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Model S vs. Roadster

Discussion in 'Model S' started by ggr, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

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    So, for 10 days I've been driving both the Model S and the Roadster. I thought it was time to maybe talk about the relative merits.

    First, I have to say that either/both are just so far ahead of anything else that there's little competition. I had no hesitation trading in a Mercedes AMG for the model S, mostly because with the roadster around, the only time the Merc was driven was for road trips or when 4 seats were (desperately) needed. I've driven a friend's Ferrari, and it was as much fun as the Roadster, except it is off the road half the time for expensive maintenance, and having fun with it was actually hard work. Anyway, don't take anything I say as denigrating either Tesla.

    The Roadster is still just plain fun to drive. The S is big, feels like a banker's car. Add to this the seats: the Roadster hugs you, while you slide around in the S's seats. I am thinking seriously of having the S's seats reworked to have better side bolstering.

    The performance feels about the same overall. Roadster is lighter, and easier to throw around, and the steering feels more sensitive and direct. I think the S actually handles better, and at freeway speeds is faster and more responsive. Admission: I almost had an accident in the S on the first day, I was checking over my shoulder to change lanes and when I looked back in front, the car in front had stopped. I jerked the steering wheel and missed him by maybe an inch. The steering in the S is very light! In the roadster I'm not sure I could have turned the wheel quickly enough.

    Mileage: the difference between "ideal" and "estimated" range is smaller on the Roadster. I think this is because it's much lighter. In my 12-mile commute, which has lots of fast starts at lights and some fast freeway legs, I often use about 400 Wh/mile, versus about 300 for a freeway run from San Diego to LA. But in the S, 450-500 for the commute compares to about 320 for the freeway. I think this is for two reasons. Accelerating all the weight of the S must take more energy, and I do have to hit the brakes more often because the regen isn't as powerful. Also, the S is the kind of car where you really do just run the climate control all the time, but I almost never do in the Roadster. On low-speed suburban roads with lots of traffic lights I think this makes a big difference.

    The Roadster feels like a toy, missing a lot of creature comforts, noisy, impractical, but fits like a glove. The S does feel like a luxury car, albeit a not-quite-finished one. I'm looking forward to some software updates, for things like timed charging. The speedometer display has developed little dots in places, where clearly there is a stray pointer in the software (probably the nav display, since that's when they appeared). But having said that, some things are brilliant. I love that when you put it in reverse, not only do you get the camera, but you can set the side mirrors to angle down to see lines and curbs. I had this feature in an older Merc, but it disappeared in the newer one.

    The Roadster was a game-changer in electric vehicles. The Model S is a game changer in vehicles, period, and will only get better.

    I used to hate creep. Now I'm not so sure. The formula isn't quite right in either car.

    The Roadster is impractical (and yet somehow I used to drive it 29 days out of 30). The S is supremely practical and luxurious, and yet the Roadster makes cow-eyes at me and I drive it anyway, at least on warm sunny days. We'll see what happens when the weather turns cold. I think the S will win over a Roadster with a roof on.

    I must say I/we feel privileged.
     
  2. SCW-Greg

    SCW-Greg Active Member

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    Nice review / comparison. Be sure to not let either of them ever sit idle, get neglected, or loved too little for too long. ;)
     
  3. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    Being another Roadster and Model S owner, I agree with most of what GGR said. Here are a few comments:

    About fun to drive, I agree completely, but I have received several comments about how much easier it is to get in and out of the S vs the R...

    As to Wh/mi, I have actually found the opposite to GGR, I am getting a smaller spread between "ideal" and "predicted" miles in the S than I do in the R. My theory is that I drive the fun R harder than the S. Even though the S will accelerate almost as quickly as the R, it just does not feel like a car to do that in.

    Running errands sure is easier in the S. Its hard to fit even a bicycle wheel in an R. Putting a whole bike in the S is easy. I was bike riding with a friend the other day. He flatted in my driveway coming home and was in a hurry to get back to his house, so rather than fixt the flat, I put the back seats down in the S, tossed a moving blanket in the back, took his front wheel off the bike and it went in the S. The S is a big, practical car!

    I don't like creep, but I hate rolling back on hills worse. What I would like when you take your foot off the accelerator, is a soft, virtual park. The car should just slow to 0 speed and hold position.

    Both the S and the R are great cars. You wear the R and haul friends and gear in style with the S.

    I too feel very privileged to be able to drive both.
     
  4. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    How's the S for tossing around on twisty roads? Probably not as good as the roadster i would guess (even though ggr says "I think the S actually handles better")

    I have a 3 series now and am hoping that the S is as fun to drive on the twisties...
     
  5. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    It handles very well but I've noticed when I gun it around a corner it doesn't stick as well. Maybe this performance plus upgrade with stickier tires will help.
     
  6. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    Glad to hear you didn't get in that accident; hopefully your mental health has recovered!
     
  7. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Thanks. It wasn't even close to losing control. I could just feel traction control kick in.
     
  8. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    I don't want to derail this thread, but FYI I believe Tesla's working on a hill hold function that should come in a future update.
     
  9. Jaff

    Jaff Active Member

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    Thanks for relating your R + S experiences guys...always nice to read!

    ...hopefully, a few more of us can post once we're received our Ses...:smile:
     
  10. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Hmm, based on admittedly limited data, I think we have seen a fair number of Roadster accidents where the Roadster 'rear ended' another car. Some discussions have been about the brakes sometimes not stopping as quickly as one might want. Now, we can add "the steering might be a bit slow for sudden avoidance maneuvers". Anyways - reminder to Roadster drivers - try to leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you!
     
  11. PopSmith

    PopSmith Saving for a Model 3

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    #11 PopSmith, Sep 27, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
    I'm glad you're enjoying your Model S (and Roadster!), ggr. It's nice to read comparisons from owners of both vehicles, hopefully comparisons will become more common as production ramps up. :smile:

    For the mirrors, I suggest utilizing the Car Talk Method. I suggest this to practically everyone I know since this method should effectively eliminate blind spots. This makes it so you don't have to turn your head before changing lanes.
     
  12. Kevin Harney

    Kevin Harney Active Member

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    I have used this method for years and it is GREAT !! I can see a motorcycle go from one mirror to the other so no blind spot at all.
     
  13. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    I can just hear them chuckling as they try to describe this technique...
     
  14. strider

    strider Active Member

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    Maybe the tires just need to scrub in as my test drive experience was the opposite. After my test drive I took the Roadster through parts of the same route and the S felt more planted than the Roadster. I think the suspension made a big difference here. Skidpad numbers for the Roadster are higher...
     
  15. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    That's probably it. They only have 200 miles on them now.

    I'm not even close to a semi-professional race driver so maybe I'm just hitting it too hard at wrong time? There's an on-ramp that I could take the 90 degree corner at 10 mph and as I am coming around, slam on accelerator in Roadster and take off. I tried that in Model S and it hesitated a little then took off which I assume was traction control. That said, I wouldn't want to give up maybe 10,000 miles in tread life for a little more tractions since the DWS tires are pretty good.
     
  16. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    Nice idea for cars with normal (big for the S and huge for the R) rear windows, but has anyone tried to do this for the S and R to see how well it works with their small rear windows? I'll try when I get a chance, but am skeptical.
     
  17. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I use the head-wobble method where you tilt your head to the left and then adjust the left mirror so you can just see the car, then tilt your head to the right for the right mirror. This works great in the Prius--no blind spots at all. I did try it in the Get Amped test, but the Model S has the body sticking out in the rear (to the side) so the mirror didn't actually adjust the same way. Also there wasn't any opportunity to really check to see if it work. I have every reason to think that the head-wobble method will eliminate any blind spots in the Model S just like it does in the Prius.

    I think that the spoilers most sedans have these days create a much larger blind spot than the side pillars do. The one on the 2001 Prius makes it hard to back up because you can't see very close to the car.
     
  18. PRJIM

    PRJIM Member

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    Interesting thread. After taking delivery of my Model S I have stopped driving my Roadster completely; in hindsight I am having trouble trying to figure out how I daily drove that car for so long. I do not think I can ever go back to driving the Roadster-with any constant frequency.
     
  19. Ben W

    Ben W P85 #61, Roadster #108

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    Funny, I'm finding it much harder to get out of the S than the R. (Not physically, mentally!) :cool:

    - - - Updated - - -

    Same here. The S just trumps the Roadster in practically every way. I think I'll hang onto the Roadster for a while just because I have the garage space, and it is a collectible... but if the right buyer appears, I'm much more likely to let it go than I initially thought I would be.
     
  20. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

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    Thank you for the advice. I am going to use this method to avoid blind spots.
     

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