A Performance model at the Tesla store in Santana Row in San Jose, California. Presumably this now allows me to express an opinion abou the car without being a "fool", as another forum member said I was for having an opinion without driving the car.
First: yes, everything you've heard abut the performance is true. Flooring the pedal in a Mod S performance model is like being shot from an electromagnetic rail gun-- a weirdly surrealistic experience in which you are suddenly gaining speed in huge, lunging gulps, with only a faint whine from the motor to indicate what's going on. It was actually a little frightening: the lack of engine noise that I expect, however subconsciously, to accompany this level of acceleration made it feel as though some external force outside of my control were moving the car.
Passing other cars at highway speeds is an experience that is explosive in its intensity.
The interior is Spartan minimalist. With no obvious gear lever (a turn-signal like stalk on the right of the steering column suffices), and the only physical button being the glove box release, the massive 17" touch screen dominates. The car looks unfinished; as though it were a prop in a science fiction movie for a scene that would only be onscreen for a few seconds, so it wasn't worth adding too much detail. Despite that, the touch screen controller is very easy to use and its large size means the buttons and controls are big enough to use easily, even given the lack of tactile feedback.
The air conditioning easily handled the 81 degree San Jose weather. I didn't play with the sound system.
Although you can feel the weight hustling this large and heavy car around corners, the very low center of gravity mitigates any body roll, and the 20" wheel/tire package on the model I drove stuck the car to the road very well.
My 2013 Audi A6 Prestige certainly has more features. Many more, actually, some of which I really like. Adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, overhead camera view when parking, very fine-grained climate control for each passenger, ventilated seats, et cetera so on and such forth.
But the lack of these features doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would. Aside from its electric propulsion, the Mod S feels like a car from the future: it knows when you approach, and when you're in the car. It wafts down the road in near-silence, apparently propelled by pious thoughts and unicorn farts. High resolution displays show you the information you need to know without bothering you with extranea. Really, the user interface on this thing is brilliant.
So, will I get one? Well, maybe. I think AGW is at best unproven, and at worst a fraud, and I care not two figs for the amount of carbon Al Gore thinks I should not be putting into the air. So I have no "green motivation". That said, as a computer guy for the past 30+ years, I find the car fascinating on a technical level, and the driving experience alone is very compelling.
Then again, I will probably like the Audi R8 a lot, too. So we'll see. But at this particular point I must say I'm leaning strongly towards the Mod S.
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