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Just Became A New Model S 90D Owner. Full Review/Observations

Discussion in 'Model S' started by xrayvsn, Dec 24, 2015.

  1. xrayvsn

    xrayvsn Member

    Oct 15, 2015
    Manchester, TN
    First off, I want to say hello to all the members out there.

    A bit about me: I'm 44 yrs old, a radiologist (hence member name xrayvsn) practicing in Middle Tennesse, USA.

    Ever since I took a test drive in mid October 2015 (which amazingly was just a spur of the moment decision because I "happened to be in the vicinity") I have lived and breathed Tesla, pretty much perusing all the forums, having Google video alerts whenever a new Model S video was posted, watching documentaries on Tesla (How It's Made, and Giga Factory episodes) which helped pass the time since I placed my order (pretty much that weekend I test drove the car (it was that amazing an experience) and the time I took delivery (actually had to take delivery twice (first was the traditional delivery from the Tesla Center on Dec 19th, which I then promptly drove to the place where I got the windows tinted and had a full body Xpel Ultimate paint protective film applied (for those of you in the Nashville Area, highly recommend Rudy from Auto Armor).

    For those on the fence of buying a Tesla, I would love to share my experience and thoughts of Tesla (both good and bad) as well as the options I got.

    First off the test drive/buying process:

    As mentioned before, the test drive experience I had was amazing enough that even though I hadn't planned on doing it so soon, it made my up my mind very quickly (that and also the incentive of having the referral program (which then was set to expire end of October which added a little more urgency to the matter). I had wanted to go electric for sometime, or at least hybrid, and actually was contemplating the BMW i8. What was a major negative for the BMW was that it was not a family car, would seat 2 adults, and maybe 2 small kids in back), there was absolutely no storage space and really would not be a great daily driver in my mind. The Model S was a breath of fresh air. I instantly fell in love with the looks (kind of reminded me of an Aston Martin) and the tech appealed to me. But what sold me was once I put the foot down on the "Go pedal" and I just couldn't get the smile off my face.

    The ordering process was also a breath of fresh air versus dealing with car dealerships in the past (the previous car I drove I bought brand new, 2004 C320 Mercedes). There was no haggling, everything was straightforward. The only downside was once you placed on order, you could not just drive it off the lot, but rather had to go through a waiting period. Of course during this waiting period I immersed myself in all things Tesla as mentioned above.

    The waiting process:

    My service center and delivery specialist in Nashville was excellent, and pretty much fielded all my emails about what stage of production the car was in, etc. I did like the Tesla website which did breakdown when your car was about to enter production, when it was in cue, when it was in production, when it was being delivered, etc, but my delivery specialist was even able to give me more detailed info (which I was definitely into) such as "today is the day your car just got her paint put on, etc). On a side note, I wish the Tesla website would give its customers such detailed breakdowns on a daily basis rather than "In production" which can be the same message seen for a week.

    The Delivery:

    I think Tesla and my delivery specialist really outshone themselves in this department. I was originally planning this to be a 45th birthday present to myself in April 2016 and had been budgeting my money so I could pay it outright then. By some luck, had some extra money come in which allowed me to bump up the timeframe to immediately. There were several reasons I wanted to advance this timeframe. First was, in TN we have an electric car rebate ($2500) that had a finite amount of funds left (I think originally $680,000 was budgeted, by December there was a little over $300k left (or about 150 cars). Did not know if it was going to last till April. Also if I could take delivery before the end of the year, could claim the $7500 rebate on my taxes (again don't know if the government would decide to end that program either). And because of Christmas coming, I thought trade my birthday present and make it a Christmas present instead. I also didn't know if this was true, but the manager at my Tesla mentioned during a follow up visit that she noticed I was going to go for an April delivery and said I might get a redesigned Tesla Model S (hinting similar nosecone appearance to the Model X). Personally I prefer the traditional nose cone of the model S and didn't think the model X front would look good so that also was a reason for upping the time table.

    I told them about the change end of November and Brad (my advisor) said he would try his hardest to make it happen (also told him that I needed a week to do the Xpel body coverage and tint) which complicated things because I wanted it all done before Dec 25. Well the timing worked out perfectly and today (Christmas eve) I finally have my baby home and garaged. By the way, the week from taking delivery from Tesla and picking it up from the Xpel film center was probably even worse in terms of waiting than the production process, especially since I got a larger taste of what the vehicle could do during that brief 30 mile trip to drop it off.

    The Car:

    I ended up going with the Model S 90D Multicoat Red, Panoramic Sunroof, Smart Air Suspension, Autopilot, Ultrahigh Fidelity Sound, Next Generation Tan seats, Premium Interior and Lighting (which got me the black alacantra headliner), and 19 Inch Silver Cyclone Wheels, and Obeche Gloss interior wood. I also got the dual charging 80 amp capability, and both Front and Rear Consoles

    The Paint:

    Multicoat Red. This is the first car I ever purchased with red paint. I actually was not even considering it (all my cars have been charcoal grey/dark silver) and was thinking of going along the same lines with Tesla. Luckily I drove around the back of the service center and there happened to be a customers multicoat red tesla there and I was just amazed at the depth and richness of the color (the website pictures, and truthfully most pictures posted online really don't capture the subtle nuances of the multicoat red). On the website I thought it was going to be too bright/flashy and sort of "plasticky" look. Nothing was further from the truth. I also wanted to go with a color that contrasted with the nosecone of the tesla and this was perfect (the darker Tesla colors, although very beautiful, tended to blend in with the nosecone as a solid piece, and from afar it looks like a regular car. There is no mistaking a Tesla when you have a sharply contrasting nosecone in my opinion). I have seen on many posts that this paint was delicate and can get a lot of rock chips, etc. I tend to keep my cars long (again, last car I drove for 11 yrs) and the main reason I fall out of love with a car, like my Mercedes was the paint no longer popped, plus blemishes came up. So I figured I wanted to go big or go home and decided to do a full body wrap of the car with Xpel. It was a substantial investment but if I can keep the car looking like this a decade from now (which Xpel has warranty of 10 yrs) it will be well worth it.

    The Battery:

    I went with the 90D because it was the largest capacity available. I feel that even though maybe adding 16 miles doesn't seem like a lot especially since it was a $3000 upgrade, I thought much like all tech, go with the best you can afford because it will get outdated the last. Plus if it allowed me to drive a little more aggressively between superchargers, then the fun factor to me was worth it.

    The D:

    Again with the battery, went with the best tech available. I loved the fact that it also boosted range, not hinder it. And though it doesn't snow much in Tennessee, the thought of having 4WD to rival the best SUVs was very appealing. Oh, and faster acceleration.

    I didn't go with the Performance version of the car because I could not justify the huge jump in price just for a 1 sec drop in 0-60 time. Yeah it was fun to do on a test drive, but because of the extra cost (as well as increased insurance cost) seemed not enough for me to make that leap.

    Smart Air Suspension:

    I highly recommend it. Driving home it worked brilliantly. When I was dropping off my car for Xpel/tint, my mother who was driving the tail car on her own told me when I got out, wow, the car looks beautiful and it goes so low to the ground when you are on the highway. I personally could not tell if the car was in its lowest position (had it set automatically at 65 mph+), but she noticed it right away and said it made the car even more striking. That and its GPS specific memory which raises it to higher suspension in areas you previously needed it to, is definitely a cool wow factor.

    Ultrahigh Fidelity Sound:

    I did not have a chance to compare this with the standard sound and I am not an audiophile, but the car was definitely filled with music and everything both bass and vocals came out crystal clear.

    Con: In such a high tech car, and especially with the title of Ultrahigh Fidelity Sound, why did the developers only give us a 3 Band Equalizer?!??! It boggles the mind that they didn't give us an equalizer that would appeal to the tech geeks its customer base would come from. Clearly a miss from Tesla, hopefully there can be some software updates to rectify this.

    Premium Interior and Lighting:

    Doing a standard Tesla test drive really doesn't do this feature justice. I finally got to drive my car at night and the ambient lighting in the cabin was wonderful. LED lights under the arms of each door, the whole cabin was bathed in soft light.

    CON: I think Tesla could even do a better job if it allowed us to change the color spectrum of these LED lights to create different moods. I know the Mercedes S Class has a purplish ambient lighting system that really looks amazing, would have been nice for us to customize how we chose what color the cabin would be accentuated with.

    Next Generation Seats:

    Did not have comparison to the standard seats but based on previous video reviews of the standard seats, these offer way more side support so you don't go sliding everywhere when you really take turns with the Tesla (and who wouldn't with this kind of performance and low center of gravity?)

    Dual Charger:

    This was a last minute decision and primarily because I did get some unexpected excess funds that not only allowed me to get the car earlier but really go to town on some accessories. I figure even though most of the charging will be done overnight and a 40 amp charger would have sufficed for my commute, I might come across the need to get some quick mileage put on and this would do in a pinch. Not the end of the world if I didn't use it fully, but just to have it in case (public chargers who charge by the min that would make me get even more bang for the buck, etc).

    The Tech:

    1) Tesla App:

    I have the version for the Android, so not sure if any differences with Apple app. This is such a cool feature! When I dropped off my car for tinting/Xpel, I could still be connected with it. I could tell which doors or frunk/trunk was opened, how much charge was left. You can set the cabin temp to be ready when you do drive it. You can lock, unlock the car or turn on or off Valet mode. I also was able to use the location service to pinpoint the car (it was so detailed that I could tell when the car was inside the shop and when he moved it in the front of the shop today for me to pick it up). It's that precise (even tells you which direction the car is facing).

    CON: It would have been nice if there was an odometer reading on the app (so you can check if valet is joyriding etc). Not sure if it does this already or not, b/c I never used app when someone else was driving, but it would also be nice to show speedometer when Tesla is moving.

    2) Autopilot/Traffic Aware Cruise Control: One word: Amazing! One of the worst things of my commute to work is if there's traffic and people don't maintain speed. I like driving in cruise for my commute (35 miles) and because of various factors, always have to take it off cruise or readjust speed. With Tesla that is one major hassle completely removed. And autopilot really makes for a more relaxing experience (I drive a bit aggressively and hate people who are road hogs in fast lane, this gives me a more zen like state of driving and I'm more interested in watching how the speed changes when various obstacles are ahead now rather than doing the lane changing game which added much more stress in the commute).

    CON#1: The one thing that is a bit awkward is the auto lane change. You have to signal the turn by depressing it far. It makes the change but your turn signal keeps going and you have to manually deactivate it. Why not automatically do that? And you have to time the deactivation as well. One auto lane change I did, I deactivated it during mid lane change and the car just stopped the transition in the middle of the 2 lanes and drove straight. So I had to manually complete the change.

    CON#2: This is not really a con of autopilot/TACC but rather a miss by Tesla in technology we already have in our vehicles. The Autopilot uses cameras to maintain lane assignment. Since we already have cameras in front and back of car, why can't there be a mechanism to record this feed (maybe have a 3 hr loop of recording which gets erased unless an incident like a traffic accident or even an attempted break in with alarm activation happens. If such an event occurs, the owners (or Tesla) would have a video record of the event. Would eliminate the need for its customers to buy an unsightly dash cam to do the same thing.

    3) Auto Highbeams. This is such a brilliant idea. Love the fact that I can just leave my high beams on all time and don't have to worry about blinding other drivers (which in my old car I would constantly have to manually switch back and forth). A feature that belongs in every car.

    4) Speed limit awareness: This is another great feature that you don't know you would love till you have it. Basically Tesla cars via cameras can read Speed limit signs and the latest speed limit it encountered will then be displayed on your dash. There are countless times in past when I may have not been paying attention and the speed limit has changed without me knowing it. Now I have a constant visual reminder in my dash. Brilliant.

    CON: The tech is probably already there, would love for it to be implemented: Why not have cruise control tied into what speed limit is posted? You can set how fast you want to be going for a certain speed limit (I typically drive about 5-9 mph above posted speed limit and haven't been harassed by cops). So if it reads a speed limit of 70 mph, would like it to be set at 79 mph and all of a sudden drops to 65, would like it to automatically drop to 74 mph.

    Front Console:

    I feel this really is a must have. Although it highlights the ability of electric cars to have a flat area due to lack of a transmission well, just having a wide open exposed space in the floor for things I think really cheapens the look. The salesman said well women like it so they could put their purse there. That would drive me insane if there was a large purse there while I was driving. Plus having cellphone, coins, etc all rolling around and out in open really takes away from the clean look the rest of the car gives off.

    CONS: I got the console with Droid dock. My phone has a case and as such it can not be docked/charged properly with case on. My service guy is working on a solution, but right now it is a useless part. I can't believe they designed it without considering most customers would protect their expensive smartphones with some sort of case. I don't feel I want to take the case on and off each time I use it (as the case is tight fitting). I also do not like the fact that it only comes in Piano black. Would have been much more elegant to match the rest of the interior (obeche gloss wood).

    Rear Console:

    Not a must have, but really does make the rear look more classy rather than a larger bench seat. Not sure how often I will have rear passengers, but I feel to give them the opportunity to have cupholders and an arm rest, plus the overall improved look was worth the initial expense. This console, unlike the front console could be ordered and matched with your interior decor (mine was glossy obeche wood)

    Some nit-picky cons of Tesla:
    I am sure as I drive more than the 1/2 day I have done, I will find a little bit more but here are the ones that I find Tesla missed the mark:

    1) For some reason the seatbelt fastener on either side of the front passenger seats is awkwardly oriented. It is not easy to buckle the seatbelt in blindly, and my mother actually had to use 2 hands (one to pull the bottom holster forward and the other to place buckle in it).
    2) Sun visor mirrors are small and with no vanity lighting. My mother was the first to point this out and I can assure you that this would be a problem with people trying to fix makeup etc at night as you really can't see anything in mirror when daylight is gone.
    3) NO ITUNES/IPOD integration?!?!?!?!? This one does hurt a bit. Even in my 04 C320 I have the ability to plug my ipod through a jack and scroll through all the playlists I have. I hope that this is something that can be rectified. I know you can put all your music on a USB and have access but I don't think you would be able to have the functionality that a true ipod integration would have.
    4) Not sure if anyone has found a great product for this, but would be nice to have something for the rear trunk that would create dividers so groceries etc don't go sliding out everywhere (in my c320 I found an accessory by Mercedes that was essentially something you placed over trunk floormat, when needed can quickly assemble by putting these plastic dividers forming compartments that keep grocery bags and other small items contained.

    Well I apologize for the long novel. As you can see I am very passionate about this car as I am sure most of you are as well. Would love to hear from others with similar issues or suggestions.

    Have a happy holiday everyone

    Xrayvsn 2.jpg
  2. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

    Mar 29, 2009
    Nixa, Missouri, United States
    That is one heck of a first post! Congratulations and welcome to the forum.
  3. AMPd

    AMPd Active Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    Northern California
    Congrats and welcome!
    Regarding the app, it does show the speedometer when someone is driving, so you'll be able to see if someone is out joy riding
  4. Model S M.D.

    Model S M.D. Ludicrous Radiologist

    Oct 31, 2015
    Houston, TX
    Awesome post! I'm a Radiologist as well, so the tech aspect of the Tesla immediately drew me in. Congrats on the car, you're gonna be grinning for a very long time!
  5. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2013
    San Mateo, CA
    Congrats on your new S, and glad you are enjoying it. Your post had a good suggestion for Tesla that I don't recall seeing on TMC before. I quote it below. I hope Tesla is listening. Thanks!
    QUOTE: "This is not really a con of autopilot/TACC but rather a miss by Tesla in technology we already have in our vehicles. The Autopilot uses cameras to maintain lane assignment. Since we already have cameras in front and back of car, why can't there be a mechanism to record this feed (maybe have a 3 hr loop of recording which gets erased unless an incident like a traffic accident or even an attempted break in with alarm activation happens. If such an event occurs, the owners (or Tesla) would have a video record of the event. Would eliminate the need for its customers to buy an unsightly dash cam to do the same thing."
  6. hanl1

    hanl1 Member

    Sep 2, 2015
    Stamford, CT
    Congrats on your new Model S! Great reviews and suggestions. I've had my 85D for a little over 3 months and I share a lot of the same opinions as yours.
    One comment on your suggestion of auto adjusting cruise speed - in my opinion the speed sign reading feature is not accurate enough to be used as a guide on speed. It's more like a reference in my opinion. I'm not saying the camera is not accurately capturing the speed limit sign - it almost always is and sometimes I am surprised how it manages to catch some signs - but that the speed limit signs themselves are not always placed accurately. For example, on my way to commute there used to be a short construction area which is long gone but for some reason the speed limit sign of 15 MPH remains. To make it worse, the next regular 55 MPH sign does not come until quite some distance later. It would be annoying and likely unsafe if the model S suddenly decides to slow down to 15 MPH on a major highway.
    Not to mention that most people like myself (I hope ?!) drive some 10-15 miles over the speed limit, and I'm not sure how the government will think if you can set your car to always drive 15 miles above the speed limit.
  7. Kandiru

    Kandiru Member

    Oct 20, 2014
    Don't let euphoria make you miss nodules!? Just an internist BSing you.:tongue:

  8. bbamrah

    bbamrah Member

    Dec 22, 2012
    milwaukee, wi

    Don't worry all he has to say "Clinical correlation recommended" lol

    Excellent write up. Reminds me when I picked up my classic P85 almost 3 years ago.
  9. DCGOO

    DCGOO Active Member

    Nov 24, 2015
    Indianapolis, IN
    Most Excellent!!! I picked up my 90D in Cincinnati yesterday. Felt bad for the detail gang as I pulled out into one of the worst thunderstorms in years. At least I know the pano is intact! I Hope to take it to Nashville for a wedding in April. Just waiting for that Louisville Supercharger to come on line. Indy to Nashville is just a touch over the comfort limit at 298 miles. Maybe next month.
  10. Maaz

    Maaz Member

    Oct 6, 2014
    Very nice write up. Enjoy the amazing car. Great color choice.
  11. tstafford

    tstafford Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2015
    Nashville, TN
    Glad to see more middle-TN enthusiasts. Congrats. And great post
  12. xrayvsn

    xrayvsn Member

    Oct 15, 2015
    Manchester, TN
    Thanks everyone for the kind words and welcome . It is great to be a part of an amazing community that has like minded individuals with a passion for cutting edge technology.

    I *was also thinking of another Con about the tesla experience of delivery:


    Even though all dealerships are owned by the tesla parent company there does seem to be a wide variety of differences in how and what the experience is for each pickup:

    I have seen some videos where the tesla is kept under wraps with a cloth cover and a big reveal is done when owner picks up car. I have even seen a great touch where there is a small pedestal with the customers make and tesla printed on it like a museum display next to the hidden car

    Also some customers had a large bow on the roof of the car during presentation (kind of went in thinking this is what I would have gotten being Christmas season)

    A few people have even posted that they received were gifted tesla merchandise ranging from tesla hats to tesla shirts or mugs.

    My experience was a lot more basic. I walked into the initial showroom where my car and 2 others that were to be picked up that day were in plain sight with only a piece of paper taped to window stating to public that this was a customer car please do not touch.

    Would think since everything is owned by tesla would have similar experience for everyone. It is a major purchase and these little extras really would go a long way to show customers love for either early adopting or supporting a new company
  13. xrayvsn

    xrayvsn Member

    Oct 15, 2015
    Manchester, TN
    2015-12-25 14.41.58.jpg

    Thought members might get a kick but this is a chronologic representation of all the cars I have owned as an adult (pretty much similar color except the Plymouth breeze which I had in residency in "Barney purple" Lol
  14. Jason S

    Jason S Model S Sig Perf (P85)

    Apr 20, 2012
    Rocklin, CA
    I like the car collection! :smile:

    Regarding your 'nitpicks' --
    1) I guess I got used to it? Haven't noticed it with mine, but it might be something to do with the nextgen seats.
    2) The roof is very low to the ground, so these visors are actually the right size. Any bigger and I'd have visibility problems. Then again, maybe I just got used to it.
    3) The Bluetooth integration helps. The only other car I've had with iPod integration was so irritating in its implementation that I'd just use Bluetooth anyway.
    4) I found some folding crates that fit nicely in the extra compartment in back. They keep stuff from sliding around. Another car I had used plastic divider things that velcro'd to the rear carpet, but the type of carpet in the Tesla doesn't work with the velcro.
  15. mguw

    mguw Member

    Oct 9, 2015
    Great post xrayvsn

    Could have written the same word by word except 50 anniversary in April and 85D white instead of red.

    All the rest is the same up to delivery on Xmas eve.

  16. rjcbox

    rjcbox Member

    Sep 4, 2013
    PA, USA
    #16 rjcbox, Dec 25, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
    Despite some of the "cons" mentioned, the above findings are most consistent with many months of joyful driving. Years of pure bliss cannot be ruled out. Clinical correlation suggested

  17. jlake02

    jlake02 Member

    Dec 11, 2015
    Congrats! You've obviously worked hard and earned it. Sweet car and great post! :)
  18. SomeJoe7777

    SomeJoe7777 Marginally-Known Member

    Mar 28, 2015
    Houston, TX

    Not true, you can do auto lane change by holding the turn signal lever at the first (lane change) position, you do not have to fully depress. Move to the first position and hold it there for 7-8 clicks, which is sufficient time for the vehicle to move to the other lane and complete the lane change.

    As soon as you move the turn signal lever to the first position, you should see the blue lane marker line in the autopilot display on the side that you're moving towards turn into a dashed line instead of a solid line. If it doesn't, then auto lane change is not going to let you move because it either senses another vehicle there or it cannot determine for sure that there is actually a lane there that you can move into. In those instances either wait for the other vehicle to be clear, or wait until autopilot has acquired the adjacent lane (look for the light gray lane marker line marking the boundary of the other side of the adjacent lane).
  19. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

    Dec 25, 2011
    It is so cool to hear about experiences like this where someone just casually walks in, takes a drive and then orders and lives and breathes happy to hear this still happens as it was quite a long time ago for some of us.

    Happy to have you in the forum! Enjoy your 90D!
  20. xrayvsn

    xrayvsn Member

    Oct 15, 2015
    Manchester, TN
    To all those who are interested, I actually found out a great solution to my nitpicky #1 issue of poor orientation of the seat belt mechanism where it is hard to secure seat belt blindly. I transferred an item called the drop stop (was seen on Shark Tank and found on amazon) which is a item you put in the gap between seat and console (so you probably will need a front console). A side effect of this is that it actually brings the seat belt insert mechanism forward at perfect angle now to blindly fasten seat belt. Hope this helps

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