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Model S LR 2021 review from a long-time Model S owner

headcase

Member
Jan 23, 2015
574
1,092
Raleigh, NC
I would agree with this statement 100%

Why no triple blink on a lane changes? You have to either lightly hold and let go or click them to turn it off manually, VERY annoying!
Let me touch it for a triple blink and press for a 90 degree turn. Come on Tesla!
Try reading my review at the top of this thread. That might help you have some perspective on what we are dealing with (an alpha build).
 
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planetary

Member
Dec 29, 2018
253
541
Danville, CA
Took another drive out to the local bowling alley parking lot where Tesla keeps their cars prior to delivery prep, and examined the cars again.

...And promptly emailed my sales guy to add the 21s to my order...

Edit: sig updated. :)
 
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Dinosaurus

Member
Jun 17, 2019
40
23
Portland, OR
I would agree with this statement 100%

Why no triple blink on a lane changes? You have to either lightly hold and let go or click them to turn it off manually, VERY annoying!
Let me touch it for a triple blink and press for a 90 degree turn. Come on Tesla!
I personally hope the single blink for touch stays. I thought I'd hate it, but after I settled in, I find it much more versatile.

That said, I also thought 3 blinks was never enough on my 3. I was used to 4-5 from other vehicles. I like that I can just rest my finger on the signal and it'll go until I let off.

Also on the off chance someone brushes the button, it'd be annoying to have to wait for 3 blinks versus it just shuts off immediately. My friend bumped the turn signals and the horn while driving my Plaid, though I've never had any issue with accidental touches myself.
 

headcase

Member
Jan 23, 2015
574
1,092
Raleigh, NC
Thanks. It looks like the Plaid comes with one, but not the LR.
Correct. Plenty of OEM (eBay) and aftermarket solutions out there of the previous spoiler design. Probably will be a few months before we see aftermarket options of the new spoiler design (which is flatter and longer across).
 

mntcottjwd

New Member
Jul 24, 2021
4
3
Raleigh NC
I initially posted this in one of the massively long ordering threads for the new LR, but figured I'd repost it here separately for those interested (with minor edits)...

@jlear was nice enough to let me look at his new Midnight Silver LR with 21" rims tonight. As an existing Model S 90D owner, below are the main questions I wanted answered for myself. I hope this helps anyone on the fence about LR vs Plaid, or whether to order the refresh at all.

Is there a continuous linear pull beyond 60MPH? Without a Dragy on hand for actual numbers (sorry boys & girls), I can happily say that the refreshed LR feels like it keeps pulling equally strong from the 0-60 band than it does the 60-100 band. On previous model S cars, you feel a substantial drop-off on the upper powerbands. Not with this puppy! Much like the Plaid reviews, This. Thing. Keeps. Pulling.

If I stomp on the accelerator at 60MPH, does it provide a strong enough pull from there? For me, yes, yes, yes. @jlear was devilish enough to stomp on it without forewarning me as we drove around, and for the first time in a long while, I felt like your typical newbie who's never rode in a performance Tesla before. I found myself chuckling out loud like a 10 year old school boy... it was that good of a surprise every time he punched it. Without raw benchmarks in hand, this LR feels like a P90D / P100D while in Insane Mode, without any of the drawbacks like SoC battery dependencies. And that is without even trying Launch Mode yet. So yeah, bet your bottom dollar you can still do the acceleration party trick in this bad boy with your friends and family. Tesla may call this the LR, but I consider it a "Performance Model S LR".

With a lower State of Charge, does performance fall off like on previous models? I didn't check that, but something tells me that similar to the Plaid mode, the answer is no. Someone else will need to confirm that.

Does the car handle and ride significantly better? Much like the 2019/2020 Ravens, the adaptive suspension is much more forgiving on the bumps, but the 2021 refresh feels even better on the turns and at high-speed straightaways than what I remember on the Ravens. Someone else here said they were able to get a 2021 up on a lift and said the suspension is all new, and I believe it. I was going to put on aftermarket 20" rims just like I did on my current Model S, both to smooth out the ride and quiet the ride a tad while still looking aggressive, but I might just go with 21" aftermarket rims after this little trip. Btw, road noise is much improved with the double-paned glass, but I wouldn't say it is as quiet as a Lexus. But it is certainly better, just like previous Model S builds have gotten noticeably quieter with each passing year. I'm sure someone will do some sound level tests to measure actual differences in decibels. As for motor whine, the only time I could really hear it was when he pounded on the accelerator. Otherwise, I didn't notice it.

Does the interior feel substantially better than previous generation Model S's? Much like what was posted here, hell yes. Little things like more premium feeling materials, including the vegan leather, carpet, and alcantara all feel more plush. Even the hard surfaces have a more luxurious feel to them. Little details we all expect on a car (let alone a luxury performance car) like the door pockets, dry-cleaning hooks in the rear, and vanity lights in the visors are there. All the major gripes I've had with previous Model S generations, they've finally addressed with this generation. The now-returned ventilated front seats feel great for the warm weather here in North Carolina, and the AC really feels much more adequate too. The comfort of the front seats feels similar to the last generation, so not cushy soft as Model Y seats if you're looking for that. But the rear seats are much much more comfortable from before, not to mention a proper flip-down center console in between. When dropping the rear seats, no more cavity bump across the middle! Although the overall cargo area is still slightly pitched from front to back with the seats down, I would say it looks level enough for me to slap down my air mattress without any extra padding under the rear area, and get some solid sleep on. I don't foresee a need for a crazy expensive custom fit Tesla mattress that sucks up all the cargo space when not in use (cough cough, for those who know what I'm referring to). But to each their own.

How is the tech (displays, software, graphical interface) over previous generations? As a techie who is also big on AV, this is always a priority for me in any car. Similar to what others here have said, the displays in this model are very crisp and the brightness is much improved over previous generations. Certainly worthy of playing 4K video or current gen games in the daylight, IMHO. I'd even be curious how many Nits the front screen puts out, as it is that bright. The touchscreen has responsiveness similar to a current smartphone (perhaps just a little slower, but hey, it is a massive screen), including multitouch use. The sound system is so much more powerful than anything before in terms of loudness (for the first time in my life, I actually had to cover my ears when he cranked it... and I like it LOUD). But I won't comment on the quality of the sound until I can play my own tracks on it and tweak the equalizer to my liking. I could imagine doing a swap out of the subwoofer while still using the stock enclosure, similar to what I've done on my existing Model S. But that is still to be determined.

All that said, as most know, the software is raw. Feels more like an alpha build to me than a beta release, given stability seems lacking (e.g MCU reboots, phone as key not working, etc.). Let alone the features stated in the owner's manual that are currently absent. But for those who've never owned a Tesla before, my only advice is to not obsess over that now. The car is bleeding edge when it comes to tech. Just enjoy the car. When the software updates roll out from Tesla, these things will be incrementally addressed, and even new unannounced features will probably come about like usual.

Does the exterior look substantially better than previous generation Model S's? I was able to look at two refresh Model S cars today, one in black and the other Midnight Silver. Photos don't do it justice. You need to see it in person to really appreciate the changes. Little things like the fog lights and the more aggressive body styling around the wheels make a world of difference. The massively wide 295 tires in the rear (and usually only seen OEM on ultra-performance cars) make the car look sick too. Yes, the LR means business just like the Plaid. Lastly, as someone who has chrome-deleted my last two cars, I certainly think the black trim on this refresh is the biggest improvement over the previous generations. We're not driving your grandfather's 1955 Caddy anymore, folks! That said, as to whether I will chrome-delete the Tesla emblems on my forthcoming white LR or leave them as is, I'm actually still on the fence.

Will I miss anything in particular with the previous generations of Model S's? Absolutely. The ability to open that massive sunroof on those pleasant weather days. Unlimited free charging on long road trips, just so I don't have to think about it. And I'm still on the fence about no more steering wheel and stalks. I love the look of the yoke and it feels great in the hand, but like others here, I will probably dread what that means in daily use until I've driven it a week or two. I've seen the complaints about taking turns, but even more complaints about trying to use the buttons in absence of stalks. Or even accidentally pressing the buttons. So that yoke is still a big question mark for me. At least I can "hit the horn" without looking for the little button (tip: place your hand over the right set of buttons). Just hope I can do that successfully while the yoke is turning!

Hope this helps folks. On a related note, my Dragy arrives tomorrow. So if anyone in the Raleigh area wants to benchmark their Plaid or LR with a few runs, let me know!
Thanks for the info. I am scheduled to pick up my S LR in Raleigh the second week in Sept. I have the VIN. So I hope it shows up. The date moved from Sept to December to Sept with a VIN over three weeks.
 

headcase

Member
Jan 23, 2015
574
1,092
Raleigh, NC
Thanks for the info. I am scheduled to pick up my S LR in Raleigh the second week in Sept. I have the VIN. So I hope it shows up. The date moved from Sept to December to Sept with a VIN over three weeks.
My SA at the Raleigh location said the incoming refreshes have been pretty clean so far. Mine was flawless. Hope yours is too!

Btw, I was there today again to pick up something, and for the second day in a row the lot was packed with new Tesla models of all types. Looks like the spigot has really opened up.
 
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mntcottjwd

New Member
Jul 24, 2021
4
3
Raleigh NC
My SA at the Raleigh location said the incoming refreshes have been pretty clean so far. Mine was flawless. Hope yours is too!

Btw, I was there today again to pick up something, and for the second day in a row the lot was packed with new Tesla models of all types. Looks like the spigot has really opened up.
Thanks,
Good to hear flawless.
 

funchess

Member
Apr 28, 2017
26
30
Bay Area
Took another drive out to the local bowling alley parking lot where Tesla keeps their cars prior to delivery prep, and examined the cars again.

...And promptly emailed my sales guy to add the 21s to my order...

Edit: sig updated. :)
Which Bowling alley is this? Dublin bowl? Thanks
 

DaveVa

Sig Perf #236 VIN #484
May 31, 2011
296
21
Northern Virginia
Any soft close doors?

How is the sound proofing?

Is the phone charger wireless and the phone visible/usable while charging?

Is the new LR a downgrade in any respect from a Raven performance?
Note the Frunk has shrunk once again - I had the original Model S that would fit full sized luggage, then a 2018 that would fit a piece of carry on luggage - New 2021 refresh frunk is just a small pocket for miscellaneous items (mobile charger etc.)
 
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roblab

Active Member
Jul 15, 2008
3,687
3,201
Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
Thanks. It looks like the Plaid comes with one, but not the LR.
A spoiler is supposed to add downward force to the rear of the car, which is unnecessary with four wheel drive. It does nothing for increasing range, so it would seem it would not be something to add to the LR. There is some thought that the spoiler is simply for looks, so teenage drivers near you might think you have so much power you need a spoiler to hold the car down. Personally, I prefer to have no hints of what my car can do. The LR can beat just about every car around here off the line at the light -- I had a simple race with a loud Honda this morning leaving him behind of course. I even removed the "Dual Motor" insignia on the trunk lid. Bye-bye!
 

planetary

Member
Dec 29, 2018
253
541
Danville, CA
Note the Frunk has shrunk once again - I had the original Model S that would fit full sized luggage, then a 2018 that would fit a piece of carry on luggage - New 2021 refresh frunk is just a small pocket for miscellaneous items (mobile charger etc.)
Give me a moment while I flip several pages through the stack-ranked Problems and Issues List down to where this item is located... ;)
 
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Beasts

Member
Sep 20, 2021
7
5
NW Ohio
After reading many of the responses in this thread I'm not sure how to feel about our new S. This from someone who has never owned or driven a true performance vehicle in his life. Currently we have a Honda Civic and and a Ford E350 Econoline. I'm not sure whether to be incredibly excited or scared half to death - possibly both! Less than a week till delivery. I drove a 3 for a test drive and felt like I should use my pinky finger on the accelerator but it would have been quite a long reach.
Seriously it looks like the LR will be everything I've hoped for and more. I will willingly accept the challenge presented by the yolk and make the best of it. I can't remember the last time I made a 3 point turn. And I am also looking forward to the challenge of the computerization and its' advantages. I can't even imagine what the acceleration and handling will be like.
Beasts
 

planetary

Member
Dec 29, 2018
253
541
Danville, CA
I will willingly accept the challenge presented by the yolk

accepted.jpeg
 
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nerwork_guy

Member
Sep 19, 2021
13
7
MA
I initially posted this in one of the massively long ordering threads for the new LR, but figured I'd repost it here separately for those interested (with minor edits)...

@jlear was nice enough to let me look at his new Midnight Silver LR with 21" rims tonight. As an existing Model S 90D owner, below are the main questions I wanted answered for myself. I hope this helps anyone on the fence about LR vs Plaid, or whether to order the refresh at all.

Is there a continuous linear pull beyond 60MPH? Without a Dragy on hand for actual numbers (sorry boys & girls), I can happily say that the refreshed LR feels like it keeps pulling equally strong from the 0-60 band than it does the 60-100 band. On previous model S cars, you feel a substantial drop-off on the upper powerbands. Not with this puppy! Much like the Plaid reviews, This. Thing. Keeps. Pulling.

If I stomp on the accelerator at 60MPH, does it provide a strong enough pull from there? For me, yes, yes, yes. @jlear was devilish enough to stomp on it without forewarning me as we drove around, and for the first time in a long while, I felt like your typical newbie who's never rode in a performance Tesla before. I found myself chuckling out loud like a 10 year old school boy... it was that good of a surprise every time he punched it. Without raw benchmarks in hand, this LR feels like a P90D / P100D while in Insane Mode, without any of the drawbacks like SoC battery dependencies. And that is without even trying Launch Mode yet. So yeah, bet your bottom dollar you can still do the acceleration party trick in this bad boy with your friends and family. Tesla may call this the LR, but I consider it a "Performance Model S LR".

With a lower State of Charge, does performance fall off like on previous models? I didn't check that, but something tells me that similar to the Plaid mode, the answer is no. Someone else will need to confirm that.

Does the car handle and ride significantly better? Much like the 2019/2020 Ravens, the adaptive suspension is much more forgiving on the bumps, but the 2021 refresh feels even better on the turns and at high-speed straightaways than what I remember on the Ravens. Someone else here said they were able to get a 2021 up on a lift and said the suspension is all new, and I believe it. I was going to put on aftermarket 20" rims just like I did on my current Model S, both to smooth out the ride and quiet the ride a tad while still looking aggressive, but I might just go with 21" aftermarket rims after this little trip. Btw, road noise is much improved with the double-paned glass, but I wouldn't say it is as quiet as a Lexus. But it is certainly better, just like previous Model S builds have gotten noticeably quieter with each passing year. I'm sure someone will do some sound level tests to measure actual differences in decibels. As for motor whine, the only time I could really hear it was when he pounded on the accelerator. Otherwise, I didn't notice it.

Does the interior feel substantially better than previous generation Model S's? Much like what was posted here, hell yes. Little things like more premium feeling materials, including the vegan leather, carpet, and alcantara all feel more plush. Even the hard surfaces have a more luxurious feel to them. Little details we all expect on a car (let alone a luxury performance car) like the door pockets, dry-cleaning hooks in the rear, and vanity lights in the visors are there. All the major gripes I've had with previous Model S generations, they've finally addressed with this generation. The now-returned ventilated front seats feel great for the warm weather here in North Carolina, and the AC really feels much more adequate too. The comfort of the front seats feels similar to the last generation, so not cushy soft as Model Y seats if you're looking for that. But the rear seats are much much more comfortable from before, not to mention a proper flip-down center console in between. When dropping the rear seats, no more cavity bump across the middle! Although the overall cargo area is still slightly pitched from front to back with the seats down, I would say it looks level enough for me to slap down my air mattress without any extra padding under the rear area, and get some solid sleep on. I don't foresee a need for a crazy expensive custom fit Tesla mattress that sucks up all the cargo space when not in use (cough cough, for those who know what I'm referring to). But to each their own.

How is the tech (displays, software, graphical interface) over previous generations? As a techie who is also big on AV, this is always a priority for me in any car. Similar to what others here have said, the displays in this model are very crisp and the brightness is much improved over previous generations. Certainly worthy of playing 4K video or current gen games in the daylight, IMHO. I'd even be curious how many Nits the front screen puts out, as it is that bright. The touchscreen has responsiveness similar to a current smartphone (perhaps just a little slower, but hey, it is a massive screen), including multitouch use. The sound system is so much more powerful than anything before in terms of loudness (for the first time in my life, I actually had to cover my ears when he cranked it... and I like it LOUD). But I won't comment on the quality of the sound until I can play my own tracks on it and tweak the equalizer to my liking. I could imagine doing a swap out of the subwoofer while still using the stock enclosure, similar to what I've done on my existing Model S. But that is still to be determined.

All that said, as most know, the software is raw. Feels more like an alpha build to me than a beta release, given stability seems lacking (e.g MCU reboots, phone as key not working, etc.). Let alone the features stated in the owner's manual that are currently absent. But for those who've never owned a Tesla before, my only advice is to not obsess over that now. The car is bleeding edge when it comes to tech. Just enjoy the car. When the software updates roll out from Tesla, these things will be incrementally addressed, and even new unannounced features will probably come about like usual.

Does the exterior look substantially better than previous generation Model S's? I was able to look at two refresh Model S cars today, one in black and the other Midnight Silver. Photos don't do it justice. You need to see it in person to really appreciate the changes. Little things like the fog lights and the more aggressive body styling around the wheels make a world of difference. The massively wide 295 tires in the rear (and usually only seen OEM on ultra-performance cars) make the car look sick too. Yes, the LR means business just like the Plaid. Lastly, as someone who has chrome-deleted my last two cars, I certainly think the black trim on this refresh is the biggest improvement over the previous generations. We're not driving your grandfather's 1955 Caddy anymore, folks! That said, as to whether I will chrome-delete the Tesla emblems on my forthcoming white LR or leave them as is, I'm actually still on the fence.

Will I miss anything in particular with the previous generations of Model S's? Absolutely. The ability to open that massive sunroof on those pleasant weather days. Unlimited free charging on long road trips, just so I don't have to think about it. And I'm still on the fence about no more steering wheel and stalks. I love the look of the yoke and it feels great in the hand, but like others here, I will probably dread what that means in daily use until I've driven it a week or two. I've seen the complaints about taking turns, but even more complaints about trying to use the buttons in absence of stalks. Or even accidentally pressing the buttons. So that yoke is still a big question mark for me. At least I can "hit the horn" without looking for the little button (tip: place your hand over the right set of buttons). Just hope I can do that successfully while the yoke is turning!

Hope this helps folks. On a related note, my Dragy arrives tomorrow. So if anyone in the Raleigh area wants to benchmark their Plaid or LR with a few runs, let me know!
Great write up @headcase. I agree with most of your observations. Pretty impressive for not owning the car. Battery chemistry and resulting range plus recharge time efficiency are major improvements. I’ll trade my Plaid in when Tesla starts to ship Plaid with 4680s. I want the 500 mile range.
 

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