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P85 vs P85+ and other first impressions from a non-sports-car-guy (long, w/pics)

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Sundy, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. Sundy

    Sundy Member

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    Location:
    Palo Alto
    Like many of you, I scoured these forums for the weeks leading up to confirming my Tesla and while waiting for it to arrive, and I greatly appreciate all the time, energy, passion, and useful advice posted by so many of you. I thought it time to contribute my little bit.

    The most difficult part of my purchase was deciding between the 85 and the P85 or P85+. The difference of $20,000 (w 21” wheels) seemed like a *lot* to pay, just for the ability to accelerate and corner a bit faster in a car that already accelerates and corners very fast.

    Did I really need this? Would I even notice? Or worse, would I actually be *less* happy with a stiffer, bumpier ride and tires that can’t be rotated and need replacing every 6-12 months? Nothing worse than paying so much more for something you like less.

    I realized that most of the P vs P+ opinions I read were by people who have owned porsches, bmws, and other fast cars. Their rhapsodic writings about the + were intoxicating. I have always been interested in sports cars, but could never bring myself to spend the money or the gas. My two cars these last 10 years has been a Prius and a hybrid Highlander.

    But, a month ago, minutes before midnight on my confirmation day, I went for it and max-ed out my order. Full P+ with all the trimmings, yikes! My wife was going to have a fit.

    I just got my P+ friday, and have driven 300 miles already on a trip up the coast this weekend. So how did it turn out, and am I sleeping on the couch?

    Early non-delivery

    6 days before my scheduled delivery date, I got a call from my DS saying the car was ready early, and did I want to pick it up? Duh. I cleared my calendar the next afternoon, and we drove over to the factory. After an hour walk-through, my wife had to head back home for an appointment, but I stayed another half hour to ask the more techy questions (used the list posted on this forum), and my DS was very accommodating (thanks Lauren!).

    Every single thing checked out, and, finally ready to leave, I got in the car, put it into Drive, and…. “KEY NOT FOUND”. Damn. They tried changing the key’s battery. No dice. They tell me they can’t reprogram it that day without the other key, which my wife took home with her, and would I like a loaner for the weekend? NO!!! I’ve effectively waited a year and a half for this car (long story), and I wanted MY car for our trip this weekend!

    So, I took the P85 loaner and drove across the bay area, tracked down my wife, and drove back to pick up MY car. Three extra hours sitting in rush-hour traffic, but it was worth it! And I got to compare the P85 and the P85+ back-to-back on long drives….

    Delivery.jpg
    Factory shot 2.jpg


    “Floaty” vs “planted”


    So, I got to drive the P85 w/21” wheels for two hours, on freeways, cloverleaf ramps, city driving and neighborhoods. Then I immediately followed it up with a long weekend in my P85+. Here are my impressions.

    I have to say I loved the P85. It had been months since I did a test drive, and I hadn’t been in a Tesla since. The P85 is gut-wrenching fast, and feels really solid on the road. Since it was a loaner and I was on my own, I really pushed it. Going around cloverleafs and changing lanes quickly (when clear), accelerating to highway speeds instantly, etc. I did notice that accelerating tipped the car back some, and pushing it on corners it did lean, a bit, but not uncomfortably so. Fast, smooth, good road feel: I loved it. Honestly couldn’t find fault (tho remember, I'm not used to performance cars), and started to wonder why I paid so much more for the P+ (I had never test driven a P).

    Then… MY car. Wow. While I had been completely happy with the P, my P+ was different. It was like driving a levitating two-by-four. The thing is so composed, it just stays level and solid on the road and in corners no matter how much you throw it around. It feels like it sits lower to the ground, even though I know it doesn’t. Still pretty smooth on the road - the suspension definitely soaks up the potholes - but a little noisier at freeway speeds and *definitely* stiffer handling, but in a good way. On washboard and uneven roads, it was a little less comfortable; it did tend to rock back and forth rather than absorbing the bumps, but I didn’t get to compare this part of the drive with the P85.

    I didn’t know what others meant by “floaty” and “planted”, but now I do. “Planted” is absolutely the best word to describe the P+. I wouldn’t describe the P as all that “floaty” though - it’s not at like a cadillac where you feel like you’ve taken an anesthetic, and not mushy or bouncy; it still feels very connected to the road and corners well, just a little less so than the P+.

    If you have the opportunity to get a P+ and don’t mind a stiffer ride, go for it; it’s still quite comfortable and really does feel good. For those who have a P, seriously, it is a great ride. Leave with the one ya’ brung.

    Badge.jpg



    Rash Dad


    A couple more stories (and pics) from our trip. When I got home, my parents arrived to stay with our kids while we set off on our trip up the coast. Of course, they were curious about the car so we went for a drive, and my dad took the wheel. On a straight deserted road, I said he could punch it, and he did, with my mom screaming “NO!!!” from the back seat the whole way. Priceless.

    Not quite so priceless - my dad rashed the right rear rim two minutes later going around a curbed corner at speed. The car is definitely wider than what I’m used to, and the back right corner, in particular, I find very hard to judge. Oh well, now it’s broken in and I don’t have to worry about doing it myself. I do love having the backup camera and the parking sensors, and the auto-tilt-down side mirrors are fantastic for cozying up to the curb. So far so good, but watch those rims when you first start driving!

    Deer dear

    My wife took the helm later that night on a damp, curvy road through the forests north of San Francisco. The headlights throw a perfect semicircular penumbra of light on the road ahead, but not so far ahead. She was just starting to relax and say, “woo hoo!” through the corners, when we came around a bend to find a mother deer and her two fawns standing right in the middle of our lane. I yelled, and she slammed on the brakes full force. It seemed impossible, but we came to a stop 10 feet in front of the deer, who were frozen in our headlights. They then sauntered off as our hearts settled back into our chests.

    Man this car stops fast.

    Charge conundrum

    It took almost 2 hours to get to our destination in Point Reyes, and we still had plenty of charge to get home, but we planned to do a lot of driving around the area. When I called the hotel ahead of time, they said they had no charge plugs, and had never had that request. When we arrived, that turned out to be true, but I had brought a loong stout extension cord, and we managed to park in front of our cottage and run the cord in through a gate and under the front door, and plugged it into 110v inside. As it turned out, this worked quite well, as we picked up 40 miles each night, even at 3-4 mph, and it was enough to explore 60 miles each day and still get home at the end of the trip.

    Only surprise was, it poured rain all night, and I woke up wondering if it was ok to leave it plugged in when wet. I checked several times with my handy android app and all looked good, and even though when I went out in the morning, the extension cord was lying in a puddle of water, no bad seemed to come of it. Gee, was this a good idea?

    Bad idea.jpg



    All the right curves


    20 miles of tight twisty roads along the precipice of the coastal cliffs from Point Reyes to the Marin headlands; I really got to air her out… until my wife felt sick. It’s great to have a car that can take corners faster than rational thought, but for passengers there is a limit. The views were amazing, however.

    Beach time.jpg



    Lost and Found


    So, I am a very very happy camper. Only two real problem to report. First, the nav system in my car is completely useless. The map constantly spins in circles, and even on wide open freeways, the gps often thinks we are driving off into the nearby neighborhoods and the female voice keeps saying, “Please turn around. Please turn around”. After trying for hours, we couldn’t find any way to get it to make any sense for more than a few minutes at a stretch. Today I called Tesla, and they admitted that a lot of new owners are calling about this - apparently for some, the car on the map is even appearing in a different *state*. He said they had a bad software update, and are working on a fix. The second problem is, today the sunroof refused to close the last 3 inches. Tried everything: rebooting, different increments, and even the remote app. Tesla couldn't fix it over the air, so I have to take it in to the shop tomorrow.

    Still, this car is a wonder to drive, and I can already tell there are many long road trips in our future. And, due to the multiple “woo hoo’s!”, I’m not even sleeping on the couch. :cool:

    This weekend, I went from calling my Tesla an “it” to a “her.” I even named her…. Rocket. Shoot. I’m a goner.

    Driving across the golden gate.jpg
     
  2. gbdesai

    gbdesai Member

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    I'll just say, nicely done.
     
  3. spaghetti

    spaghetti Member

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    Congratulations! That's an awesome ride. Nice write-up. :smile:
     
  4. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Thanks for the detailed report. Gratz on your new ride!

    Second report of "spinning nav" I've heard so far. Which firmware is your car on? Thanks.
     
  5. Emil Joseph

    Emil Joseph Member

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    Toronto
    Fantastic report.
    I picked up my P85 2 weeks ago and had that spinning nav issue as well.
    Luckily it went away on its own after the first 3 days. Nav is working great now.
    I'm on firmware 5.0
     
  6. Dart

    Dart Member

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    Excellent story/report ... thanks for sharing!
     
  7. jthompson

    jthompson JThompson

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    Sundy: Excellent report - and funny, too! I would like to drive a P85+ some day on the same roads as I drive my P85. I suspect my impressions will be the same as yours!
     
  8. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    If you start talking about Rocket in your sleep your wife may not be sooooo understanding :)
     
  9. texex91

    texex91 Banned

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    #9 texex91, Sep 26, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
    FANTASTIC!!! HUGE CONGRATS!!

    Great write up and story. I could not agree more with you on the P vs P+, and I thank myself everyday for getting the P+. Now when it comes tire change time in 6-12 months at $549 a pop, I may not be as thrilled. However, it's all worth it for the 'planted' feel you elude to in your post.

    Enjoy it!!
     
  10. Fonzie

    Fonzie Member

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    This guy is gonna have me trading in for a +. Constantly makes me wonder what I'm missing out on. :)
     
  11. Zextraterrestrial

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    Does the NAV spin even in N up mode?
     
  12. texex91

    texex91 Banned

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    #12 texex91, Sep 26, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
    BTW, I picked up my P85+ Mon, and no issues with GPS...just to note it's not all cars.
     
  13. ACDriveMotor

    ACDriveMotor Member

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    Glad that you had a good delivery experience overall Tex. Your enthusiasm was payed back :)
     
  14. DIL

    DIL Member

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    Fantastic review. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    I also got the chance to test drive a P85+ back to back with other Model S's and I couldn't have said it better myself. Looking forward to both Sundy's and Texex's continuing travelog.

    For everyone's benefit here's another excellent write up that captures exactly the differences (IMHO):
    lph | 2 SETTEMBRE 2013
    My results from just recently trying P85 with 19 and 21 and also P85+. I am no expert as some others on the forum are, so these comments are subjective. All had air suspension.
    The 85+ definitely handles superbly at speeds approaching 90 and during high powered acceleration through curves the car had more confidence than I did and was way more planted than a late 2000's Chevy corvette i drove the same way in the same place IMHO. The ride is very compliant and comfortable and it gives tactile informational sense of the road. There is however considerable road noise at speed on bad surfaces. (Seattle has some of the roughest surfaces in the country due to metal spiked winter tires used here).
    At the other end of the spectrum is the standard air suspension with 19" wheels. Noticeably the quietest (almost eerily so) although some road noise still gets through on them Seattle highways. However, the handling although still quite good, does not seem to communicate tactically and feels numb by comparison. Ride quality was silky smooth and reminds me of a Rolls Royce.
    The 21" wheels on standard P85 was a little better than the 19's in the handling department and seemed about a third of the way between the 19 and P85+ mentioned here. Noise also seems about half way between. The ride seemed closer (about 2/3 of the way to) the P85+. Having said that, the differences in ride quality between the 19's and the P85+ seemed relatively small to me.
    If you live in an area where the road surfaces are relatively smooth then the P85+ is a no brainer if you can afford it. On bad road surfaces like in Seattle, then it is a harder decision to make and depends own what you value most.


    - - - Updated - - -

    And congratulations! The blue looks awesome.
     
  15. Sundy

    Sundy Member

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    My firmware is 1.35.106. I read that someone else had 1.35.107 already, and was not having the gps/spinning map problem, so perhaps they've fixed it, but I haven't gotten the update yet.
     
  16. logan

    logan Member

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    Really awesome write up. Congrats and enjoy your ride! :)
     
  17. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    Great story and glad you like the car so much. Welcome to the club!

    About the UMC and extension cord in the rain. Just make sure where the two plug together stays out of puddles and you'll be fine. Even then, the worst thing that could happen is it shorts to ground and the GFCI in the UMC trips, turning off the circuit. Basically, don't worry about it.
     
  18. Cattledog

    Cattledog Active Member

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    Great write up, nice to relive the joy of the first days every time someone shares. Thanks.
     
  19. swegman

    swegman Member

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    I'm wondering if the P85 loaner you drove had the same problem my car and the Edmunds car (and likely others) had. Namely, that the alignment was way off. In my car (with 5,000 miles and Michelin Pilot tires), the alignment was opposite to that specified by Tesla (Toe out rather than Toe in), which was also the case with the Edmunds car. I found that the car would slightly float under hard acceleration and had a tendency to "jump" to the left a bit when the accelerator was floored. I also complained to Tesla service that my energy usage was higher that what was being reported by other drivers (I would be using about 380 Whr at about 60 mph.

    Tesla did an alignment check and discovered that it was way off. After doing the alignment, the car no longer has the floating feel, nor does it jump under hard acceleration. And my energy usage is about 301-305 Whr at 60 mph.

    I have a hunch that Tesla did not properly align all or most of at least the early cars that were shipped, or the car has a poor design that allows it to go out of alignment easily.

    BTW, for the first 1000 miles, my car had the Continental tires. Handling is much improved with the Pilot tires. So if the P85 loaner had the Continental tires (most likely), it is impossible to make a valid comparison to the P85+, which has Michelin tires, as it is not just the suspension differences but also the tire differences that affect the handling/ride. To make a valid comparison, you need to compare a P85 with Michelin tires to a P85+. Only then can you determine how the suspension differences affect handling/ride.
     
  20. Sundy

    Sundy Member

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    I tried North-up mode several times, and didn't see the spinning map in this mode.

    Unfortunately, the Menlo Park SC called and said that the problem seems to be with the physical gyro in the car, and that they have to replace the whole touchscreen. He said they had a "bad batch" of them.

    I presume the gyro is used to interpolate the position of the car when the GPS is not available (ie. through tunnels and under trees)? If so, this could explain the behavior I was seeing, since the car's position on the map would wander off for a while, then snap back into position every so often.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Great, thanks for the info. I didn't know about the GFCI in the UMC, and was wondering if I should only plug into GFCI 110v plugs.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I did know from reading other posts here that some P85's had the tendency to pull to the side under hard acceleration, but I didn't feel this on the P85 I drove. You are right that you can't really make a valid comparison with different tires on the two cars. That said, when comparing two cars with the same 21" wheels but different rubber, the grip and road noise may not be a fair comparison, but it seems like the leaning and suspension feel differences would still be there. I doubt I'm sensitive enough to know which parts of the different ride were attributable to the tires, and which to the suspension.
     

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