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Thoughts while washing my car (aka MS vs RRS)

Discussion in 'Model S' started by mookhead, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. mookhead

    mookhead Member

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    #1 mookhead, Jan 30, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
    So, I washed my Model S (for the first time ever! woot!) over the weekend, and then washed my wife’s Range Rover Sport right after. As I washed each car bit, it occurred to me that the two cars were very similar, and that in many ways, the cheaper Range Rover was technologically superior, more luxurious, and put together much more carefully.

    Very similar, you say? Well, they weigh within 100lbs of each other, accelerate to 60 within fractions of a second of each other, have almost identical cargo space, are AWD, have spartan, minimalist interiors, they both have insane door seals, though for different reasons, and they both represent the epitome of (very different) facets of modern car design.

    First, my Car Guy Bonafides: the MS is the 15th (16th? I lose track) car, some of which sucked (Hyundai Excel, anyone?) and some which rocked (Lotus Elise, how I miss thee). This is my 3rd EV, after a Fiat 500e and a Roadster, and I'd driven many Model Ss before, sometimes for weeks at a time (which is what happens when a SC takes 6 weeks to change a tail light - long story). I've tracked cars, autocrossed them, offroaded them, taken them apart and put them back together (mostly).

    What am I comparing? I’m comparing an AP2.0 90D with premium seats, SAS, PUP, and glass roof with a 2014 Range Rover Sport Supercharged, with the Dynamic Package and a bunch of little premium upgrades (but not the stereo upgrade or the 360 video, which I regret). It would be more natural to compare the MS to my wife's last car, an MB CLS550 - maybe I will, at the end.

    Driving Experience

    Acceleration: The 90D gives you a bit more oomph from traffic light to traffic light, but gets lazy at highway speeds, though it gives you that instant throttle response EVs are famous for - it feels clinical, almost like moving a cursor around. The RRS is very laggy from a stop (shucks, it usually shuts off the engine), but makes up for it as soon as it gets going. It also pulls hard all the way up to the speed limiter (155mph), which is very different from the MS. And it *roars* all the way. Some folks grow to hate ICE exhaust notes, but not I.

    Handling: I’ve driven both the RRS and the DS to their limits in canyons and on cloverleafs. Both vehicles behave very well, doing better than their weight implies. The MS does this by putting the weight near the ground, while the RRS does this via a large variety of technological magic: dynamically adjustable dampers, dynamic hydraulic roll bars, and (3!) differentials with continuously variable electronically controlled torque vectoring make it feel like a very large go cart. They're both great, but the RRS is more versatile and dynamic. It actually wallows less than the MS.

    Headlights: The RRS has proper corner-hugging projector headlamps which work very well, and automatic highbeams that actually work. I don’t like the MS LED headlamp spread, nor do I like the fake cornering adjustments. There are actually cleaning jets on the RRS for snow and mud. RRS wins here.

    Offroad handling: I haven’t really put the MS through much offroading, nor do I plan to - maybe snow at most. The RRS is a beast offroad, with multiple drive modes that actually make a difference. Being able to drive in 3 feet of water is very cool - not that you can actually do that in CA.

    Overall: the MS is clinical, luxurious in its acceleration and very predictable, while the RRS is raucous and a bit laggy. Neither are very fun to drive around twisty canyons, though I give the RRS a slight edge there. On the freeway and in traffic, the MS wins. For a long trip, it really depends on whether I’m in a rush or not. The RRS is very comfortable for road trips, as is the MS, but the MS adds roughly 50% in duration to whatever the RRS would take. Time is luxury too.

    Cabin

    Both cabins are spartan and minimalist, which I dig. I don’t even mind that there are no door pockets on the MS - they just accumulate cruft.

    User Interface: I much prefer the RRS’s small selection of useful hard buttons to the MS’s everything-through-the-touchpanel approach. My rear passengers can control their climate without bugging me, the steering wheel heater is easy to turn on and off, as are the ride height, driving mode, headlight mode, etc etc etc. The MS is very clean but really kind of ridiculous.

    Comfort: The seats are very comfortable on both cars. The MS premium seats are softer with a bit more bolster, but the RRS seats are way more adjustable - I haven’t done a proper roadtrip on the premium MS seats, so I’ll reserve judgement, but the RRS seats will be hard to beat. Both offer cooling and heating modes, though the RRS seats cool more and faster. The MS actually has 2 more cupholders than the SUV, but the SUV has a friggin coolbox/fridge, which is very useful on long drives. The RRS has a rear armrest, which is also nice for long drives.

    Cabin Noise: both cabins are relatively quiet, but the MS wins here at normal speeds.

    Stereo: I understand the premium RRS stereo is very good, but I don’t have that. The UHDS MS stereo is much better than the base RRS stereo, except that it doesn’t support iphone-on-usb (really, tesla?).

    Sunroof: Both have big glass roofs, though the RRS offers an properly opening sunroof and a power sunshade. They’re both awesome, but the RRS is more versatile. It also doesn’t preclude a roof rack. I preferred the RRS pano roof to my loaner P85+’s pano sunroof (it doesn’t have as big a bar in the middle). Visually, I prefer the Tesla Glass roof, but really miss the option to draw a shade, and, really, give my poor passengers some 'oh *sugar*' handles.

    Technology (Electronics, not drivetrain)

    The MS has no competition here, especially once AP2 started working. On the other hand, when I’m driving in the hills and there is no cell signal, the RRS’s primitive navigation still, you know, works, while the tesla falls on its face.

    Conclusion

    The 90D is a great car, I love it. I bought it knowing exactly what I was buying. In terms of material luxury, it loses out to much cheaper cars, but it just doesn’t get more luxurious than having a chauffeur. I just wish you got a bit more of the ‘car’ bit when paying $115k :) The RRS offers a very similar driving experience, but is more versatile and useful, and costs about $25k less (plus whatever 18mpg costs, I guess). I'm glad I have both cars in my stable.

    Now if I could just convince my wife to let me buy a track toy (again) :)

    Bonus: I loved the CLS550, but my wife hated it (you could hit 140mph with so little drama you wouldn't notice, and occasionally did). The seats had massagers (but were still super-uncomfortable - only germans could pull that off), and it had lane keeping (sucked dangerously, but it was 2013!). There was something about it, though - something to do with the ride dynamics, or the ergonomics, that made everyone except the driver dislike being in it. We didn't keep it for long.
     
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  2. rhino

    rhino Member

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    Thank you for the write up and objective comparison. Please stop driving over 100mph before somebody gets killed
     
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  3. docherf

    docherf Member

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    Great comparison. Never would have thought of how similar those vehicles are.

    My teen son was just telling me the other day that the RR sport is the coolest looking SUV out there.
     
  4. Ohji

    Ohji Member

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    I really enjoyed this post - thanks for the detailed comparison!

    My prior car was the CLS550 (2012), and I actually loved that car. It was powerful and smooth and an incredibly fun place to be for both long and short drives. The adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, and active safety features were great for early 2012, and I found all of those features to work extremely well from day 1.

    And like you, there are definitely a few things I miss from my CLS550 -- the blind spot detection (it was flawless), the active side bolsters, a climate control system that keeps my feet from becoming blocks of ice (lol), and the adaptive headlights (I didn't notice how big a difference the Mercedes' true adaptive headlights made until I got the Model S).

    That being said, I am not at all unhappy with my purchase of the Model S. My S has way more power, but as you mentioned, it is the responsiveness and complete absence of lag that makes it feel so amazing. I enjoy the driving experience a great deal more in my S.

    You also mentioned regarding the CLS:

    "There was something about it, though - something to do with the ride dynamics, or the ergonomics, that made everyone except the driver dislike being in it."

    I believe that something may have been the suspension. I like sporty suspensions, and having the CLS for 5 years probably made me forget how harsh the ride was, but even with the air suspension on comfort, the ride was MUCH harsher than the Model S. It was one of the most striking things I noticed when I got my S last month.

    Thanks again for your thoughts. Before I was bitten by the Tesla bug, I was strongly considering the S class coupe. I never drove it, though, and I always wondered if I should have driven more cars before settling on the Tesla. I enjoy reading comparisons like this!
     
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  5. mookhead

    mookhead Member

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    I know I came across as someone who casually drives 100+, but I'm not (outside the track). I'll usually take a new car to its limiter soon after buying it, on a nice, safe, abandoned highway, but I rarely drive faster than 85 or so. The Roadster never saw 100, and I had it for three years, and the Model S hasn't passed 90 (it just doesn't encourage me to speed).
     
  6. mookhead

    mookhead Member

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    I've had harsher cars, and no complaints. For the CLS, my family complained about motion sickness. My suspicion is that it was a combination of the ride and the cocoon-like cabin.
     
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  7. DIL

    DIL Member

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    #7 DIL, Jan 31, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
    • THANK YOU for addressing handling
    • There's just not enough discussion of dynamic capabilities on this forum and too much focus on straight line speed.
    • I wonder if the wallowing you mentioned would be mitigated by coils instead of SAS? Also 19" or 21" wheels? Square or staggered set up?
    • A few folks here have mentioned how MS is like a modern take on Rolls Royce, with an effortless, wafting, and silent magical transport from one place to the next with minimal fuss. Your review emphasizes that.
    • I think you're the only one who believes that Tesla ventilated seats actually do anything! I really hope they come back.
    • When other manufacturers come out with FSD, how will Tesla fare?
    • Thanks again for the unique review, and please keep it coming.
    • I have a '15 GS350 F Sport, which isn't terribly fast but dynamically superb. With intention to get Tesla end of this year when my lease runs out, I'm prepared to be disappointed by handling in the twisties.
    • The fact that you can't pull a shade over the pano or glass roof drives me nuts.
     
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  8. mookhead

    mookhead Member

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    Regarding driving dynamics: it doesn't really 'waft' - it goes where you point it, it takes a 'set' very predictably (i.e. in a corner, it will shift its weight predictably and keep that geometry), and it behaves very well at the limit.

    I was able to take cloverleafs confidently, repeatably doing a four wheel slide to the outer edge of the lane just as I merged onto the freeway. Was it fun? No, it was a little boring: there is little feedback coming back through the steering wheel, and no drama from the tires.

    Keep in mind I daily drove an Elise for 8 years, so I'm spoiled. Even the Roadster felt piggy after that.

    If the car were a bit smaller, I think I'd quite enjoy driving it in the hills, but as it is, I'm worried about its shear size.
     
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  9. Craiggow

    Craiggow Member

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    I own a 2015 S-90 D and a 1988 Porsche Carrera (911) for over twenty years. While the S is much faster, more responsive and luxurious the Porsche is still a blast to drive. After owning the "S" for over a year now I can say that both are comparable in the cornering feel due to their low center of gravity. I love having the two in the garage side by side as they both represent bench marks in auto design handling and engineering.
     
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  10. hmmm

    hmmm Member

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    How slow are you driving the RR?
     
  11. mookhead

    mookhead Member

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    Not slow at all :)

    I get about 15 around town and 18-20 on freeway. If I drive it like the S, I'd probably get 10...
     
  12. DIL

    DIL Member

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    ^^This is why I'm starting to think the Model 3 might be a tight little ride.
     
  13. ShockOnT

    ShockOnT Quickish

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    I have coils and the handling still wallows a bit, at least for a car with such a low CoG. I think the weight of the car just can't be hidden from the laws of physics.
    For me the MS is the perfect touring car.
    For sports, I would love a new Tesla Roadster. I saw Elon get asked about whether they would make a new Roadster and he just about choked up with whistful tears. I bet it can't be more than a few years until they bring one out.
     
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  14. ShockOnT

    ShockOnT Quickish

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    It will be interesting to see what specs the M3 comes in.
    A high performing model could be a blast.
     
  15. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    So fun to read this thread! Thanks @mookhead for starting it.

    I am one of the lucky few who got a P85+ with AP. It really is a bit more brutish and harder to control, which I love! I do have SAS and find it to be quite firm. More so than the coiled loaners that I have had and I believe more so than the newer models with SAS. And I love it! I may pay one hell of a price in tires (4th set just put on at 31K mi) because of it, but I find my car to handle really well for being a "luxury sedan". I am surprised at just how flat this beast can be when hammering it through the mountain twisties where I live. She's not like my little baby convertibles of the past. But pretty damn close. There is only so much we can do about mass, after all.

    So, while my MS is not as luxurious as the competitors costing what mine did at 130K for everything offered at the time, I got all the things that I was looking for: speed, handling and basically no nonsense. I too, like the spartan over the plush.
     
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  16. mookhead

    mookhead Member

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    The "+" in the "P85+" was tuned dampers and geometry. I drove one for about a month and loved it. The 90D SAS is never going to feel like that (because the AWD system is bias towards efficiency and stability, not 'fun').

    This is a downside to a 2 motor EV vs. a traditional AWD ICE - with the right setup, the ICE can send up to 100% of its power to either axle, whereas the 90D is stuck with its front/back distribution (even if Tesla offered a 'fun RWD mode', it would be underpowered).
     

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