Tesla Model S review

The Tesla Model S remains one of the most desirable electric cars on the market, but more luxurious rivals that are better to drive pose a serious threat

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Fuel Type:
Electric

Pros

  • Long range
  • Supremely quick
  • Futuristic technology

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Not available to order currently
  • Perceived interior quality
ModelRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Long Range405 miles15hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)30mins (10-80%, 250kW)
Plaid390 miles15hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)30mins (10-80%, 250kW)

Tesla Model S verdict

The Tesla Model S was one of the first truly ‘premium’ electric cars and thanks to constant updates, it's still a compelling package more than a decade later. The luxury electric saloon is one of the fastest cars ever produced, not to mention boasts one of the longest ranges of any electric car. Meanwhile, Tesla’s optional 'Autopilot' technology allows a degree of hands-free driving, which certain brands are yet to catch up to. However, interior quality in the Model S has never quite lived up to its price tag.

Range details, specs and alternatives

When the Tesla Model S launched in 2012 there were no other premium electric cars around. In fact, the only other mainstream electric cars on sale were the first generation Nissan Leaf and Renault ZOE. But since then, not only has Tesla introduced three new cars – the Model X seven-seat SUV, Model 3 saloon and Model Y family SUV – a few brands have launched their response to the game-changing Model S.

The Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT sports saloons are both fantastic to drive, meanwhile the Mercedes EQS and BMW i7 are true luxury electric flagships. The Model S’ new arch-rival, the Lucid Air, has also been showing it up when it comes to driving dynamics, range and charging speeds.

Over the past decade, more than a dozen versions of the Tesla Model S have been available, we’ve seen 60, 60D, 70, 70D, 75, 75D, 85, 85D, P85+, P85D, 90, 90D, P90, 100D and P100D versions. The numbers signified the capacity of the car’s battery pack in kWh (kilowatt-hours), with a larger number signifying more power and greater range. The additional D stands for dual-motor, with those variants getting four-wheel drive.

In 2021, the Model S was overhauled with new styling, cabin design and powertrains to choose from. The updated Model S Long Range uses a roughly 100kWh battery pack to power two electric motors, with the combination offering 405 miles of range and 0-60mph in just over three seconds. 

Above that sits the new Model S Plaid; it pairs the same battery pack with a tri-motor setup – two motors on the rear axle, one on the front – produces more than 1,000bhp, will do 0-60mph in under two seconds and can cover up to 390 miles on a charge, according to Tesla. 

One of the most controversial elements of the Model S’ facelift was the addition of a steering yoke, but since then Tesla has revealed customers will be given a choice of a regular steering wheel when ordering. Speaking of which, while the new Model S has gone on sale in North America and some European countries, it’s unclear when UK order books will open up or the first examples will arrive here. We expect the latest Model S Long Range to start from around £100,000, with the Model S Plaid likely to be priced at close to £125,000.

For a more detailed look at the Tesla Model S, read on for the rest of our in-depth review…

Most Popular

Fisker PEAR: first look at £25,000 electric city car
Fisker PEAR spy shot
News

Fisker PEAR: first look at £25,000 electric city car

The cut-price EV is due to be unveiled in the second half of 2023 and offer up to 310 miles of range
2 Feb 2023
New electric cars coming in 2023 and beyond
Polestars under cover
Coming soon

New electric cars coming in 2023 and beyond

With electric cars making up an ever-increasing proportion of sales, the industry is working flat out to launch new models – here's what's on the way …
3 Feb 2023
Top 10 best electric SUVs 2023
Best electric SUVs
Best cars

Top 10 best electric SUVs 2023

Electric SUVs combine style and practicality with low running costs, making them a very popular choice in the UK. Here are our top 10 favourites to bu…
26 Jan 2023

More on Model S

Top 10 longest range electric cars 2023
Mercedes EQS 450+
Best cars

Top 10 longest range electric cars 2023

Avoid range anxiety by choosing one of these: the longest-range electric cars you can buy in the UK right now
9 Jan 2023
Top 10 best hybrid and electric sports cars 2022
best hybrid and electric sports cars
Best cars

Top 10 best hybrid and electric sports cars 2022

Bringing thrills and performance with their powerful electric motors, these are the best electric and hybrid performance cars to buy in the UK in 2022
28 Sep 2022
Top 10 best used electric cars 2022
Best used electric cars
Best cars

Top 10 best used electric cars 2022

Secondhand electric cars are becoming more widely available on the market in the wake of numerous new models being launched. Here are some of the best…
7 Jul 2022
Used Tesla Model S buying guide
The Best Electric Cars To Buy Right Now
Tesla Model S

Used Tesla Model S buying guide

If you’re thinking of buying a secondhand Tesla Model S, read our handy guide first
21 Jul 2021
New 2022 Tesla Model S: Elon Musk announces Plaid+ version cancelled
Tesla Model S Plaid
Tesla Model S

New 2022 Tesla Model S: Elon Musk announces Plaid+ version cancelled

Model S Plaid+ with 520-mile range has been cancelled according to Tesla CEO; Plaid and Long Range variants still expected to arrive at end of 2022
7 Jun 2021
Tesla Model S convertible: Italian coachbuilder Ares reveals one-off commission
Ares Tesla Model S convertible
Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S convertible: Italian coachbuilder Ares reveals one-off commission

Company founded by former Ferrari and Lotus executive Dany Bahar has created a convertible version of the Tesla Model S for a client
20 Jan 2021