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Has Tesla lost it's focus on balanced performance?

I'm concerned that Tesla is no longer committed to delivering balanced performance. Here's what we have seen happen in the last few months with the highest performance version of the Model S:

1) In February, Tesla started delivering P85D's with the square Continental wheel/tire setup vs. the staggered Michelin PS2 combo. Not only is there 20mm less rear end rubber, the PS2 had superior dry and wet traction to the ContiSilent tires.

2) In April, Tesla started delivering P85D's with the same rear suspension as the 85D, rather than the stiffer suspension derived from the P85+. While some prefer the softer ride, performance enthusiasts want the superior high performance handling.

3) Yesterday, Tesla announced the P90D with Ludicrous mode with a .3 sec improvement is 0-60 time and a .9 sec improvement in 1/4 mile time. This announcement is solely focused on straight line performance, essentially bragging rights.

High performance sport sedans are about more than straight line performance and bragging rights. I'd like to use the additional available power exiting a corner, not just in a straight line. But with Tesla dumbing down the suspension and wheel/tire configuration of its highest performance model, that is not going to be possible.
 

gordo

Member
Jan 16, 2015
225
92
CA
Eh, I dunno. Model S is a 5k lb family sedan. There are about a hundred cars I'd put on the track before the Model S, P85D/Ludicrous or otherwise. Has anyone measured performance of the updated suspension in any objective way? Might not be all that much worse than the old plus suspension and probably rides smoother.

Staggered wheels were a pain for lots of folks.

Straight line performance is apparently a relatively easy win for electric motors and LiIon batteries so why not ratchet up the rhetoric. This is where the hearts and minds of the next-generation are won.

If you want a truly balanced supercar with track chops, there's always Ferrari, Porsche, Lambo or (soon enough) the Roadster 4.0.
 
If you want a truly balanced supercar with track chops, there's always Ferrari, Porsche, Lambo or (soon enough) the Roadster 4.0.

Yeah, I know, I own a McLaren 12C. But I'd like my daily driver sport sedan to be a balanced performer like my previous 2000 M5/2006 M5/P85+. And my concern is that the current configuration of Tesla's top-of-the-line performer is moving away from that.
 

KOL2000

Member
Supporting Member
Apr 30, 2013
310
324
San Diego
Agreed. I wish they'd bring the plus back. Aesthetically, the non staggered setup looks crappy to me - those wheel wells are so massive and the wider rears filled them up better.

I do think in another 6 months we will see something like this. They could easily charge another $10k for a handling package or something that lets you do 1G in the corners - not just the straightaways.
 

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,299
7,645
Canyon Lake,CA
Maybe they switched to the square tire fittment due to different weight distribution and handling of the dual motors.

Perhaps they did not need as much rear tire with the front wheels doing some of the pulling.

Have not heard a lot of owners complaining about poor handling.

Racers typically go to aftermarket tires and wheels to modify their cars to their specific handling requirements.

I'm not sure they switch the P of a lower performing platform. Maybe they just upgraded everyone else to the higher level.

Lots of poor tire wear on the forums. Perhaps they have made some changes to get some longer tire life.
 
Maybe they switched to the square tire fittment due to different weight distribution and handling of the dual motors.

Perhaps they did not need as much rear tire with the front wheels doing some of the pulling.

Have not heard a lot of owners complaining about poor handling.

My Feb. 2015 P85D was delivered with the square Conti setup. I drove it for a few weeks while Tesla ordered the staggered Michelin tires and switched it out for me. There was a noticeable difference in grip. I believe it has much less to do with the extra 20mm of rear rubber and much more to do with the superior dry and wet handling of the PS2 over the ContiSilent.

Racers typically go to aftermarket tires and wheels to modify their cars to their specific handling requirements.

I didn't need to go to aftermarket tires and wheels for my two M5's to get a performance tire that matched the power of the car.

I'm not sure they switch the P of a lower performing platform. Maybe they just upgraded everyone else to the higher level.

If you read this thread about pre and post April 30th P85D suspension, you would know that is not the case. Here's one of the posts:

P85D produced after april 30 do have the same air shocks, sway bar and air modules as the 70D and 85D.
Before april 30 that was different. The parts number is now the same on P85D as it always have been on 85D.

The info about sport suspension in P85D has also been removed from the design studio.

Lots of poor tire wear on the forums. Perhaps they have made some changes to get some longer tire life.

My Feb. P85D with the stiffer suspension is getting much more even rear tire wear than my P85+. Both cars are fitted with identical Michelin PS2's.


The concern I raised in my OP is based on my actual experience with the P85+, the P85D fitted with the original suspension and both tire setups, and the reports of others who have compared the two suspensions. It is not based on speculation about why Tesla dumbed down the suspension and tire setup on the P85D.
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
Moderator
May 17, 2009
18,280
162
Nevada
It might be worth having as an option but the staggered wheels is probably not suitable for the standard delivery. Unless the person buying the car has owned high performance cars with staggered setups in the past, they'll blow right though the warning on the website about the low mileage tires being used and be upset that the rear tires need to be replaced every 10,000 miles. Their problem I know but that doesn't seem to matter to them. Rotating the tires at least helps prolong the life of the tires a little.
 

sorka

Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2015
9,866
8,041
Merced, CA
Isn't it remarkable how Tesla has delivered so many different configurations that perform and handle like different cars entirely but on the exact same platform? The S85 loaner I had was a very nice cushy comfortable cruiser. The P85D from low speeds and going around on and off ramps(that are smooth) is a vicious monster with incredible performance.

On top of that, the only indication at all externally is the rear right badge and that's it. Most car companies have to add skirts, body kits, spoilers, and other stuff to make it obvious you got the performance version. Tesla doesn't play that game. I find that very very cool.
 
Isn't it remarkable how Tesla has delivered so many different configurations that perform and handle like different cars entirely but on the exact same platform? The S85 loaner I had was a very nice cushy comfortable cruiser. The P85D from low speeds and going around on and off ramps(that are smooth) is a vicious monster with incredible performance.

On top of that, the only indication at all externally is the rear right badge and that's it. Most car companies have to add skirts, body kits, spoilers, and other stuff to make it obvious you got the performance version. Tesla doesn't play that game. I find that very very cool.

+1

This allows certain cars to be daily drivers, and still play cat and mouse with Ferrari, high-end Porsche and Hellcat drivers.
How mid-bending it must be (for them) to see a 5-seater roll past and not even hear a mild engine roar/sound.

<<Would be even better if the car is de-badged, or had a "40" on it.>>
 

lolachampcar

Well-Known Member
Nov 26, 2012
6,262
8,170
WPB Florida
I think Tesla figured out they did not need the staggared setup for oversteer margin on the PD. Those fronts really do pull the front of the car around thus offloading demands on the rear.

as for tire choice, There is no value in the Tesla 21" package. You can spend 1/2 the money and get 10lb per corner lighter rims/tires with better grip and wear. Ride quality improves with 20" rims while the extra side wall agrees with the MS suspension.

Tesla is is not stupid so my guess is it is all a margin increasing marketing exercise.

Lastly, my P+ rear dampers looked like the S85 rear dampers on the Shock dyno. Only the fronts were significantly different. I suspect the difference between old and new D spec is simply front damper valving.
 
If you listen to the audio of the call Elon said that

1. for best handling the P85/90D needs staggered wheels
2. the car can pull 1g lateral on "Michelin Pilot Super Sport" tires

It's possible he made a slip up, but I doubt it.

Listen from Elon Musk announces Ludicrous Mode for Model S (2015) AUDIO - YouTube

My bet is that the P85D/P90D are going staggered again, and that the tire supply issue with the PS2s (which are effectively discontinued) has been resolved by Michelin starting to make the Super Sports in a 265/35R21 size.
 

3mp_kwh

Active Member
Feb 13, 2013
1,137
327
Boston
1. for best handling the P85/90D needs staggered wheels
2. the car can pull 1g lateral on "Michelin Pilot Super Sport" tires

I hear where Dennis is coming from, and am concerned. Like he said, something is up with the corner exits. To get to 1g, I think you just have to go in fast. Unless you are well below the traction limits, the P85D finds a limp pedal until that steering wheel is straight again. Elon Musk is really fascinating to listen to for what he casually seems to understand, but then during that call it seemed he was simply letting "1g" and "1.1g" do the talking. I was glad he is being confronted by questions, and hope he gets more. If he has a passion for driving, it wasn't showing.
 

Johan

Ex got M3 in the divorce, waiting for EU Model Y!
Feb 9, 2012
7,509
10,013
Drammen, Norway
While I do agree the ludicrous thing seems to be a lot about straight line acceleration and bragging rights - which in turn creates a lot of halo effect and positive PR/free advertising - it seems some are expecting Tesla to do the impossible: c'mon it's a 5/7 seater 2 ton sedan with a lot of luggage space. It won't drive like an M5 whatever they do.
 
While I do agree the ludicrous thing seems to be a lot about straight line acceleration and bragging rights - which in turn creates a lot of halo effect and positive PR/free advertising - it seems some are expecting Tesla to do the impossible: c'mon it's a 5/7 seater 2 ton sedan with a lot of luggage space. It won't drive like an M5 whatever they do.

Last time I checked the M5 was also a 2 ton sedan with 5 seats and a lot of luggage space.
 

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