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Ride quality vs other luxury cars

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Bennny, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. Bennny

    Bennny Member

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    So many variables, I know.

    Assuming you're comparing a MS with air suspension compared to Mercedes Benz/Land Rover/Lexus et al, how would the two compare? Assume that wheel sizes are comparable, and the test is for cabin noise, overall ride comfort, handling, ability to handle bumps etc
     
  2. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    #2 yobigd20, Jan 25, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
    Coming from a Range Rover that also had 19" wheels, the MS is 1000000x better in every aspect. The Land Rover was such a piece of crap with significant problems including critical safety design defects I lemon law'd it right back to the manufacturer.
     
  3. luster

    luster Member

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    The ride quality is actually _REALLY_ good. You could go as far to say that the MS is in a class of it's own.

    Cabin noise is minimal
    Ride comfort great
    handling is tight, very confident
    speed humps are a bit of a concern or pot-holes in general

    The area that the MS falls over is the comfort and aesthetic of the cockpit.

    Interior lighting is nothing like a luxurious euro car (even Chrysler do a better job)
    little touches like felt lined cubby holes are nowhere to be found
    lack of seat control options are a let down
    sound system is atrocious
    AC vents are a little lacking
    Panels etc aren't like a luxury car in that they don't feel so plush and put together by some sort of artisan.

    I know you didn't ask about interior but it's bugging me a little...
     
  4. Bennny

    Bennny Member

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    You make a very good point mate - I forgot to add interior to the list, but it is indeed a critical point.

    When my Wife and I sat in the Tesla with standard leather seats, the overall fit and finish was sub par compared to a comparably priced Range Rover Sport.
     
  5. luster

    luster Member

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    The seating position is really high (which i dont like) so it's kind of like a range rover :biggrin:

    The positives of this car really significantly outweigh the negatives though. These things will most likely be addressed in upcoming refreshes of the model cycles. The car is certainly built for function. And you can see the engineering that comes with function.

    Unfortunately, as is often the case with a good technical or programmatic engineer is that the things that when it comes to over-the-top luxury style or the experience of luxury are missing. Simple things like accent lighting throughout the car is very underwhelming, tactile buttons and switches are like they are just bought from the shelf at a Chinese market, door panels feel more like Nissan than what you would call a luxury car.

    The Model S is more like a GT-R than an M5 or C/E63. It's amazing to drive and gear heads will be absolutely satisfied. But those looking for something a little more refined are left a little let down.
     
  6. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    Couldn't disagree more with most of your points. Tesla is all about understatement but for too many people "luxury" is all about self conscious over statement and conspicuous consumption.
     
  7. LetsGoFast

    LetsGoFast Active Member

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    I guess people's perceptions of ride quality are quite subjective, because I don't see much that both answers your question and that I agree with. I don't have very much time behind the wheel of a Land Rover, but I've spent many many hours driving both Mercedes and Lexus cars. The Tesla is generally pretty quiet, although I'd say it still transmits a bit more road noise than either of the other two. The difference is not great, so I'd call this one sort of a toss-up. The Tesla is much quieter off the line because of less engine noise and powertrain vibration, but at highway speeds, the tire and wind noise is louder. I'm actually a touch dissapointed by this, because I think Tesla could very easily deliver the quietest car in its class if they paid more attention to the problem. They do not appear to have used very much sound insulation at all.

    I'd generally put "ride comfort" and "handling" as opposite ends of the same spectrum. To me, a car that really transmits the road feel through the wheel offers better handling and a car that isolates you from the road has greater "ride comfort." I would say that Lexus is by far the furthest down the "road, what road?" spectrum and the Tesla is the best connected to the road (I'm speaking specifically about the P85D here). To me, even the more performance oriented Benz rides tend to be a bit more floaty and soft. So I'd say that the Tesla is the least comfortable, although still a pleasant enough highway ride -- certainly far less jarring that my 911. Since I prefer a balance that tends more towards road feel and less towards absorbing bumps as if they weren't there, I'd say that MB has the best overall balance between performance and comfort, with Tesla next and Lexus last. However, this is almost entirely because I hate the floaty grandma road feel of the Lexus. If you prefer that kind of ride, you'd like it the best.

    The air suspension does a reasonably good job of absorbing minor bumps and road irregularities, while still providing pretty good responsiveness to steering input. It actually reminds me a good deal of the Benz air suspension feel and I'd not be surprised to learn that they share a number of parts.
     
  8. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    I'm not sure what understatement has to do with any of his points, though. Accent lighting IS underwhelming, the switchgear IS right from the bottom of the Mercedes parts bin, and the door panels DO feel decidedly downmarket from the direct competition.

    In general, I think the GT-R comparison is apt, and I'd add things like the WRX STI and Evo are in the same boat. This car has all the hallmark qualities of a vehicle where money was consciously allocated to the power train to the detriment of interior quality relative to other cars in its price class.

    And to be clear, I think they made all the right choices, but the result is pretty clear. You can have a minimalist interior with materials that better reflects the car's price point, but that money was rightly directed to getting the powertrain right. Some would prefer it be more quiet, but I think they struck a reasonable compromise.


    That said, the above is all a bit of a tangent from "Ride Quality," which I think it top notch. The car does superbly for a vehicle of its size. If I had one request, it'd be more steering feel (it's a bit numb). Other than that, I wouldn't change much of anything.
     
  9. logan

    logan Member

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    Meh, the Model S is a great car and I love mine but it's miles behind competitors like the W222 S-Class in terms of luxury. One example is the poor leather quality which is far worse than a CLS or S.
     
  10. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    Do you want a battery powertrain or do you want better leather and other interior materials? You pay your money and you take your choice.
     
  11. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    I've driven a lot of cars in this category, and one thing that startles me about the Model S is its steering geometry. When combined with the flat torque curve of Tesla's drive train, I find the sensation remarkable, especially when making a turn after a full stop. When I make the same maneuver in my Audi S6, it feels awkward in comparison. Tesla really got this right. The added ballast of the battery and its low placement give the Model S a more sure-footed feel. I swear, at 75 on a smooth highway, the Model S feels like a maglev.
     
  12. LetsGoFast

    LetsGoFast Active Member

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    I totally agree with you that the interior finishes are second-rate as compared to the other luxury marques, but that has absolutely zero to do with the actual question raised in the OP.
     
  13. mdevp

    mdevp Member

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    Yes, I thought this thread was about ride quality vs competition. If I were concerned with leather quality, stitching and wooden inserts and paneling I'd buy a fancy leather couch, some furniture and sit and stare at it all day. :smile:
     
  14. InternetDude

    InternetDude Member

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    I thought Tesla calls it a premium car, not luxury car...?
     
  15. MikeL

    MikeL some guy

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    Yes. Price point leads to the assumption of 'luxury' classification. In my opinion, the title of this thread would be more on target without the word "other". Try it !:smile:
    Tesla model S is a Premium Performance Sedan
     
  16. dandelot

    dandelot Member

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    Jaguar S-type was smoother at all speeds. Might have been more due to
    tire-sidewall stiffness or tire pressure though. We lowered our pressures
    for around-town use and are perfectly happy.

    It's difficult to drive our new-ish mini S slowly. Acc/Decellerate are rather
    abrupt (just toooo tempting). Model S is easy to drive sedately when
    the passenger wants such :)
     
  17. Barry

    Barry Member

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    I don't mean this in a derogatory way, but why did you buy that in the first place? Haven't you read reviews that rank it at the very bottom for reliability year after year?
     
  18. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    It's a car sitting on top of a ~$45,000 (MSRP) battery. Once you take that off the top, the Model S is much more equivalent to a $40,000-$50,000 car. Judge it accordingly.
     
  19. hhh

    hhh Member

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    It the replacement price of a battery pack not half this price? Have never seen this 45k pricepoint, but I might have missed it?
     
  20. rocketdallas

    rocketdallas Member

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    Ride quality is terrific in my opinion, especially when you consider the lack of noises as you cruise along. I've found on smooth roads, the ride is very serene and enjoyable even at high speeds. I came from MB vehicles and think there is similarity in ride tuning as the car rides "heavy" and flat, if that makes sense.
     

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