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Would You Buy a New Model S Today?

lencap

Member
May 27, 2013
148
480
Raleigh, NC
Greetings -

I currently own a 2018 Model 3 LR RWD with 23K miles, 19" wheels and AutoPilot (not FSD). Since I took delivery in November 2018 prices for all Teslas have dropped, and that has me wondering about upgrading my Model 3. I'm happy with the car, but find that road/tire noise is inherent to the car, regardless of running 18/19/20 inch wheels/tires. The car offers what some consider a "sporty" ride, but others consider "less refined". Around town on short rides neither complaint is significant, but taking a longer ride makes these shortcomings more annoying, especially as I age. I'm a senior citizen, and I get cranky pretty easily these days.

The recent price cut for the Model S brings the price down to $75K for the "base" car, a drop of nearly $20K from the 2018 Model S 100D. The price difference from my Model 3 to the Model S back then was over $40K back then - it's less than $30K today, and the 2020 Model S has been improved somewhat over the last two years. The narrowed price gap has me interested enough to consider a potential swap.

I don't drive very much, especially given COVID-19, but I expect that will change. Much of my driving is local - less than 50 miles a trip - but I plan to do longer rides - 150-250 per trip - on highways more frequently in the future. No one can know what Tesla plans, so worrying about updates seems more of a mental exercise as well as an excuse to procrastinate, but I'd like to know from Model S owners how you feel about your car.

Have any of you owned both the Model S and Model 3, and if so, do you find the Model S provides a more sedate/quiet platform compared to the Model 3? Does the difference in price seem worthwhile to you, and if so what in particular do you feel are the benefits that the Model S offers that the Model 3 doesn't have (the suspension comes to mind)? Any downsides? Would you buy the Model S again today, or are there things that bother you to the point where you'd like to see Tesla make a change, and if so, what would you change? Would you buy another S today, or do you think that the updates aren't significant enough to swap to a newer S now, and you'd rather wait for a major refresh - either design or battery pack?

Sorry for the barrage of questions, but making the jump to the S is a big step as a retiree, and I want to make sure I understand the pros and cons from actual owners, not salespeople or anonymous website reviews.

Thanks in advance for your comments and insights.
 

PhilDavid

Active Member
May 22, 2018
2,552
1,839
Philadelphia
I would wait until the million mile battery technology makes it out to production cars before buying.

Also they've stated the Model S would receive an update this fall and I'd wait for that as well.

Prices are unlikely to go up too soon so if I could, I would wait,

If I were you, I'd wait for the Model S update and enjoy your Model 3 every single day until that time.

The only drawback I have to speak of with the Model S is that it is a very large and wide car. It's about as wide as a Ford F150 pickup. The wideness would not be such a big deal but it is exacerbated by no 360 view. What a shame they did not add cameras for 360 view. It's super stressful to drive this car in underground parking garages with ridiculously narrow ramps and high curbs all over the place. You never know how close you are to the front right corner of the car and a curb and when you have only inches to spare it is quite stressful. On numerous occasions, I've asked my girlfriend stick her head out the front passenger window when I only have a few inches to work with and a curb/ramp with a curb is just a few inches from the front right corner. What I'd give to have 360 view in this car!
 
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ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,323
2,674
Redmond, WA
Here is a long post I made that discusses the differences between the cars: Which Tesla should you buy? A decade-long comparo: Roadster, S, X, 3

Given your description, it sounds like the S would be a good match, especially with the Raven suspension. Of course wheels and tires will still matter, but you should be good with the 19s.

I am not at all convinced that battery day will be quickly followed by a large change, but you don't seem to be in a hurry so as PhilDavid notes it probably makes sense to wait until that announcement in case it does result in something nice happening soon.

Good luck!
 
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InternetDude

Member
Nov 5, 2014
822
538
Yes
I’ve owned a 2015 85D for nearly 5 years and a 2018 P100D for nearly 2 years. Just no. I wouldn’t buy any Teslas in the foreseeable future but I would only recommend the 3 to people currently. The 3 charges faster, it’s more reliable, has less to break, and is a better value.
 
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David_Cary

Active Member
Dec 17, 2012
1,185
679
Cary, NC
Have a 3 and S and live in Raleigh.
We do not have the Philly issues - do we even have underground parking garages? - I can't think of one except partially.

I take the 3 all the time even though it is my wife's car. The nimbleness and fun to drive factor is higher. Also because of Covid, we are running below miles/time on the warranty.

My S is 2015. It is a much more comfortable ride. And I have coils so a new car would be even more refined.

I don't see the charging issue as very big for you. The range is so high on the 100D that you would probably never supercharge.

Battery day is probably typical Tesla BS. Just like the original video of self-driving. That video is like 4 years old and is still 5-10 years away.

The $5k price drop means something is likely coming. But if you don't care, the price now is reasonable for what your get.
 

cookie99

Member
Mar 14, 2016
899
448
California
i just bought an S about 7 months ago and i would also tell you dont buy the S. the Y is a much better value for your money, but since you have the 3, i would absolutely keep the 3 instead.
 
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Reactions: SevenWithaT
Jun 1, 2018
976
4,283
Canada
I would wait until the million mile battery technology makes it out to production cars before buying.

Also they've stated the Model S would receive an update this fall and I'd wait for that as well.

Prices are unlikely to go up too soon so if I could, I would wait,

If I were you, I'd wait for the Model S update and enjoy your Model 3 every single day until that time.

The only drawback I have to speak of with the Model S is that it is a very large and wide car. It's about as wide as a Ford F150 pickup. The wideness would not be such a big deal but it is exacerbated by no 360 view. What a shame they did not add cameras for 360 view. It's super stressful to drive this car in underground parking garages with ridiculously narrow ramps and high curbs all over the place. You never know how close you are to the front right corner of the car and a curb and when you have only inches to spare it is quite stressful. On numerous occasions, I've asked my girlfriend stick her head out the front passenger window when I only have a few inches to work with and a curb/ramp with a curb is just a few inches from the front right corner. What I'd give to have 360 view in this car!

very true - 360 view cameras are super needed
 

SO16

Active Member
Feb 25, 2016
2,873
8,930
MI
very true - 360 view cameras are super needed


Tesla could implement a “close to 360” view with AP2 cars. Just wouldn’t get the very front of the vehicle. That would be a nice addition.

I own a 2017 S. I like the looks of the car and the comfort more than the 3. The 3 is a better value but the S is not as “terrible” as some owners make it out to be. Especially the newer S vehicles. I have almost 50k miles and extremely reliable.

Since you have a 3 now, I’d wait until next year and re-evaluate.

As far as Model 3 road noise, this may help:

Model 3 & Y Road Noise Reduction Kit -Gen. 2 (10 Pieces 2 Trunks) $45 w/ 20% Off
 

Nairb

Member
Jul 7, 2019
140
334
BC
Who's "they" and a link to your source? People have been saying an S update has been coming for 2 years.
I believe he's taking about the Plaid model S which Musk said would be out in the fall.

When they first showed it on the track in Germany, musk also said it was a 7 seater. Which implies there will be some update to the interior if they'll be offering a 7 seat option. I assume that 2 smaller motors side by side in the rear would allow a lower floor than the big single motor now used, and thus more room for taller passengers back there. Unless they also worked out some way for a forward facing third row (for kids?). But maybe these are things they've dropped when Musk said they were simplifying Plaid as it was getting too complicated.

Edit - thinking more on this, I realize it's quite possible that they might have taken an older car with 7 seats that had been traded in to turn into a test mule that then had plaid power train/raven suspension components swapped in.
 
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Krash

Data Technician
Apr 18, 2017
1,863
2,055
Intermountain US
Wait. Even if you are considering a used S, with aftermarket sound dampening, which is what I would do in your case. Everything will be cheaper by year end, but your current car will be less so.
 

blackhawk

Member
Sep 30, 2015
98
105
USA
I love taking my 2017 S 90D on road trips, it’s a great sized car for 200-300 mile weekend jaunts. And I don’t have a problem parking it either, even in tight spaces. It’s smaller than most SUVs and has enough cameras for me.

I dislike the look of the Model 3 and I dislike the dash layout, so the 3 was never an option for me.
 

jaguar36

Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
2,040
1,500
NJ
I wouldn't buy a new S today. It's a 8 year old design thats been patched hundreds of times and is getting rather dated. Things on it that could be excused when Tesla was a fledging company are no longer excusable. Its tech lead on its rivals has been mostly closed and in some cases surpassed. It needs to be redone and I hope that that is happening soon.
 

Covidius

Member
Apr 26, 2020
25
28
Las Vegas
Well I just bought a 2020 S and I love it! We test drove a 3, and my prior car was a BMW. The 3 felt very basic inside so if "nice cabin" matters to you at all, at least go sit in an S. I sat in a Y, I give you the same exact complaint about its interior. We ultimately decided more room would be nice so I had narrowed it in my mind to a performance Y or an S. Both are under 4 seconds for 0-60. Ultimately the Y issues that are discussed to death here vs. the price cut on a S and interior on the S kind of sealed it. Bonus, buy an in-stock S and get free supercharging. There's superchargers all around me and the places I'd visit so that was a selling point also.

I get the S is so-called "dated" but I think it looks super sporty and awesome inside and out. Any refresh or enhanced battery could come with a price increase so who knows. I'm happy with it as is. BMW I had sounded like a lawnmower every time I started it, I know some people get off on that but I live in a residential area and didn't care for waking up the neighborhood. Tesla, obviously quieter but also faster than that car.

This answer your questions? People who say to wait aren't wrong, it just kind of depends on what you want. I would say if resale matters you may want to wait. I'm hoping to keep the car a long time so that wasn't a mission for me but a new design (assuming it isn't loaded with problems) would probably keep better value.
 

MrKool

Member
Nov 30, 2019
148
65
Virginia
I got the 2020 S LR and well a month later they came out with Bigger battery with a little more range and built in wireless charger for the S. Charger is no biggie but I missed the battery by a hair :( so they will always be adding new stuff to the car if you like how it is right now buy it I love mine.
 
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PhilDavid

Active Member
May 22, 2018
2,552
1,839
Philadelphia
Tesla could implement a “close to 360” view with AP2 cars. Just wouldn’t get the very front of the vehicle. That would be a nice addition.

I own a 2017 S. I like the looks of the car and the comfort more than the 3. The 3 is a better value but the S is not as “terrible” as some owners make it out to be. Especially the newer S vehicles. I have almost 50k miles and extremely reliable.

Since you have a 3 now, I’d wait until next year and re-evaluate.

As far as Model 3 road noise, this may help:

Model 3 & Y Road Noise Reduction Kit -Gen. 2 (10 Pieces 2 Trunks) $45 w/ 20% Off

Elon did respond to someone's request earlier about enabling some sort of additional guidance using the camera for tight driving situations. he mentioned using the B Pillar cameras but what I really need to see is how much space I have between the right front wheel and a curb.

I have no issues driving above ground but I unfortunately need to use parking garages with super narrow ramps with curbs almost daily.

I just hope they figure out a way to let you know how much space you have in inches between the front wheels and a curb or wall. They'll need to figure this out for FSD anyway.
 

Bet TSLA

Active Member
Dec 8, 2014
2,829
10,376
Cupertino, CA
Great questions. I think you would be best served by looking into the various mechanisms people have found for reducing noise in the Model 3. It's not hard and not particularly expensive. You can also smooth out the ride on the 3 by reducing tire pressure.

I definitely find my Model S to be a bit closer to what you sy you desire, but it's definitely a bit big if you are negotiating narrow streets, parking lots, and driveways. I find the Model 3 to be a more convenient size unless I'm on a road trip and want the storage space.

You might want to test drive a Model Y to see whether it's closer to your perfect car. The higher stance definitely makes it easier to get in and out. And the construction has been improved from the Model 3 so it's probably quieter. Although I would wait a few more months so they can resolve any early build issues.
 

shellderp

Member
Sep 15, 2018
171
164
Ontario
Elon did respond to someone's request earlier about enabling some sort of additional guidance using the camera for tight driving situations. he mentioned using the B Pillar cameras but what I really need to see is how much space I have between the right front wheel and a curb.

I have no issues driving above ground but I unfortunately need to use parking garages with super narrow ramps with curbs almost daily.

I just hope they figure out a way to let you know how much space you have in inches between the front wheels and a curb or wall. They'll need to figure this out for FSD anyway.
I always back into tight spots for this reason, the mirrors and camera make it easy. but if you can't it's quite annoying. A front camera would be great
 

roblab

Active Member
Jul 15, 2008
3,397
2,447
Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
i just bought an S about 7 months ago and i would also tell you dont buy the S. the Y is a much better value for your money, but since you have the 3, i would absolutely keep the 3 instead.

Can't agree. I bought my S three months ago, everything works perfectly, I have nearly 400 miles of range. I also have the three, and they are two different cars, the 3 is cheaper, a little more nimble, while the S is more a luxo cruiser that is also quick. Whenever we go driving, we always take the S. Smoother, quieter ride, more power, more range than the 3. Milli drives the little car, says it feels more her size, but I have no troubles jetting down the road passing various Maseratis, BMWs, Porsches, Rolls, other than wifey doesn't like it when I zip over 100 mph on the passing lane. Sure, the 3 costs less, but the old adage is still true. You get what you pay for.

Saw the Y yesterday on the road. It's almost the size of the S but not as good looking, not much different than the 3 other than the hatchback. Or is it a trunk? Might be a good bargain if you've got five kids and can't afford more, but if not, the S is a better car. The 3/Y are entry level cars, and I'm glad more people can buy them to see what Tesla is all about.
 

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