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Observations from driving a Model S for a few days

Durzel

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
3,697
2,688
Bath, UK
I had a 2017 Model S 75 since Friday for 4 days while my Model 3 was in for some minor work, and I have to admit I was pretty impressed.

It obviously felt a lot looser than my car, in almost all respects, but in others it was rather lovely :)

The biggest plus, for me, were the seats. Proper leather seats that smelled lovely. I do miss the intrinsic elevation in ones mind of an leather interior, even though I can appreciate the "vegan leather" we get now (even though it's not leather, it just pretends to be). They had great side bolsters too, and were much more supportive than the ones we get in the Model 3. I might be inclined to care less about that if it weren't for the fact that I bought the Performance model, which has identical seats to the rest of the range, and I feel like I'd fly off the side of the seat if I cornered too quickly. Honestly if I could transplant the seats from the Model S into the 3 it would be a straight upgrade to me.

Having a screen behind the wheel - nice. It's one of those things that I didn't know I wanted, but having turn-by-turn navigation & energy consumption right in front of you, with the main screen doubling up as an overview of the route, etc was nice.

Pop out handles that appear when you get close to the car - nice :) I like "oooh" features.

The downsides were really trivial things. Being an older car I presume it was MCU1 (no dashcam or sentry either?), and it showed. It actually took a good 20 odd seconds from getting in the car for the binnacle screen to boot up, and everything was noticeably laggier than in my Model 3. I guess for 2017 it was fine though.

While it wasn't exactly a slouch, it was considerably slower than my M3P (it wasn't in Chill either). Regenerative braking was a lot softer than in the 3, but that could also be age or wear, I guess. I don't know how many miles the S had done (forgot to check) but it wasn't noisy or rattly, which was a pleasant surprise.

I did find myself wondering whether I woud have been happy to have dropped £100k+ on that car back in 2017. The interior was nice enough, with soft materials everywhere (no plasticky door cards), but even so.. I was wondering to myself where the £100k would've gone. I guess I have been spoiled by seeing what the likes of Mercedes, Porsche and co bring to the table at that kind of price point. The car I had didn't have a powered boot or bonnet, which I was surprised by.

The car wasn't as big as I was expecting either. For some reason I had it in my head that it would be akin to a Mercedes S-class in size, but it seemed more like an Audi A5 proportionally. That was a good thing, since I didn't feel when driving it that it was disproportionately sized for the road.
 

pgkevet

Active Member
Jul 1, 2019
1,507
1,345
mid wales
Around 2017 they improved the acceleration of the S75 from 5+secs to 4+secs so depends when your loaner was made. I'd guess they started circa £70-75K but would have come with free supercharging the value of which varies with personal use.
I don't know why folk make this big fuss about the size of the S...I got used to it in a few days - it's not that big and I happily tool mine around Welsh single track roads.
The trouble with Elon is he keeps taking stuff out of the cars to save build cost. My 2018 100D does circa 4.2, has carbon trim and sunroof and air suspension you can adjust for potholes. The binnacle display is really useful when navigating city back-streets and otherwise I keep displays of energy use and tyre pressure on it for quick reference (traffic lights, bins and cones are permanent) but I’m an hour from nearest supercharger so the free charging has only been worth a few hundred a year. Plastic seats was how I got it past my vegan OH..
 
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Neilman

Member
Mar 27, 2020
355
209
Southampton, UK
I found the regen braking didn't seem to work on the Model S I had as a loaner - certainly not one-pedal.
All the braking was on the brake pedal - which may have used regen there.
The Model S felt much larger and only just fitted in my driveway though also being black, versus my Model 3 white, may have been an optical illusion effect to some degree?
I was really glad to get my 3 back after a service visit.
 

Durzel

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
3,697
2,688
Bath, UK
I was pleased to get my car back, as it was a lot tighter (and faster), but considering the MS was a 2017 car and one of the slower ones, I was surprised at how much I liked it to be honest.
 

pgkevet

Active Member
Jul 1, 2019
1,507
1,345
mid wales
Bear in mind that the S loaners are often abused and ill-cared for vehicles.

I've had some equal to my own spec, but still a delight to return to my own.
So horribly true. You'd think that Tesla would showcase themselves by maintaining their loaner fleet but with the first one I borrowed I handed back a long list of defects (door handles, cameras, slow puncture, lousy speakers..) and it was just parked up for the next poor sod to use.. Anything to save a penny.
 
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StuBee

Member
Aug 5, 2021
72
41
Edinburgh-ish, UK
Good write up! I’ll be picking up a 2017 one tomorrow while my M3P goes in to get a scratch on the spoiler and boot lid it came with. I’ll watch out for the regen not being as strong.
 
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MovingSouth

Member
Jun 10, 2021
35
21
UK
I have a P85 2016 Model S while the rattles on our Model 3 LR are being fixed (and they are taking it very seriously, so a wait).

I really appreciate the separate rotary control for the wipers - the pop up on the Model 3 is not adequate for me for a vital, quick access control. But there are easy improvements that could be implemented in software on the Model 3. For example, pressing the wiper button could change the function of a scroll wheel (the left one?) to toggle left and right through the wiper speeds. This approach is used on, for example, digital cameras to let single control wheels deal with many functions.

I agree that the seats on the Model S are better than those on the Model 3, which I find really uncomfortable after a long drive.
 

StuBee

Member
Aug 5, 2021
72
41
Edinburgh-ish, UK
Yeah the one I’ve been given is tired at best.
Really glad I didn’t get the white interior on the model 3. The 2017 model s has not aged well. Then again the cars prob had a hard life being a loaner. Steering is defo not as sharp as the m3p and the regen isn’t as strong, had to use the brake pedal a good few times. Do like the door handles too 🤣
 
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Doudeau

Member
Jan 9, 2020
136
123
Twickenham
I had a S loaner for a few days - it was a P100D with ludicrous mode available to me.

I moved it straight out of chill mode and enjoyed it.

Otherwise I was more than happy to get my 3 back.
 

VanillaAir_UK

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2019
8,743
6,304
Surrey, UK
I found the regen braking didn't seem to work on the Model S I had as a loaner - certainly not one-pedal.
All the braking was on the brake pedal - which may have used regen there.

'One pedal', aka hold mode only came in with the Raven Model S and X. So loaner Model S or X more than a couple of years old (or even less) will not have hold mode - just roll and creep modes which behave differently to hold.
 

gangzoom

Active Member
May 22, 2014
1,375
1,231
Uk
I did find myself wondering whether I woud have been happy to have dropped £100k+ on that car back in 2017.
A 75D S from 2017 was around £68-70k with options. The 60S (RWD, but software limted 75kWh battery) was available from just £54k before options.

The S/X were never convinced to be £100k cars, quite how they have reached their current pricing points is beyond me.
 
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Cnixon

Member
Mar 5, 2020
496
159
Basingstoke
I'm in similar situation. I have 2017 p90d. On obvious difference is the 'sport' mode is more progressive and less 'seasick' creating to passengers. The centre screen is poor & blurry and poor contrast which I would have thought would have been fixed. Other than that seems a better put together vehicle all round. Bit thirsty though.
 

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