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P85 vs P85+ - Help me tell the difference...

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by d47m122, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. d47m122

    d47m122 Member

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    I know this has been posted before, but the previous posts aren't helping me. I just test drove a P85 and a P85+ today. The P85 had standard suspension (not air) and the P85+ had the air. I am considering a Model S as my next car. The lease on my 2011 BMW M3 is up soon.

    I cannot for the life of me feel *a major difference* between these two cars. I can feel a little more body roll in the P85 than I can from the P85+ but the standard suspension in the P85 feels more like my BMW than the P85+ does. The P85+ feel floaty to me with the air suspension. A little about me: I have an M3 and have for 3 years. I don't often track this car, but have. I had an E60 550i M Sport for 3 years before that so I would consider myself comfortable and used to high performing BMW cars.

    Without driving a Model S at a track, which I cannot see myself doing, can anyone tell me how I should be feeling the differences between the two cars?
    • Both have the same accel, I can feel that.
    • The P85 with standard suspension has more road feel to me than the P85+ with air.
    • I can't tell really any difference in the steering feel.
    • I can tell there is a bit more body roll, but coming from any BMW the Model S feels like a tank.

    Perhaps it's just the really short amount of time that I've been able to spend with this car, but I'm really struggling to justify an extra 10k on an already expensive Model S for this upgrade. Overall I feel like the P85+ is really kinda of a "but this goes to 11" option.

    I am seriously impressed with the Model S overall the the accel in this thing knocked my socks off. Its an excellent car.

    Help me? Many thanks!
     
  2. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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  3. d47m122

    d47m122 Member

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    Yeah. I did that today. I'm in Seattle and took it on I-5, across 520 a bit and then through some windy roads back down to the sales center. In fact, they were great today I drove the P85 twice today and the P85+ once. The 2nd time I did them back to back.
     
  4. DIL

    DIL Member

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    Dylan: Did both cars have 21" wheels? There's a minority here that agree with you on the standard suspension being superior to the air. Also, a strong pull for all of us with performance in our veins (coming out of an M3, you must have this affliction) that want the ne plus ultra of available options.

    I am going with a P85 with standard springs for the best combination of daily usability and enough performance to scratch the itch.
     
  5. Jason S

    Jason S Model S Sig Perf (P85)

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    If you are going to do your own mods (tires, suspension links, etc) then go with P85 and mod away, imho. If you want the best you can get without mods (maybe a lease option...) then P85+ with either suspension but I'd go air for the overall feel.

    The P85 is a very nice car. Even so, when driving it, I sometimes feel the desire to change the tires to some Michelins for the extra bit of grip and handling.
     
  6. d47m122

    d47m122 Member

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    Thanks guys. This is def where I'm leaning. I was sorta surprised to see that a performance upgrade required air suspension. I def felt the standard suspension had more connection to the road. I also wonder if what makes the biggest difference in the + is the upgraded tires which could just be added to the 85 after the stock ones wear out.

    I'm leaning against the P85+.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Yes, both had the 21 inch wheels.
     
  7. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

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    I've put about 13K on a P and about 2K so far on a P+. I love the P+, hands down my favorite! it's got such a glued to the road feel. there are trade offs. the most significant downside of the P85+ is the road noise on our rough concrete highways. I don't mind feeling the expansion joints more but the noise is enough to consider noise dampening under the carpets. I have 19" logano's with all season's coming this week. I will probably sell the performance wheels and tires since it's wet and cold here so much of the year.

    I found the P85 to be a bit floaty in the back on rapid acceleration, it's like the traction control kicks in unevenly or something, giving an unnerving fish tail shimmy. with the P+ you don't get that. it will be interesting to see what it's like with 19's.
     
  8. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

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  9. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    I am a bit intrigued that you didn't feel much of a difference. I felt a difference between P85 and P85+ both with air. Really requires empty windy roads for me to enjoy.

    I found I liked for my 'normal' driving with a lot of other cars, I actually preferred a boring S85 over the + because I like the quiet cocoon in traffic. And hey less expensive is always better. If I lived somewhere less busy, my choice might be different, but there is always a ton of cars around.

    Hey if you like the lower cost item, go for it!

     
  10. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    There is a difference, for sure. But, frankly, if you can't tell the difference, then I wouldn't spend the money on it.
     
  11. dejavo0

    dejavo0 Member

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    I tried both configs. I can definitely feel more squat in acceleration with the p85 with coils. Also, one side of the rear squats down a lot more on a p85 with coils than on the plus during hard accession through a corner.( doing a right turn sweeper makes the left rear go down more, gives me an uneasy feeling)
     
  12. DIL

    DIL Member

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    Boy, if Texex91 was still on this forum, he would have been all over this one.

    Dylan: If you want to be converted to a +, go look up texex91's posts. It's quite a saga.
     
  13. Shumdit

    Shumdit Member

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    He is still here. I am surprised he has not chimed in already.
     
  14. AMN

    AMN Member

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    Was the steering mode on the Plus set to "Sport"?
     
  15. Smop

    Smop Banned

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    The Coil Suspension Model S imo has much better road feel than the P+ from a steering perspective that is where the Model S really is terrible all around. The Steering feels syrupy and just imprecise. I am not sure if this can be fixed via software or if it is an issue with the EPS OEM they are using. I am hoping they offer an updated part that really improves this aspect of the vehicle.

    The "sport" steering mode just makes the amount of effort required to turn the wheel heavier.
     
  16. simplesolar

    simplesolar Member

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    I find the sport steering mode becomes a nuisance while daily driving. Too heavy for driving with one hand and feels artificially heavy.
     
  17. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    I've been driving my P85 with air suspension, 19" wheels since March. A few months ago I got a chance to drive a P85 with coils, and 21 inch wheels. And today I got a P85+ loaner with air and 21" wheels. My thoughts:

    All Model S exhibit more body roll in fast tight corners than my much lighter Mercedes SL55 2 seater did. People talk about a car driving as if it were on rails. Well, that SL55 drove like that, today's P85+ did not. I don't think you can get away from how heavy this sedan is, and the fact that it is a sedan.

    You definitely hear more road noise with 21" tires, if the AC isn't blasting. It is noticeable, but not objectionable (YMMV).

    The difference between coil and air suspension is subtle. I could take either one with a slight preference to the air.

    The P85+ suspension is quite a bit stiffer than a P85. It exhibits less floaty feeling on the freeway, and a tighter feel in corners and on the road. The flipside is that it is a more jarring ride. You hit a slight bump and you get jerked back to neutral quickly as opposed to the P85 which is a more gentle, luxurious ride. Both handle twisty roads just fine. The P85+ has less under steer on twisty roads - it doesn't feel like it is fighting you as much when making high speed turns. Overall, slight edge to the P85+, but you just can't get away from the body roll which is still there.

    As far as road grip goes, yeah the 21" tires have more grip, but you'd have to seriously stress the car for it to make a difference.

    For me, it comes down to the type of ride you want. If you want a taunt more unforgiving ride with no freeway floaty feeling, then the P85+ is your car. If you like a smoother, softer ride, and can forgive the floaty freeway ride, then the P85 is the car to get.
     

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