In-depth reviews

Tesla Model S review: performance, motor & drive

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

Fuel Type:
Model0-60mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
Long Range3.1s155mphFour671bhp

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. It'll surprise you at first, but 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 latest 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 over 1,000bhp for a 0-60mph figure of just under two seconds. That makes it one of the fastest cars ever produced; the quickest variants of the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT can do 0-62mph in 2.8 and 3.3 seconds respectively.


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.

If you want a more engaging and enjoyable car to drive, the much sportier Porsche Taycan will suit you better. At cruising speed, though, the Model S is relaxing. You’ll hear the whirr 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.

But our biggest issue is that since May 2023 – and for a long while before the official announcement, actually – Tesla has stopped producing right-hand-drive versions of the Model S and Model X. This really does limit their mainstream appeal in the UK, making things like road positioning more of a challenge. And that's before considering the faff of entering car parks or toll booths.

Most Popular

Volkswagen ID. Buzz LWB is a retro, seven-seat electric MPV
Volkswagen ID. Buzz LWB - front door open

Volkswagen ID. Buzz LWB is a retro, seven-seat electric MPV

Volkswagen has unveiled a larger version of its ID. Buzz EV, boasting more seats and a larger battery with more range
2 Jun 2023
Tesla Model 3 facelift will be a double-edged sword
Tesla badge

Tesla Model 3 facelift will be a double-edged sword

Tesla’s updated EV will have an improved interior, greater range and a more affordable price – as well as one unfortunate drawback
1 Jun 2023
Vauxhall Astra Electric: price, range and video
Vauxhall Astra Electric

Vauxhall Astra Electric: price, range and video

The new Astra Electric shares its parts with the Peugeot e-308, with first deliveries due soon
31 May 2023