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Rear Wheel Drive P85 is a Missed Opportunity for Tesla

Discussion in 'Model S' started by ToddRLockwood, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    #1 ToddRLockwood, Mar 10, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
    First, let me say that I am delighted that Tesla developed an all wheel drive version of the Model S, and that with the P85D they have once and for all settled the argument that electric cars will never match the performance of gasoline powered cars. But in the process of creating an all out super-sedan, Tesla may have inadvertently walked away from a lucrative market segment.

    The market I'm referring to is buyers who want sporty performance, above average handling, but who do not require all wheel drive and do not need insane acceleration. With the P85D, Tesla has pushed the Model S into rarified territory. As a former Ferrari owner, I would define "rarified" as a car that requires wider wheels in the rear than in the front, and which has sub-four-second zero-to-sixty acceleration. These traits are typically found on serious sports cars, not on cars used on a daily basis. Tires on such vehicles cannot be rotated, and in the case of the P85D the tire cost differential is substantial. A set of 21-inch Michelin Pilot Sport tires for a P85D costs $1,800 vs. $1,200 for a set of 21-inch Pilot Sport tires for my P85.

    In Tesla's current vehicle lineup, the 85 (RWD) offers zero-to-sixty acceleration of 5.4 seconds, or 5.2 seconds for the 85D (AWD). The original P85 (RWD) has a 4.2 second zero-to-sixty. So a buyer who wants a sporty suspension and a bit more acceleration than the 85 has only one choice — to go all the way to the P85D with its substantially higher price, higher tire costs, and shorter range. In my opinion, Tesla has eliminated the sweet spot for those who do not require all wheel drive, but do want a vehicle with a sporty feel.

    The P85+ offered buyers a way to take the P85's handling up another notch, at the cost and inconvenience of wider rear wheels, but at least it was optional. While the P85+ was in production, Tesla was also making improvements to the P85 suspension, making the P85 an even better option for daily use combined with sporty handing. Unfortunately, this configuration has been eliminated in a bid to push buyers into a more expensive vehicle. I think Tesla make a mistake in dropping the P85. They've created a gap in their product line that would fulfill the needs of many buyers.
     
  2. fiksegts

    fiksegts Active Member

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    The P85D's are now being delivered with non-staggered tires. Even so, at this price point and performance level, I'm not concerned about a few extra hundred $ in tires.

    I always thought the P85+ was a rip-off with limited benefits, I had a loaner a few weeks ago and confirmed my thoughts. This p85+ loaner had an MSRP of $129k, the P85D isn't much more, so why continue to produce it when you can have the added power, traction and stability of the P85D.
     
  3. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    The window sticker from my fully-loaded 2013 P85 shows a price of $101,850. As I recall, the PLUS Suspension option would have added $6,500. Granted, there's been at least one price increase since then, and many items that were standard on the P85 back then are now options. For a P85 owner now considering an upgrade, I either have to dumb down the performance and handling, or pay a lot more money for features I don't really need.
     
  4. Kalud

    Kalud Member

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    I fully agree with you Todd. In case I wreck my P85 I would be in a difficult situation because, of course, I would be tempted by the P85D for its performance but would prefer a P85 with its useful Frunk where I carry a double stroller most of the time and luggage otherwise. I need a performance minivan since we have 3 children. When I'm back alone in the car I enjoy the acceleration and handling. I guess I would have to choose between a CPO P85, a new S85 or a P85D... I can understand why people want AWD too, my former car was an AWD BMW and I loved it but I prefer RWD.
     
  5. fiksegts

    fiksegts Active Member

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    yea, my P85 msrp is $103k loaded up, they had some major prices increase since though, the same car a few months later was $116k....


     
  6. 3s-a-charm

    3s-a-charm Active Member

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    I'm sure they will bring back the P85/P85+ in some variant soon.
     
  7. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    The OP is from Vermont and doesn't want AWD? Anyway, I agree with him and think the P85 was a great mix and I was surprised that they got rid of it when the P85D came out. Why not keep that option?
     
  8. SherSlick

    SherSlick Member

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    I am in Colorado and don't want AWD. I only opted for it because: A. Insane acceleration B. It was a small price difference from the P85+ I had on order at the time.

    When I am driving on the track having a strictly RWD car has MANY benefits, even against the SMARTEST of AWD cars.
     
  9. zwede

    zwede 2013 P85+

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    They should bring back the P85+ (minus staggered wheels), but call it "P85" and price it like the old P85. That would put it nicely in between the current offerings.
     
  10. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Bluntly, nobody at all "needs" the P. It's purely a discretionary entertainment feature.

    However, if the original poster is correct, then Tesla is missing a large market of people willing to spend a bundle for the "P" (at great profit to Tesla) who do not want AWD. This would be an oversight which would lose substantial profits for Tesla.
     
  11. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    I'd guess that they eliminated the P85 option to keep the production line simplified and push people looking to spend more money to the even more expensive (and profitable) P85D. If so, they may bring it back once P85D demand is more satisfied and production capacity grows.
     
  12. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    #12 ToddRLockwood, Mar 10, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
    Haha. I've driven my P85 through two Vermont winters, including numerous ski trips. If the snow gets really serious, I'll pull out my old Audi—if for no other reason, to avoid putting the Tesla at risk. This winter I've been using Nokian R2 snow tires on the Tesla which are simply amazing.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Exactly. The P85 suspension (which originally included the air suspension option) had been taken to a pretty advanced level before it and the P85+ were discontinued.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I checked with Tesla Sales at the headquarters this morning. Tesla will not deliver a P85D with non-staggered 21-inch tires. They explained that the P85D suspension is specifically tuned for the wider rear tires and that driving the car with non-staggered 21-inch tires could cause handling problems under high lateral loads. Obviously, one can use non-staggered 19-inch tires in the winter, with the assumption that you'll be driving less aggressively in the wintertime.
     
  13. Victory

    Victory Member

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    If staggered wheels were your concern, isn't it as simple as changing to a non-staggered setup?
     
  14. SherSlick

    SherSlick Member

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    Aside from the major compromise in the handling (traction) characteristics, pretty much.
     
  15. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    Since the factory does not support it, I assume that the service centers won't either. So if your P85D needed an alignment, for example, the service center might not do it. There's also the cost of two more 21-inch wheels and tires to replace the original wider ones.

    Separate from this is the issue that many owners simply don't need AWD and might actually prefer RWD. (I've heard this from several former P85 owners who traded up to a P85D — While the AWD is nice, it feels "different," especially when powering through turns.) And if they are trading up from a P85, they'd have to settle for less power if they want to stay with RWD.
     
  16. JohnnyMac

    JohnnyMac Member

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    This! Bring back the P85 power w/o the added D cost / AWD.
     
  17. JST

    JST Active Member

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    I'll second all of this. I don't want a P85D--actively do not want it. Wouldn't buy it if it cost the same as an S85. I don't want or need AWD, don't want the lower efficiency and I especially don't want the smaller frunk.

    I *would* like something with a little more juice than my S85. The RWD P85 would have been a perfect upgrade, but now I'm not sure what I'll do when it's time to swap. Maybe find a used P85?

    My guess is that Tesla is steering customers toward the higher margin P85D while that car is still new, and that we may see a reintroduction of a "mid-range" performance model at some point. I hope so.
     
  18. dennis

    dennis P85D

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    That is absolutely not true. My P85D was delivered 10 days ago with non-staggered 245/35/21 Continental tires. I thought this was a build error and the DS went off to investigate. He said that the ordering website no longer stated either tire size or brand for the P85D so the car was built correctly. There is a whole thread about this here.

    I believe Tesla went to the staggered setup when the + was introduced to provide more margin against the car oversteering to comply with FMVSS 126 specifications for Electronic Stability Control Systems. It is likely that changes to the suspension and the AWD no longer make this a requirement for the P85D.
     
  19. MsElectric

    MsElectric Active Member

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    I disagree. The P85 makes absolutely no sense for the vast majority of customers looking to buy a Model S when for a tiny fraction more $ they can buy a P85D. Also with AWD the P85D is also going to be a lot safer in the hands of most drivers. Most typical drivers will have better control of the car with AWD.

    I'm sure a small fraction of potential buys would miss not being able to purchase a high performance RWD EV but it probably made no financial sense for Tesla to entertain that small segment of buyers.

    @ToddRLockwood: Dennis is right. Staggered wheels are no longer standard in the P85D and again I prefer it that way. You can now rotate tires. Unless you drive through a racetrack on your way to work you'd hardly notice much of a difference. Even the 19" wheels are larger than what you typically get with most other "performance" cars.
     
  20. tomas

    tomas Traded in 9 rep bars for M3, used to be somebody!

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    Keep it up, Todd! My classic brown P85 with lacewood just keeps getting more and more unique and desirable!
     

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