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Triple Test Drive Experience - 85D, P85D, P90DL

I had the good fortune to drive three MS variants back-to-back-to-back last week:

85D - 21", air, standard seats, standard sound
P85D - 21", air, next gen seats, upgraded sound
P90D - 21", air, next gen seats, upgraded sound

Since the new 90D variants came out, I wanted to make sure I was ordering the ideal car for me - had gone back and forth between 85D and P85D in the past, but until now couldn't drive the performance cars.

What is increasingly obvious is two things: 1) the sheer acceleration and punch of the P85D/P90D is amazing and a huge step forward for the technology, and 2) while Tesla has made noise with the top end performance cars, they have quietly made the 85D/90D an even better value for the money than the prior S85 cars.

As all three cars were on the same suspension and wheels, they all felt identical to me in terms of handling and responsiveness, which was of course easily modulated with the steering, suspension, and regen settings.

The 85D is no slouch off the line, and can put you in the back of your seat, even if it doesn't act like it wants to snap your neck. I was not terribly impressed with the standard seats during cornering, and the stock sound system leaves a little bit to be desired.

Getting the P85D out on the road, the first stop light we ran into saw nothing but clear pavement and an ideal launch pad ahead. Wow. Just wow. The reaction videos and such you see online give you an idea, but it's another thing to feel this big, heavy car just snap into motion with virtually no noise whatsoever. I didn't feel that once you were at 40+ MPH that I felt a big difference is responsiveness to the throttle compared to 85D. The next gen seats and high-fidelity sound in this car sold themselves to me very well and both are musts in my opinion.

So the question remained... Is Ludicrous Speed "really" faster than Insane Mode?

Yes. Yes it is. I thought there was a little more change from 85D to P85D than there was from P85D to P90D, but the difference is there, especially when you hop out of one and right into the other. Especially from say 40-70 MPH, the P90D just keeps pulling as hard as it did off the start. We did a standstill start from a stoplight next to some poor sap in a MB AMG-something who kinda inched forward like he wanted to play, and in an instant he was just GONE. Another deserted patch of road, turned off creep, foot fully off the brake and just stomped the go pedal... I'm still smiling about it!

In all, I learned:

- I will get the next gen seats and the upgraded sound
- if I was spending the extra $$$ for the happy pedal, I would skip P85D and get the P90D.
- that said, the cars feel all just so similar once at speed, I didn't feel like I needed to spend the extra coin to get a "better" car, but rather just a "faster" car. The 85/90D is about the old P85+ with AWD at a lower price point.

As much as I would love to have all that power under foot all the time, it costs a lot of money. In the end I ordered a fully-loaded 90D and I think it's going to be great!
I have driven the P85+, the P85D, and I own an S85D (recently did a 2,000 mile West Coast road trip here: Tesla West Coast Road Trip (2,000+ miles, 3 ferry rides, $0 in gas) Pictures ). I have not driven a P90DL yet.

I agree with your review, and like you, I would have ordered the 90D today even without any consideration for price. Range is king because of my travel patterns. Also, when I drove the P85D, I found myself giggling and grinning all the time from the extreme performance, but I often ended the day car sick. It does feel like it's trying to snap your neck. Here is my detailed comparison between the P85+ and the S85D:


Enjoy your new 90D!

- K


Fan of Red Lights
Jul 25, 2015
Bay Area, CA
As much as I would love to have all that power under foot all the time, it costs a lot of money. In the end I ordered a fully-loaded 90D and I think it's going to be great!

Congrats! I think the dual motor was a great choice. I played around with an older P85+ for a while and I found the single motor just didn't feel as good on the road and when accelerating could lose traction on dry pavement.

Thanks for the thoughts on the P90D!
One comment: Before you drop $2500 on the UHFS, consider what $2500 toward an aftermarket system can buy you. Same thing with $4500 toward aftermarket wheels and tires ;)

Keep in mind that while aftermarket speakers may be better, UHFS gives you more speakers that are fit to the car and pre-wired. It also gives you larger speakers, which would cost a lot to retrofit. Upgrading a UHFS system would be significantly better than upgrading a standard system.


Active Member
Feb 27, 2013
Thanks for the thoughts on the P90D!
One comment: Before you drop $2500 on the UHFS, consider what $2500 toward an aftermarket system can buy you. Same thing with $4500 toward aftermarket wheels and tires ;)


Aftermarket 19's or 20 wheels + tires might be a much better place to be than factory 21's. Check the threads here, there are obviously good and bad choices. Also check the threads of those that have sworn off the 21's.
Absolutely AGREE with everything OP stated. Great write up. Imagine going from a S60 to a P85D (like I did)...HUGE difference! I stated in my posts also. NexGen seats feel much more secure. I do like UHFS but aftermarket would most likely be better but I think many Tesla owners just do not want anyone else "messing" with the electronics/sound. I am toying with idea of going from my stock 19" to 21" Tesla or Axis or waiting for TireRack to possibly come out with 20" Cyclone type wheels. Posted yesterday they MAY have some next year. Do not hold breath though.
Have fun with the P90D
Thanks for all the comments.

On the sound system, certainly there would be aftermarket solutions that could be quite nice, but the UHFS is pretty solid and I use XM every day currently.

The dual motor cars in any flavor have upped the game in my opinion. I loved my old Audi with quattro, and this seems to remind me of the logical evolution. Such an elegant way to put all that power to the road without having to worry about breaking traction!

I'm going 19" wheels for all the highway commuting miles too.

As much as today's cars are amazing, can you imagine how crazy the next iteration of Roadster will be with what TM has learned? :eek:

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