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I'm thinking of getting a Model S: Would you recommend it?

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by singleview, Aug 10, 2016.

  1. singleview

    singleview Member

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    Howdy! I realize the answers will/may be biased, but wanted to try to get your honest thoughts/ suggestions.

    I'm in the market for a car, and have looked at the Tesla Model S, and several others (including the Mercedes E300, BMW, Audi...). I also test drove the Tesla Model X a few days ago and loved it.

    I am down to the Tesla Model S vs. the 2017 Mercedes E300. Two fairly different cars. One a bet on all things EV and another a bet on an older ICE luxury brand that's perhaps been woken up on the tech side by Tesla's brilliance in the last few years.

    • What has your personal experience been like to OWN a Tesla Model S?
    • Have you experienced any issues (big/small)? Have you heard of challenges other Tesla owners may have had. This in particular concerns me, but others here may have different experiences in the unfortunate event of an accident: Model S Owner: Owning A Tesla Is Awesome, Until You Get In An Accident…
    • Is the Total Cost of Ownership for the Model S really comparable or less than other cars? I have seen spreadsheets etc online to this point, and I am intrigued!

    Thanks for your feedback guys!
     
  2. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    what answers do you think this would generate on a tesla owners site? I am sure if you posed the same question on an MB site all the comments would favor the mb.
    now for the answer, they are 2 very different cars. only you can decide what suits your needs.
     
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  3. RichardL

    RichardL Member

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    If you were more specific - do you commute? How far? do you do road trips? Any frequent destinations? etc. it might be helpful - otherwise it has to be a purely personal decision
     
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  4. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    One of these cars has topped the owner satisfaction surveys every year it's been available. The other didn't. :)
     
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  5. Lex

    Lex Member

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    I am disappointed, well disheartened really, when I hear and see people with resources consider a gasoline or diesel powered vehicle these days if the Model S can suit their needs. My needs are moderately demanding, though mostly in the city, and 1 year in, the Model S has been one of the best things. Ever.

    I finally get why Elon and Co. needed to make the Model S so damn compelling.

    Make it one of the best performing cars in the world (not just sedan).
    And make it the safest damn car in the world.

    Nope not enough. Can I pour volatile solvent into it ???? I really just don't get it. But I'm a tech guy, so maybe it's that tech adoption fear barrier thing that's going on. Have you seen the storage ?????????

    Though I knew I wanted the tech, I stretched to also go green, clean and efficient. My first year of operating costs:
    $60 per month approx. for power (vs $400-800 per month for my last fuel car) = $$$$ saved.
    Insurance was almost exactly the same as my 10 year old domestic.
    No repairs out of pocket. No oil changes.

    I think I did the math and figured I've taken one tanker truck off the road per year, too.

    Oh and I am saving 8 hours of time per year at the gas pump, usually at the worst possible times.

    Well you've at least come to the point of considering the Model S, so there's that. You're one step ahead.

    Are there problems, growing pains ? Yep. It's been a fun ride though, at least so far for me, and my 1 "catastrophic" issue (battery went to a low power mode but was still drivable) was dealt with swiftly "at any expense". Though sure there are some troubling stories too. Not much different from any other car since I've been on web forums, though ( at least in that respect ;)
     
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  6. Boourns

    Boourns Member

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    The Benz is the culmination of technology that has powered transportation for more than a century. It has been refined and represents the upper limits of what that technology has to offer. The Model S is one of the first vehicles built with technology that will power transportation for the foreseeable future. It is the beginning of a technological revolution. What would you rather have?

    Most people here love their Teslas because they appreciate the underlying technology, whether that is because of its environmental benefits, its innovation, or both. This, despite the fact the car has some flaws a Mercedes might not. Many of us are a mix, in varying proportions, of environmental hippies and tech geeks who are willing to spend a little more time planning and thought energy considering how we get around. If that sounds like you, there is a 99% chance you will love a Model S. If you want to get in the car, drive in ultimate luxury to wherever you are going, park it, and not think about it until you open the driver door again, you may be happier with the E Class.
     
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  7. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    Three different Mercedes E-class cars were my daily driver for most of the 18yrs before I purchased a Model S (I tried Audi for a few years). It is a solid, comfortable and reliable ride. But Mercedes has not responded to changes in technology. They have been very committed to diesel for far too long and won't recover from that for at least another 3-5yrs. It is not an organization that moves quickly. And when you buy an MB, it will never be any better than the day you drive it off the lot. Next year's model will be better, and the year after that even better, you buy a car locked into a moment in time.

    In terms of ownership cost, the MB is very expensive once you are out of warranty. The service and support are excellent, but if you hold the car past warranty you'll find you'll find yourself dropping a lot of cash just for regular maintenance, and when something breaks (and things do break), don't plan on departing the dealership for less than $2,000. But since the E-class will probably cost you $25K - $35K less than the MS, your overall cost of ownership may well be lower with the MB.

    That said, the MS and E-Class are entirely different cars. In terms of utility, the MS is more like a Porsche Panamera, it's not the same 5 passenger sedan as an E-class. The backseat of the MS is simply not as comfortable as the backseat of the E-class. However, the MS offers as much or more cargo space than the E-class which is a bit of a surprise. The MS is not perfect and you can find threads here that take issue with everything from the infotainment system (poor), to the fit and finish (fair to good), to repair problems.

    But it's really all about the driving experience. There should be no pretense of a rational decision based on economics, it's all about the driving experience. The MB is the past, the Tesla is the future. Drive them both the same day and if you're happy and comfortable with the MB experience, and will be for the next 3yrs, buy it, you'll probably save some money. Otherwise, consider a Tesla lease and invest your principal in something with a higher return. You'll enjoy the ride!

    PS: If you buy a 90D, forget about the range anxiety, it's just not really an issue any more unless you travel in some pretty remote regions.
     
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  8. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    single,
    You might guess the nature of my response by my signature but I'll give this a go.

    MS number six is on its way. This is from a family with a history of MB, Volvo, Jag and BMW. From my side, it had been BMWs for over twenty years.

    I visited a store when all Tesla had was a skateboard. If you are not familiar with the term, it describes the battery, motor and suspension bits Tesla assembled and then staged in their stores before actual cars were available. I had just recently purchased a Zero motorcycle after hemming and hawing for months about range capability when delivered, range at age and the like. What I learned from a few months of ownership was that it (the Zero) was always full in the morning and that I normally never went further than 70% of the battery. A month into ownership I stopped looking at the battery meter and came to understand that range anxiety simply did not exist.

    Back to walking into the Tesla store and looking at the skateboard. I'm a mechanical engineer. I took one look at the engineering and knew I wanted a car. I looked over at my wife who was looking at the pictures and asked if the thing was too ugly to own one. She said it was beautiful so we ordered one.

    Fast forward to a test drive event some six months later and I was amazed at the execution. The instant torque of an electric vehicle is intoxicating. That feeling of intoxication has yet to wear off some four years later. In addition, I lifted abruptly in a 65 mph sweeping turn to see how the car would react. Most cars with a higher center of gravity tend to "roll the tire over the contact patch" while the Model S felt like it was pushing the contact patch sideways. I'd only felt that before in purpose built race cars with extremely low centers of gravity. Having all that battery mass below the wheel's center of rotation makes for a very different driving experience.

    On to the reality of taking delivery of cars (five so far with number six due in a few weeks) and dealing with Tesla. First and foremost, quality on our cars has been very good. There have been a few minor issues but they were on the first two cars and were fixed very quickly. Our (my wife and my) experience with initial quality has been superb. There were some issues with friends that purchased the cars on my recommendation. One of those actually had to reject the car and have another built. He still has that car and is pleased with it. Beyond initial quality, I have had one motor assembly changed in my wife's car for the cicada noise problem but otherwise the cars have been trouble free. There is ABSOLUTELY no comparison between Tesla and any BMW, MB, Volvo or Jag my wife and I have owned when you look at ongoing maintenance or need to visit a service center. The Tesla's have been head and shoulders above all the rest. There have been much fewer visits and, when there is a visit, issues are often handled within minutes (as in, a tech walks out and literally fixes the issue). Other dealers need service tickets and billable procedures so it is impossible to get that kind of response from, say, a BMW dealer.

    On the purchasing side, there is likewise no comparison. Apart from issues described below, the over all purchase experience with Tesla is enjoyable and does not leave you feeling like you need a shower.

    As far as complaints go, I do have two issues.
    1)
    Tesla pays a lot of attention to things that have a direct quantifiable impact on quality survey stuff. If it can not be quantified in an initial quality survey, ongoing ownership survey, general vehicle satisfaction survey or it can drive a PR problem it will get their full attention. For other issues you will quickly learn that there is no one in charge and the enthusiastic inexperienced youth that Tesla prefer are running the day to day show. I've had issues with inability to properly credit trade in sales tax reductions, unwillingness to do curtesy trades, unforgivably low trade in offers while using sales tax credits as leverage and the like. These are practices that a normal dealer simply can not afford as the business would walk down the street to the next dealer who would accommodate the customer. As much as I dislike a traditional dealer's sales manager, they are decisive. Tesla is a Silicon Valley start up with a take it or leave it mentality and the monopoly to back it up.

    2)
    Tesla has taken to BS marketing of late on their performance models. They used to specifically their performance versions such that any average driver could achieve the 0-60 or 1/4 mile times. In fact, most everyone exceeded Teslas performance values. With the latest round of four wheel drive cars (late 2014 announce), Tesla put forth unattainable values for horsepower and 1/4 mile times. The very latest version of their cars, some 18 months later, are meeting or exceeding the numbers provided by Tesla at launch. The cars are incredibly high performing as shipped so it seems such a shame to over promise and under deliver.

    The bottom line for me is there is simply nothing else that comes remotely close to the car or the ownership experience. Nothing is perfect but the issues I raise above obviously do not rise to a significant concern for me as I continue to buy the product (even though I am a bit wiser in how I go about it). I would rate Tesla an absolute buy.


    I forgot to comment on the accident side of things. There have been three so far. Aluminum cars are not cheap to fix. That said, we have had no issues with the insurance companies funding the repairs when the other driver accepts liability and repair times have been in line with similar aluminum cars like the Audi.
     
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  9. Hewey

    Hewey Member

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    What? You are considering a Model S because? What about no pollution, no noise, how about 18 moving parts as opposed to thousands, no oil changes, very inexpensive to run, no dealers to rip you off, no hassle to buy?
    Comparing a Tesla to ANY ICE car makes no sense. Either you want to be off oil and gas or you don't, shouldn't be a hard decision...
    I think many of us that do own a Tesla wouldn't even consider owing anything else.
     
  10. Buddy

    Buddy Member

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    My advice??

    Click this link to save yourself $1,000 while you order your new car.

    Referral | Tesla
     
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  11. cdhowe

    cdhowe Member

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    Please note that I am a computer scientist by training, so my perspective is not mainstream.

    I came from a Mercedes Benz E320 4Matic. While it was a very comfortable experience when things were good, I eventually reconciled myself to a yearly expenditure of somewhere between $3K and $5K for maintenance over 7 years (the first 8 were under extended warranty that I bought at purchase) until I traded it for a Model S. My assessment was that the E320 was a mechanically good, but not great, car hobbled by Mercedes mediocre software. As an example, I had no fewer than 3 drive shafts installed on this car. Further, I experienced about one system software crash per year while the car was in motion due to the poor quality of Mercedes software. While the software issues didn't result in any catastrophic effects other than lighting every light on the dashboard and telling me that all the essential systems had failed, I came away from the ownership experience soured on Mercedes quality.

    The Model S is at the other end of the spectrum. It is a mechanically simple design coupled to a very sophisticated software system. The big difference is that software can be updated over time, whereas hardware can't. In my first two months of ownership, I can tell you that while the Model S software has limitations, it provides a driving experience that is head and shoulders above any internal combustion platform today and it exudes a feeling of "these guys obsessed over my safety" that I never felt in the Mercedes. No, this is not a self-driving car and you shouldn't expect it to be. But compared with any ICE vehicle made today, it is both more fun to drive and more future proof than any of its competitors.

    Re the questions you raised in your original post, the model S trades purchase price for operational cost. You will pay more up front, but once you are in the game, your operational costs are very low. As an example, I just returned from a 650-mile trip from Boston to Montreal and back. My only out of pocket operational costs were $5 in tolls in NH.

    Regarding accidents, you are absolutely right: if you crash this car, it's going to be expensive to fix. If that bothers you, buy good collision insurance, and that problem goes away. However, that point ignores an important counterpoint: the car itself will do its best to prevent you from crashing into other objects, both with autopilot and Tesla's collision avoidance system. While there are edge cases where you may still hit another vehicle, the nice thing about the Tesla is that you are likely to live through the experience and deal with the collision cost instead of simply dying in the crash. I prefer that trade-off to the alternative.

    Bottom line: buy the Model S. If you buy a different vehicle, you'll be wondering if you made the right decision. If you buy the Model S, you won't.
     
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  12. fallen888

    fallen888 Member.. hehe, I said "member"

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    For me personally, it all started with the desire to get away from ICE for gas savings and environmental benefits.

    I then looked into what EV options I had (no hybrids - go big or go home!). Much like you, @singleview I'm in PA, so the options are limited here vs west coast.

    I test drove a Chevy Volt, which gets up to <50 miles on battery and then a gas generator kicks in. So that to me is more hybrid than not. It's also a Chevy (not a fan).

    I considered the Kia Soul EV (for about an hour), even though it looks funky. But I heard it's pretty roomy inside. The deal breaker for me was the 90 mile range (and it's a Kia). My daily round trip commute is 60+ miles. God forbid I want to go somewhere else that day.. the paranoia is setting in just thinking about it.

    Point being I considered other options and came to the conclusion that Model S is the way to go. It's beautiful, smart, environmentally friendly and fast. Oh, and it's also American made.
     
  13. SoxFan2004

    SoxFan2004 Member

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    I seriously thought I'd always drive a BMW but when it came to get a new car I decided to test drive the Model S. I never looked back and doubt I ever will.

    I advise friends to not test drive one unless they're ready to buy. It's really that compelling.
     
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  14. WannabeOwner

    WannabeOwner Member

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    If you are super-critical about Fit and Finish then you will find probably fault with Tesla, compared to MB.

    If you want to be Eco then Hybrid is something you should already have finished with, IMHO. It is a bodge, which was fine when there was no decent alternative. But the next generation is now available, and definitely "decent" :)

    Here's a point to consider: what will you reply when your grandchildren say to you "You knew there was a problem with the planet, and you did nothing about it" ...
     
  15. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    I was not remotely green and normally do not react well to being shamed (even if the question asked is a fair one). I think Elon's approach of producing a compelling alternative to ICE is the right one. More is done with honey than a stick.
     
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  16. Rmsosu

    Rmsosu Member

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    Have had Audi, several BMWs, and Mb. I only had a negative experience with one. For my next car I narrowed my choices to the 2017 Mb 350, Panamara, and Model S. After much deliberation I ordered an S 3 weeks ago. Think I made the correct choice. Time will tell.
     
  17. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    Please come back a few weeks after taking delivery and share your thoughts.
     
  18. GSP

    GSP Member

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    Singleview,

    Get the Model S.

    Your only regret will be that you did not get it sooner.

    Good luck with your decision.

    GSP
     
  19. ArtInCT

    ArtInCT Always Learning

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    My Model S is spectacular in every sense of the overall experience.
     
  20. Jdcorbitt3

    Jdcorbitt3 Member

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    55,000 on S. No issues. My sentiments are similar to #lolachampcar. Get the S. I feel ICE cars over the next 5 years are going to experience an accelerated depreciation schedule, while the S schedule will shallow out. I am very disappointed other manufacturers are not already making comparable vehicles to the Model S.

    John
     

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