Tesla Model S 2017 Review
Innovative in ways more than one, the Tesla Model S is the world’s best-selling plug-in electric car and one that has been credited with introducing high-tech electric mobility into the lives of individuals around the globe. A part of the American manufacturer’s line-up since 2012, the Tesla Model S combines practicality and affordability with immense amounts of performance while sitting in a class of its own.
|Power||423 Hp / 658 Nm|
|Top Speed||250 km/h|
Unlike the comical and aesthetically revolting design of most electric vehicles, the Tesla Model S comes across as futuristic without being gaudy. Styled by Franz von Holzhausen, an ex-Mazda employee, the American sedan is embellished with dashes of chrome that complement its curvaceous silhouette. Sat on a set of 21-inch alloys, the Model S’ traditional styling is contrasted with darkened tail lamps and angular headlamps that taper into the narrow chrome grille.
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Inspired heavily by the concept of minimalism, the cabin of the Tesla Model S is draped in leather and Alcantara with faux wood and silver trims running across the dashboard, center console, and door panels. With seating for five matched by 894 liters of storage space, practicality is to be had in abundance, as is comfort with a 12-way power adjustable driver’s seat. Keen-eyed automotive enthusiasts are also likely to feel a sense familiarity with the vehicle’s switchgear, all of which has been borrowed from Mercedes-Benz.
Safety & Tech
Designed to be the safest car in the world, the Tesla Model S owes a large part of its 5.4-star NHTSA safety rating to its electric drivetrain that resides beneath an aluminum occupant cell in the subframe - contributing to its low center of gravity and reduced rollover risk. Factor in six airbags, in addition to features such as collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking, and its safety medallion stands well justified.
High-tech in every way possible, the American sedan is fitted with a plethora of features including a 17-inch Panasonic central display – eliminating the need for physical buttons along the dashboard – Wi-Fi and internet connectivity, natural language voice recognition, Bluetooth and mobile app connectivity with the latter allowing for locating, unlocking, and starting the vehicle remotely.
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Mind-bendingly fast, the Tesla Model S shatters preconceived notions of dreary electric vehicles with a 90-kWh battery pack that churns out the equivalent of 423 horsepower and 658 Nm of torque. The low center of gravity, which aids with its phenomenal grip, sees it dispatch a 0 – 100 km/h run in 4.4-seconds and hit a top speed of 250 km/h.
With the promise of instantaneous torque, grunt is delivered in an almost telepathic fashion with the elimination of any downtime, either by the batteries or the transmission. Improving aerodynamic efficiency, the Model S squats lower to the ground at 85 km/h while the onboard regenerative braking system helps get the most out of the claimed 480 kilometers on a single charge.
Refined in the way that it’s nearly traditional, the quirk-free driving experience is accompanied by a rather numb, electrically assisted steering that offers three modes (each with varying degrees of heft) to choose from: Comfort, Standard, Sport. For those who aren’t accustomed with EVs, there is also the shrilling sound of battery-powered acceleration to deal with.
Although more affordable than hydrogen-powered vehicles, there stands a lot of dispute over the long-term environmental benefits of electric vehicles, especially when factoring in the production, charging, and disposing of batteries at the end of their lifecycle. While that’s something that only time will tell, what’s certain is that the Model S can be credited for bringing back the EVs and making them mainstream. That’s a celebration in itself…
- Safest car ever tested by the NHTSA
- Exceptional performance
- Packed with interesting technology
- Current lack of infrastructure hinders its everyday usability
- Steering devoid of any feel