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P85+ barely better than P85

irvineboy

Member
Feb 9, 2015
354
19
Irvine, CA
I spoke to a Tesla associate who is helping me locate a performance PLUS. He asked me why I wanted a plus and I told him that I read that it makes the handling bimmer-like, instead of the regular P85 which is Mercedes-like. He says that the steering between the two is EXACTLY the same. He said I probably drove it in "comfort" mode and not "sport" mode. For everyday driving purposes, the P85 does 90% of what the P85+ and that only hardcore trackers will notice the extra 10% difference. Is he correct? I recall owners saying it makes a huge difference in handling and steering. Thoughts?

You can get some sweet 2013 for $75k nowadays. Just missing autopilot, but that is ok since I don't mind actually paying attention when I drive.
 
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Brass Guy

Active Member
Jan 5, 2014
1,142
935
Holbrook, MA
It seems like the associate you spoke with may not have been educated in the older configurations. The difference between P85 and P85+ is only related to handling. Others here can describe the differences in detail, but IIRC there are different bushings, sway bar, and the staggered tire setup.
 

HankLloydRight

No Roads
Jan 18, 2014
12,860
10,863
Connecticut
All I can add is that my P85+ handles A LOT like my 2002 BMW M5. The P85, not so much.

If you're looking for acceleration and comfort, go for P85. If you're looking for a sport sedan like an M5 or AMG, go P85+.
 

irvineboy

Member
Feb 9, 2015
354
19
Irvine, CA
I am looking for a fast sports sedan, that has the handling of a bimmer, not a lexus or mercedes. He probably didn't know what he was saying but he sounded so sure. Probably just wanted me to buy one of his P85s on hand. Hard to find ones with parking sensors in the 2013!

Just on handling (not speed), does the P85D handle better than the P85+ ?
 
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stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
9,936
4,850
I'll let the others who have tried both speak on this, but from what I recall, the P85D uses a softer suspension setup that the P85+, so it's probably closer to the P85 in handling. Also keep in mind the "D" adds close to 300 lbs more weight, which definitely has a negative effect on handling.
 

Niclas

Member
Jun 26, 2014
116
5
NY
P85+ was the last car Tesla made that was a real sports car with handling: 470 hp with RWD, staggered wheels and sport suspension.

Todays D models are fast on straight roads, but heavier, soft suspension and no steering feeling.
 

David_Cary

Active Member
Dec 17, 2012
1,170
659
Cary, NC
Wait a sec. The D is quite a difference in handling. The best handling car Tesla ever made is a P85D. Now arguably, the newer P85Ds are not the same.

Life is not so simple that handling is P85D>P85+>P85>S85. Bushings were improved over time as well as other components less well documented. When I first drove a P85, I felt the rear was sloppy. It was 2013. Flash forward to 2015 P85D and I had never driven a sedan that handled that well.

"Handling" is also not just about g forces. The traction of the D motors doesn't equate to higher maximum lateral acceleration numbers but most people would interpret the traction as improved handling.

On Staggered tires - can someone please explain the physics to me how it benefits a AWD car with 50/50 weight distribution? I'm not seeing it but that doesn't mean I'm not missing something.

Lolachamp has some of the best creed on this forum. Why don't you ask what he drives....A p85D last I looked.
 

tstafford

Active Member
Jul 4, 2015
1,039
245
Nashville, TN
Todays D models are fast on straight roads, but heavier, soft suspension and no steering feeling.

I have a P85D on order and this comment (and others like it) worry me. There are a lot of conflicting opinions out there about the P85D and handling - many of the reviews I read/watch say it handles quite well, but then I see comments like this on TMC from folks (I assume) have driven it or better yet are owners. Is it really just a road yacht? I'm not looking for it to handle like a mid-engine Porsche but I'd at least like it to be on par with my current BMW 535i.
 

thegruf

Active Member
Mar 24, 2015
2,278
1,975
indeterminate
@tstafford - Didn't you drive it before buying?

Never ceases to amaze me how folks can drop $100K+ on a car without having driven it, then stress when a unknown contributor to a forum (who may not ever have driven one) makes an adverse comment ;)
or worse still find it is 0.2 seconds off another brands lap time when they have no intention of ever using it on a track.

On balance though imho don't panic it will be different to your 535i but overall every bit as good if not better ... imho!
 

andrewket

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2012
5,704
1,525
Keep in mind the early P85Ds have the same suspension as the P85+'s. At some point (March?) Tesla changed it such that all model S's use the same suspension.
 

Niclas

Member
Jun 26, 2014
116
5
NY
Yes the early P85Ds had the +-suspension. However it was dropped without Tesla ever mentioned it. I did drive the P85D but it was nowhere near the P85+ in handling. Guess it was a later version (didnt check build date).
 

Dennis87

Member
Nov 15, 2014
364
198
Norway
If you look in the Tesla part catalog early P85D have different suspension setup than P85+. P85D was even better than the + suspension. Air modules was not the same and P85D had larger anti roll bars and other bushings. But after 30 april P85D did get the same suspension as 70D and 85D that are much softer.
 

tstafford

Active Member
Jul 4, 2015
1,039
245
Nashville, TN
@tstafford - Didn't you drive it before buying?

Never ceases to amaze me how folks can drop $100K+ on a car without having driven it, then stress when a unknown contributor to a forum (who may not ever have driven one) makes an adverse comment ;)
or worse still find it is 0.2 seconds off another brands lap time when they have no intention of ever using it on a track.

On balance though imho don't panic it will be different to your 535i but overall every bit as good if not better ... imho!

Of course I drove it. But having owned many, many cars - I don't think anyone can assess the feeling and experience of a totally new one without at least a few hundred miles in the seat. Having owned at least eight 911s I could easily go drive a new one and see what I think of it (I have a solid baseline), but the Tesla is a new creature to me - so the 30 minute test drive is a limited sample set.
 

Dennis87

Member
Nov 15, 2014
364
198
Norway
From the part catalog for air modules.

Suspension2.PNG
 

gizmoboy

Member
Jul 2, 2015
700
38
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Of course I drove it. But having owned many, many cars - I don't think anyone can assess the feeling and experience of a totally new one without at least a few hundred miles in the seat. Having owned at least eight 911s I could easily go drive a new one and see what I think of it (I have a solid baseline), but the Tesla is a new creature to me - so the 30 minute test drive is a limited sample set.

didn't they offer you a 24-hour test drive? Our Gallery in Texas does that, and it's a much better way to liv in the car than a simple test drive.
 

FlasherZ

Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv
Jun 21, 2012
7,024
1,013
It also depends on the P85 vintage, too. Older P85's (2012, early 2013) have a different subframe and squishier bushings in the control arms that leads to a different feeling. Later on, Tesla changed the bushings and P85's handled considerably better, the only major differences between P85 and P85+ being the staggered tire setup and different airshocks.
 

Eclectic

Member
Nov 8, 2014
773
919
Bay Area & Montana
We got one of the first P85Ds so I guess we have the old + suspension. I can tell you that compared to the non + P85 that we had for a year before getting the P85D, the handling is dramatically different. The P85D is one of the best handling large cars around. It's not quite as sharp as the BMW M5 we had about 12 years ago (then again, new Ms aren't that sharp either...), but it is definitely better than the P85 and the Audi A7 that we had before that. And I drive cars hard on really challenging roads along the CA coast.

We test drove a P85+ when we bought the original P85 and passed on it due to my refusal to have a car with a wheel size that guaranteed problems on CA's horrible roads. We almost didn't buy the P85D since it was originally introduced as 21" wheels only. There's no question that if you want a Model S with sharp and responsive handling, the P85+ was noticeably better than the regular P85. And from the seat of my pants, my sense is that our P85D bests the old P85+. The RWD P85 class had a tendency to step out on decreasing radius turns under power while our early P85D will just pull itself through as it accelerates HARD.
 

loco

Member
Feb 21, 2013
185
448
Poznan, Poland
Todays D models are fast on straight roads, but heavier, soft suspension and no steering feeling.

My P85D is firmer and much less wobbly than my P85+.
Don't know about post April P85Ds.

As per OP question. There's hardly any steering feel regardless of version. RWD models provide somewhat more classic experience up to the point where traction control kills all the fun (no disabling). AWD is point and go, more like a GTR. Model S is not a track car. It goes into limp mode and cuts power by half after 1,5 minutes of hard driving (see nurburgring thread and video).
 

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