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Reverse Review - Got a Non-AP RWD Loaner (I drive a 85D w/AP)


I saw a lot of threads here where owner of "classic" S talk about their experience when getting a AP equipped loaner car. Well, my car is in the shop right now getting its first annual and the loaner in a 30 000 VIN P85 w/o auto pilot on coils and 19in wheels (winter tires were put on just before I got the car). Reminder : I drive a 85D on air with 19in wheels.

Couple of things I noticed :

1-The old stalk positions : took me 15min of driving to get used to the lower turn signal stalk, that one is not too bad. Same for the drive one. Both are OK. What I really disliked : the cruise control stalk. The "push" function is really awkward : mine is a simple button at the end of the stalk, this one actually slides over the shaft. It's sitting very high and the light is distracting in low-light.

2-The vacuum based brake booster : I was a bit shocked when I head the vacuum pump starting after actuating the brakes. In some instances, you can feel the vibration of the pump strokes in the brake pedal. Mine is definitely smoother. Also, since mine works all the time, starting up the car in the morning, the brake pedals feels the same as when driving. On the P85, it was very stiff, like on an ICE when there is no vacuum and you're not getting any assistance.

3-The seats : I have the regular seats, but the newer ones with the new head rest and more padding. I now understand why people switch to the Next Gen seats... The P85 seats were really stiff. While not as nice / comfortable as the NG seats, mine are a lot more comfortable than the one in the loaner. The increased visibility was not really worth it... especially when you're used to not rely too much on your windshield's rear view mirror.

4-Suspension : I'm glad I went with air. I have back problems and the P85 is very stiff. Ground clearance was not an issue at all but comfort was.

5-Acceleration : My 85D is definitely faster off the start because of AWD. The P85 tends to loose traction every single time I stomped on the throttle at low speed. At high speed (+55mph), the P85 pulls slightly more than my 85D. Passing power is better and I checked the release notes, this one did not get the performance improvements. The RWD is more fun to drive : having the rear tires slipping has its charm :)

6-Autopilot : I missed TACC during my commute. I never realized the reason I was not as much stressed out as before was because of TACC. I did not really miss auto steer, I find it mostly useful for long trips. Lane departure warning is turned off in my car so this was a non issue. Blind spot detection, meh, was also a non issue. I did drove over the limit a few times because I'm used to the speed assist but it's only because I'm now a bit more lazy when looking for speed limits since I got my car.

7-Version 7 : oh wow, I do miss the big power gauge. This thing is great. The energy app on Pre-AP cars is a bit weird : 2/3 of the area is to get to 0Wh/km and under it... what a waste. It least you get the "rated" line which is now absent from the V7 on AP cars. Overall, I thing it's OK on pre-AP cars. Not sure if the car was equipped with the lower resolution IC screen but it felt snappier than mine.

8-Cabin noise : you hear almost nothing from the drive units. In my 85D, the front motor/inverter makes noise. Car is more silent.

9-Efficiency : car is slightly less efficient than mine. Not sure how much is due to the suspension (not lowering at high speed) or the RWD. Tires & Wheels are the same on both cars...

10-Audio : I have the upgraded audio. While it's not great, the P85 sounds really weak. The front speakers on the upgraded audio are way better and you get a sound stage in the front. The P85's base system sounded like the rear speakers were contributing more than the front ones.

11-Premium interior : the loaner had the premium interior, I don't. I'm glad I did not pay for this. The materials feels better to the touch but visually they are almost identical.

12-Front trunk : wow this thing is huge. I use mine for windshield washer fluid (2x4L), a 14-50 extension, a first aid kit and wheel stoppers, it's pretty much full with that. I also like my new latch. It feels more "modern" than the old ones. It's a lot less clunky when closing mine.

13-Charge port : I forgot to close the charge port 2 times.... This thing looks to be more robust than the new, auto-closing, charge port. Especially the lock : mine makes a stepper motor sound when engaging. This one made a nice clunking sound when locking the handle. sounds magnetic.

So that's it. Now that I've driven a P85, I can confidently say that the 85D's performance is on par with the "old P". Apart for the red calipers, the carbon spoiler and the metal pedals which are all cosmetic things, the 85D is a great deal.
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Supporting Member
May 18, 2015
Somerset, PA
I appreciate your review and very much agree with most of your points. After recently having the opposite experience, with an AP loaner, there is one thing that I found night-and-day with and really love about my pre-AP "classic". Even with both vehicle's steering set to "standard", my classic is buttery smooth compared to the AP's. I assume this is the result of the AP steering servo motor.


Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
Charlotte, NC
#1 - I totally agree on the cruise stalk and especially its light!
#10 - I guess I lucked out as I dislike front-heavy sound stages and prefer more "surround" in my sound. After twiddling with the settings, I love my standard.

#6 - This weighed heavily on me with getting a CPO. After doing a couple drives in a TACC car, I loved TACC in traffic, but otherwise it hated my commute and the roads I generally drive on. I figured with AP, it would really be TACC that would be the big benefit for me, but I decided I would save up for AP 2.0.

Thank you llavalle for your comparison!
Congrats! I'm just about to break 30k miles! I hope to do an update on reliability at 30k or 35k. I have experience minor creaks and rattles, and that's about it!

Update: Actually, I just broke 30k yesterday! 30,071 miles since March 4th.

Nice ;)

As for reliability I had the usual stuff : leaking pano roof & fog in the backup lenses. I had a nasty rattling noise that took more than one visit to fix but it was very weird (it came from the left thumbwheel on the steering). From the factory, the car had a malformed plastic clip on one of the B pillar trim panel. Also from the factory, my charge port was cracked. They also added some shims to the steering rack because of a creaking noise.

Now, I picked up my car from the annual yesterday and there was more stuff that I anticipated that was done. I don't have the receipt yet but from what I can remember, they changed 3 out of 4 struts/air spring and also replaces axle joints on the front DU. I was told it was because of the VIN range.

So far the service has been stellar at the Montreal Service center but lets just say that the ESA is very tempting!


P85 & M3
Supporting Member
Feb 28, 2012
Irvine, CA
1-The old stalk positions : took me 15min of driving to get used to the lower turn signal stalk, that one is not too bad. Same for the drive one. Both are OK. What I really disliked : the cruise control stalk. The "push" function is really awkward : mine is a simple button at the end of the stalk, this one actually slides over the shaft. It's sitting very high and the light is distracting in low-light.

For me, it was the other way around (Classic owner / AP enabled loaner).

I kept engaging TACC on my loaner as I was used to the turn signal being the lower stalk. It actually felt more un-ergonomic with my short fingers to reach the top stalk to engage the turn signals.
Quick follow up guys.

Now that winter is upon us (at least here!), I've been driving my AWD Tesla in severe winter conditions. I had a Service Center appointment this morning to check the seat belt issue + weird knocking noise coming from front Drive Unit (sounds like a engine mount). Had a similar P85 Loaner (earlier vin, in the 20000 range). Guess what ? : snow storm this morning!

Couple of things I noticed :

1-Regen on "normal" is VERY dangerous in snow on a RWD Model S, wow, I was not expecting that. Getting out of the service center, the car almost went sideways while stopping at the first red light.

2-I really, really like my Nokian R2s. The loaner is equipped with the Sottozeros and it made me remember why I decided to swap from the Pirellis to the Nokians.

3-The TC works A1. The car is solid when driving on very slippery conditions. I do have a feeling that the rear brakes would not last long with the amount of braking that was getting applied by the TCs because of the open diff but that's about it. The car was slow from a start (as expected) but it was a lot easier to drive than the RWD ICEs I'm used to, probably because of the low inertia drivetrain and favorable weight distribution.

That's about it.. oh yeah, I hate the old style stalks....and I still miss the old power meter!

Edit : since weather is subjective, here's what it looked like this morning :
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Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
Charlotte, NC
I almost drove my Classic S on a ski trip this past weekend. Very different conditions since this was North Carolina, but good to know if I ever take it. I know the tires are the most important thing I could put on them. Right now I ride on the OE Goodyear All Seasons since we never get a ground freeze and maybe two or three inches of snow all year long, where I live. But the occasional trip like this where there is ice and snow on the road, I should definitely turn regen to low then.

On the control stalks, I find it amusing that I have no problem going back and forth between the Toyota, Honda, and Tesla, but I get mixed up every time I get in a loaner for a period of time. I spend some time engaging AP when I mean to indicate a turn in the loaner, and then after a day or two when I get my car back, I end up trying to engage cruise control on my car when indicating a turn! Lol

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