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Nice test drive

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by bwa, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. bwa

    bwa Member

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    I test drove a Tesla for the first time a few days ago. It was a new 85 model S. Overall I liked it.

    My concern that I would not fit in the cabin with comfort was not a problem. I found that the normal seats are more comfortable than the bucket seats that I have in my Mercedes which have those awful side support ridges for "racing" that hurt my rib cage so much (I am broad shouldered). The normal Tesla seats don't have that problem. These were not executive nor next-gen seats. Also, my head rested nicely on the back. I am tall trunked so this may be different for others.

    The ride was very bumpy compared to my W211 E500. It had 19" rims.

    It seems with software upgrades to units produced September 20, 2014 or after they ought to be able to implement "magic body control" (Mercedes suspension feature name), or they should consider doing something like that in future models. This essentially measures the terrain of the road ahead and it operates the suspension so the car doesn't jerk and bounce around so much (i.e. it maps the physics of motion across terrain and calculates a reasonable averaged path that it pistons the wheels for the car to go into according to things like weight forces, landings, etc.). Go watch some Mercedes promotional videos if you don't understand what I'm talking about.

    To me this obviously seems like something the software developers should talk about with those people in Hawthorne that program spaceships. Maybe having materials science tied up in a space exploration division and a software division tied up in a heavy software region is a bad separation for this feature.

    The car seemed quiet enough for me. I cherish silence.

    Operating the car was basically effortless.

    I need to try it in rush hour, but TACC seemed to work fine in normal weather conditions (for California, that is). I didn't like that it would not completely stop behind the car in front of it, according to what they said. This gave me the feeling that the car did not want to guide me down the roadway, that instead I still needed to be very much in control.

    If you could set the TACC stopping distance to more than 7 car lengths this could help you verify that it is stopping on time if it is able to stop completely, which I feel like hasn't even been nailed down (by me). Alternatively and probably much better, a big red indicator indicating that it is about to stop could let you know it knows to stop (& distance), especially if it was put in a heads up display.

    To me integrating a heads up display with navigation controls is an obvious. By navigation I mean both route guidance AND assistated & robotic driving status. I saw zero effort of this in the Tesla. I have a feeling that there is a company ethos that forbids it. When navigation route guidance was turned on, I had to look in the dash to see what it wanted me to do, except for the voice prompts.

    Since autopilot is still slowly rolling out, and there is obvious software additions that could be added to suspension, I think I should wait and see what they come up with before making a lot of conclusions at this time. (However) as slow as they move, a competitor could come up with something quicker or already be on the market.

    I never tried to accelerate quickly. I know that Tesla can accelerate quickly so I did not need to test it. The beauty of electric drive is that you do not have to wait a few seconds after operating the right foot pedal for the engine and transmission to decide how fast to go, when to go, and what kind acceleration curve it wants, regardless of what your traffic conditions are at the moment. With the Tesla, you just hit the accelerator and go, exactly how you know the car will proceed. No more accidents due to the car not wanting to go forward as and when you want it in a consistent manner. This makes driving with confidence much better. At no time did I think the car was sluggish, unlike with many other vehicles. It took a bit of effort up an uphill onramp to 280, but less effort than any other car I drove. It was civilized and unabashed.

    Air conditioning and heater worked great. My only complaint is the same complaint I have with my E500 which is that it is very loud.

    I echo the complaint of many others that the touch screen makes it difficult to operate equipment by feel. Speech control or heads up display feedback would help with this. Also, if they could put ridges where the text is on the display, we could do it like Braille.

    Unlike the 2015 Leaf that I test drove later in the day, I did not notice any great improvement over my E500 in being able to see out of the car. There seemed to be plenty of blind spots in the S, but none of the blind spots stuck out as really abnormal when I test drove it. Then again, with the bad crash test results of the Leaf, you'd want to be able to see everything around you in that. I've always thought you could use hologram lensing to get images around pillars, but perhaps a LIDAR equipped autonomous vehicle could do better than you. But all that probably costs too much for a $1E5 sedan.

    I left the experience still very much wanting one. I could put up with the bumpier ride for all the other benefits. And in a pre-autonomous world, not having perfect autonomy is to be expected.
     
  2. bwa

    bwa Member

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    Mb mbc $4450

    IMG_20150126_104204.jpg

    Magic Body Control on a Mercedes 2015 S550 is $4,450. Anybody compared this to a non-MBC ride of similar model?
     
  3. RyanT

    RyanT Member

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    Did it have air suspension? Coil is a little more harsh evidently though I've never tried it. I'm ordering coil as coming from a Porsche I don't mind that feeling : )
     
  4. NOLA_Mike

    NOLA_Mike Active Member

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    That is bad information. TACC absolutely will bring the car to a complete stop.
     
  5. toto_48313

    toto_48313 CAN P #5

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    I confirm, it completly stop, and restart when traffic start again... I use it every day, and it's amazing no need to touch the pedals at all as soon as you get on the highway.
     
  6. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    And yes, coils are quite a bit harsher than air suspension-especially with 21" wheels.
     
  7. bwa

    bwa Member

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    #7 bwa, Jan 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
    It had air suspension. He showed me the screen to raise and lower it, but I forgot when I was on a short freeway jog. Its manual height memory would have eventually gotten this sorted out once I remembered to enter it.

    I must say I am probably more sensitive to bumpy rides than most people. I just read a very long thread of lolachamper spending quite a bit to get better handling, and, if I interpreted it correctly, slightly harsher ride. I was in the unqualified scorned group of those who want a very disconnected ride from the road. I must represent a type unrepresented by actual Tesla model S owners. My quick look at the Mercedes sales lot agreed with this: of dozens of S550s in inventory (all with Distronic cruise control (ala TACC)), only one (1) had Magic Body Control, and the salesperson said people didn't perceive value in MBC at $4,450. Seems a common theme. Obviously these buyers afford better roads in better neighborhoods for better cars, and end up with less desire to smooth out the nonexistent potholes. Go through some poorer cities (e.g., San Jose) and experience awful rides and do $10,000 in pothole-caused repairs as I have, and people might fall into a different boat.

    Edit:

    This must be more complex than I understand. They say MBC smooths out big bumps without feeling floaty. Perhaps I want to feel like I'm floating? Perhaps I hate big bumps too. What does this all mean on how small bumps feel? I can't verify any of this today.
     
  8. 46&2

    46&2 Member

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    The Mercedes system won't work at every speed - just to keep in mind, if you should not know that yet. The 'road pre-reading' systems can't handle to high speeds.
     

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