive it a little more conservatively. Ugh. Adulting.
     
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  9. _jal_

    _jal_ Member

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    I'd agree with this, but what I'd deem "conservative" driving is good enough even in rain.

    My dad has a Chrysler 300RTS (?) or something; it's RWD. I punched it turning out onto the road in front of my plant and even on dry pavement the thing was all squirrelly. I had a 540i and the thing was useless - terrifyingly so - in the snow before I got the snow tires on. Those were the kinds of experiences I was afraid of with the RWD Tesla. The advantage of the AWD is much less compared to the MS than to traditional (?) high HP RWD cars.

    I tell all my friends to buy Teslas and Subarus :D
     
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  10. tga

    tga Supporting Member

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    #10 tga, Mar 29, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
    FWIW, my experience has been the opposite. We have (among others) a 2006 Outback and a 2014 P85+. I've never had an issue with the Outback in bad weather, even if I forget to install the snows and leave the all-seasons on for the winter. With decent winter tires (I have Hakka R2's) the P85+ is great for a RWD car, but my next one will definitely have AWD.

    I have gotten in stuck in the Tesla in my driveway twice this winter (once intentional, once not) and almost a third time entering my neighborhood.
    • Intentional - I decided to see how it handled glare ice. My driveway has 2 steep uphill sections. One was covered in ice, but had bare gravel at the bottom of the steep section where it gets sun. I made it up the ice covered hill several times (if I maintained momentum and didn't stop). Once I stopped to see what happened. I couldn't get started at all; the traction control just went nuts. I needed to back down to the gravel to be able to move forward.
    • Unintentional - I stopped at the end of the driveway (I couldn't see down the street around the plow drift), and couldn't get started again (yep, another steep icy spot). I tried to back down to the flat area to get a running start and jammed the car in a plow drift and got stuck (I know, pilot error - not the car's fault). Again, traction control wouldn't let me move. I shut off the traction control and could rock the car free (and also slid the car sideways towards the center of the driveway).
    • Almost - there's a steep hill entering my neighborhood. I was coming home in a bad storm (2"/hour), and the car had a really hard time getting up the hill. Traction control was going nuts and I (think I) was losing speed.
    The next car will be a Tesla, just definitely AWD.
     
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  11. DarkMatter

    DarkMatter Member

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    I came from an older AWD Audi (1995.5 S6 Avant) with the very confidence-inspiring mechanical Quattro. The P85 is a much more interesting car to drive. It certainly does inspire less confidence in the most hairy of situations. On the other hand it can be steered with the right pedal like a proper RWD car. Since I've owned RWD cars off and on since high school, it was familiar ground for me. If you are coming from AWD and don't have RWD experience I would look for a local high performance driving school and learn about how to control the car with the throttle. You will spend much less than the cost of the AWD upgrade, and you will be a better driver in every car. Then if you are in an area that gets real winters, invest in a second set of wheels and winter tires.
     
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  12. geoffreak

    geoffreak Model 3 Reservation Holder

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    Thanks everyone for the feedback. It sounds like the consensus is that the Model S is a better RWD car than others, but still has most of the differences over a good AWD system.

    Sadly, I have only owned FWD and AWD (FWD biased) and have no experience with RWD. For me, an AWD car is much preferred because of the confidence it offers and because it is much more familiar. I know many people say that RWD cars are more fun, but the thought of the rear wheels breaking loose is not very appealing to me, especially with as much power as even the Model 3 would come with.

    I think I will be waiting for the AWD Model 3.
     
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  13. TomatoOne

    TomatoOne Member

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    I understand your concern, but I think the approach is wrong. As you move up in your car ownership, you will almost inevitably arrive to a car that has more power than it sensibly needs. The way to solve that problem is not to throw in more drive wheels (although it does help to a point), but rather learn to manage the power you have :).

    Also, as someone already mentioned before, booking a few days with a local high performance driving school helps enormously. We always attends instructed track days with the local owners club for both of us every time we buy a new car, it's a great way to learn its behavior and limits in a safe environment.
     
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  14. DarkMatter

    DarkMatter Member

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    The traction control is very good on the S. They only way it would break free for a sustained amount of time is in low traction situations which would cause trouble for even an AWD system. Given your location I would not hesitate for a second to get a RWD car.
     
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  15. geoffreak

    geoffreak Model 3 Reservation Holder

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    Haha, you all aren't making this decision any easier. I'm really on the fence here and am now leaning back towards RWD.
     
  16. TomatoOne

    TomatoOne Member

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    Have you actually driven an S? Go for a test drive, and then come back to tell us what your delivery date is :D
     
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  17. Blu Zap

    Blu Zap Grinning member

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    I love my RWD MS P85+. Yes take it easy in weather. But dang, on a dry road! Woo Hoo!
     
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  18. DarkMatter

    DarkMatter Member

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    I've found that in wet weather I need to treat it like most other cars - so I can no longer drive like I'm riding a motorcycle. It never stops being predictable. Go for a test drive, they can put the car in RWD mode and you can try it out. Or maybe there's a nearby TMC member with a RWD car you can go for a drive in. AWD gets a lot of credit when most of the really dangerous stuff is governed by the same things on every car: two wheel steering and all wheel braking. The exception is at the edge, and in really dreadful weather. If you don't drive at 100% right now and you don't drive in Midwest or Northeast weather, you're really out of almost all the times you can get in trouble.
     
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  19. YauKwan

    YauKwan Member

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    All Tesla should be awd.

    Hear me out before you all jump on me.

    Awd is better in all driving scenarios. There is no situation where one wishes they didn't have awd.

    In an ICE if you wanted awd you would get worst mileage vs the equivalent front or rear wheel drive car. You had to compromise.

    In a Tesla, with awd you get actually better gas mileage, performance and safety.

    Money aside Tesla should only have awd and should just make the D same price as non D.

    If money was a concern, probably not the right car for you.

    Ok, spiel over. Go head set me on fire :(
     
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  20. TomatoOne

    TomatoOne Member

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    But what if I want less weight and more frunk? Choice is good.
     
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