Tesla Model S electric performance, top speed & motor
The Tesla Model S is exceedingly quick and performs well as a refined motorway cruiser; semi-autonomous features reduce the strain further
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As the Tesla Model S is powered by dual electric motors, it launches from a standing start like little else on the road. And because it has no gearbox, it’s incredibly smooth to drive. Running on adaptive air-suspension, the ride is for the most part very comfortable, although this is influenced by tyre choice.
Another characteristic of the Model S is its regenerative braking, which recycles energy back into the battery that would otherwise be wasted when slowing down. When driving, this means that Model S slows down very quickly when you take your foot off the accelerator, although it’s something you’ll quickly get used to.
Luckily, you can adjust the level of regenerative braking: less makes the Model S better to drive, while more increases the amount of charge sent back to the battery. A digital display on the screen will show you just how much energy you’re recovering, too.
Tesla Model S electric motor, 0-62mph and acceleration
The 2022 Tesla Model S Long Range hits 60mph from rest in 3.2 seconds, while the top speed is 155mph for all models. The Plaid gets power boosted to 1,019bhp for a two-second 0-62mph number. Compare this to the Jaguar I-Pace, which will do 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds regardless of trim level.
The Model S’ battery pack is located in the floor of the car, so the centre of gravity is very low. This means it grips the road well and the body barely leans when cornering. However, the sheer bulk of the Model S (all models weigh over two tonnes) makes it less than thrilling on a twisty road, and while the steering feels weighty, it won’t give you much feedback. In this department, an I-Pace is more enjoyable. At cruising speed, though, the Model S is relaxing. You’ll hear the whir of the electric motor, plus noise from the tyres and some wind roar, but it’s still a calmer environment than in a typical petrol or diesel car.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe Tesla Model S remains one of the most desirable electric cars on the market, but its qualities come at a substantial price
- 2Range, battery & chargingA combination of large batteries and access to Tesla's Supercharger network makes the Model S one of the easiest electric cars to cover long distances in
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe running costs of the Tesla Model S are very low, but the asking price is sky-high
- 4Performance, motor & drive - currently readingThe Tesla Model S is exceedingly quick and performs well as a refined motorway cruiser; semi-autonomous features reduce the strain further
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortThe Tesla Model S feels spacious and elegant inside, although the fit and finish leaves a little to be desired
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThere’s a generous amount of luggage space in the Tesla Model S and interior room is pretty generous, too
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe Tesla Model S has a relatively clean record for reliability, but its Euro NCAP crash-test rating from 2014 has now expired