In-depth reviews

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

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£73,990 - £138,990
Fuel Type:
Electric
Model0-60mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
Long Range3.1s155mphFour670bhp
Plaid2.0s155mphFour1,020bhp

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, 0-60mph and acceleration

The 2022 Tesla Model S Long Range hits 60mph from rest in 3.1 seconds, while the top speed is 155mph for all models. The Plaid gets power boosted to 1,020bhp for a sub-two-second 0-60mph number. Compare this to the Jaguar I-Pace, which will do 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds regardless of trim level.

Handling

The Tesla Model S’ battery pack is located in the floor of the car, so the centre of gravity is very low. This means the car grips the road well and the body barely leans when cornering. However, the sheer bulk of the Model S (all models are 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 to drive. You’ll hear the whir of the electric motor, plus road noise from the tyres and some wind noise, but it’s still a calmer environment than in a typical petrol or diesel car.

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