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Wish the Model S Interior Looked Better

Hey everyone. I just felt like posting this thread just to express my thoughts on the Model S's design. In my opinion, the biggest thing that kind of makes me worried is the interior of the car, especially the back seat(s). To say the least, I don't really like the design of the back seat(s). I don't want to be booed at, but I think it should have been better. For example, look at the interior of the new 2014 S-Class from Mercedes. I absolutely loved it. I mean, Tesla doesn't have to make it that good, but at least put a cup holder (which they are going to do later) and an armrest! I really want Tesla to address this problem as quickly as they can. I recently heard Elon during Q2 Fiscal reports earnings call, and, as many of you know, he was talking about Model X (and many other things as well). He said that they were working on improving the design of the Model X. I thank Elon for his honesty, and I think he is awesome. But I hope the Model X's design throughout everything (both exterior and interior) will compete with Daimler, BMW, Audi, and many more luxury auto manufacturers. Let me know what you think on this problem. Thanks!

I think the Mercedes S-Class should have a better non-combustion engine system personally.

Hah hah! Excellent!

I think for folks that want a cushy interior, the current iteration of the MS is not gonna make them happy. Tesla positions the MS as a performance sedan not a luxury sedan, so its good to keep that distinction in mind.

Personally, I like the clean lines and minimalism--the more I live with my MS the more I appreciate it. As much as I thought I would buy the drop in console when its available, I actually think I will actually go with the yacht floor and keep the open middle. I would also think that the acres of wood, leather and barcolounger chairs add weight which saps both performance and range.

Lots of cars out there, each one a unique blend of compromises.


respect your comments but I do not look at this as a 'problem' as you referred to it as in your last sentence. I have never owned a car that I think is perfect. Always something I would personally like to see different...more of something...less of something else.

I do believe that as each model of every car manufacturer comes out they get feedback from owners that leads them to make improvements in their design.

I expect nothing less from the X, or when it comes out, the S2.0

I have a reservation for the X as I trust that it will reflect the appearance, fit and finish, and retain the safety features and high tech design of the S and will support attempts by many to getaway from oil based fuel systems that are not easily sustainable.

I consider myself a car guy. Creature comfort like quietness, comfy seats, and smooth rides are always secondary to me in a car. I could just sit in my nice living room recliner and turn on the great audio system if I want that kind of stuff. No car in the world is equipped like that. I buy cars just to drive.

The interior of my P85 far exceeded my expectations and that of my MB E-class.

I doubt they are going to change it. Many people like the simplistic, Apple-like design.

I completely understand your feelings about this. I am assuming that you are not a reservation holder but just interested in the Tesla products as something you might want in the future should they equip it as you feel it should be equipped.
In another thread I said that it's amazing how excited people are that their Model S is completely different from any other car they owned until they realize it's completely different from every car they owned. Yes, there are no interior appointments to rival the Germans, no incredible consistency of assembly like the Japanese and no list of myriad options like the Americans. It's a beginning.
You asked the forum what we think about it. There have been so many posts on this that it seems if you wanted to you could have easily found out what we think about this.
You just wanted to tell us what you think about it without even asking us if we cared.

@ sk1656,

You are paying a premium for an all electric car with market leading range and performance, and which is being produced in small quantities. Built into the cost of every Model S is the research and development of inventing a new, sustainable and ultimately meaningful change in personal transportation. Built into the price of most orders is also the cost of developing and building out the national supercharging infrastructure as well as its "free" use.

I have no idea what the above are worth in dollars and cents, but once you deduct the value of the above you are left with a vehicle that's probably in a price range that is closer to an E-Class. If the things you list are preventing you from purchasing this vehicle, then I humbly suggest that you aren't placing sufficient value on those areas where the Model S is unique and different from the models to which you compare it.

If you haven't already, I encourage you to test drive the car. I think it will put to rest any hesitations you may have.

@AmpedRealtor Let's say MS's interior appointment is the same as that of Aston Martin Rapide, assuming people such as op wants that kind of interior over MS's, then should it be worth much more than the $200K Rapide? MS certainly looks as good and beats Rapide's performance and utility hands down.

@ carlk - I believe I said that once you remove the built-in costs associated with subsidizing infrastructure, research and development, we are left with what is essentially not anywhere close to a $100k vehicle. A good chunk of the cost of Model S is in the intangibles. I've always felt that the Model S interior is more appropriately compared to vehicles costing about half of the Model S sticker price. We aren't discussing an Aston Martin, we are talking about a comparison to a specific car - the Mercedes S-Class. I felt that my comments were appropriate given the comparison being made.

After driving ICE cars for so many years, it was hard for me to think of the interior of any car being so simple, and minimalistic, it was a turn-off when I first saw it too.

With that said, I now look at the interior of all other cars today as antique (even some of the most expensive exotics look so dated to me now).

All those buttons, gears, switches, analogue gauges, et al, just look so old and inefficient to me now. It's so hard for me to get in my wife's 2011 Infiniti G37, and realize I have to first lock the doors, then push the start-ignition button, then release the parking break, then move the heavy gear shifter into reverse (in ten months of owning my MS, I now hate driving ICE cars).

I'm sure the style of Tesla cars will change over time, as more time and energy are spent on typical features like armrest, cup-holders, vanity-mirror/visors, dry-cleaning hooks, etc become standard features. However, don't expect Tesla to regress to ICE car styling anytime soon, as you will eventually realize how unnecessary many of those old 'features' really were.

What's the part that needs improvement? There is no need for extra hardware buttons as all of the controls are on the screen. There is no shifter parking brake or drive tunnel to build around and this leaves a fairly blank canvas. This could be disconcerting to those that are used to all the clutter and similar things were said about the first iPhone with only one front button compared to most other smartphone that packed 8 or more. Simplicity can be its own elegance IMHO.

I really see no need to add to the interior-- looks good and works well (just like the car itself). TikiMan & huprice +1 with enthusiasm!

There has been an extensive discussion in this Forums on the topics of MS interior since the first release of MS more than 14 months ago. Everyone can search the topics at

IMO, MS is designed in a philosophy of minimalism to reflect what Leonard da Vinci once said "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Just like huprice pointed out, MS interior design is a part of MS that makes itself outstanding from all ICE cars. Those who complain MS' lack of cup holders, coat hangers, door pockets, and center console etc. are ones who fail to comprehend the true beauty of this innovative piece of art.


On the money. Also, as omarsultan points out, the inappropriate comparisons are tiresome. An S-Class is simply a different kind of car for another kind of driver.

Just was going through my paper pile and saw the brochure I got from the Mersedes-Benz dealer before test driving the Tesla. The test drive was the thing between me and the MB. My Model S is coming next week (yeah). But the sports seat of the E coupe still makes me long for it. My current Audi S4 seat is simply wonderful - perfect for a sports sedan. Oh well, obviously, the rest of the Testla is so exciting, I am more than willing to eat the big thin flat seat issue (ordered before seat option was available).

I love simplicity for my eyes, but bought a softy sofa for my but, for it says to me:"come and sit with me". My friend's contemporary sofa was elegant with its simple staight lines, but it says to me:"don't even think about messing up my beauty by sitting on me."

The German sports seats seem to have the perfect balance between simplicity, performance, and comfort.

Think of the interior this way: most current interiors are like TV remotes with a million buttons. Tesla is like the Apple TV remote with just a few buttons. You don't need to have so many modes for everything, and each button rarely used. But when you are used to that clutter, it appears almost as a decoration.

So the Model S is missing a lot of the decoration. It looks sparse. I too was worried about the interior. You are not feeling something unusual or unreasonable, and hopefully owners will give you perspective. For me, after having owned a Model S for 2-3 months, I hate getting into cars with all of the buttons and clutter. That which looked cool to me, now looks like an 8 track tape that is wasted space we'll laugh about later. All I care about when I see another car (to compare and see if they've beaten the Tesla) is the size of the main interface screen, and whether the main display (speedometer, etc) is an LCD and configurable. I'm underwhelmed, always.

The leather on the seats could feel more luxurious, but I like it a good bit more than I expected to. I don't want a center console now. The list goes on about correct calls that were made on the car.

I can't tell you how sad I would be if I had held off on buying the Tesla for Benz S Class luxury. My previous car was a CLS 550. After I wired the money to Tesla, I felt buyers remorse like if Drew Brees (a rumored owner) had thrown a football deep into my unsuspecting gut. I loved the CLS 550. Why had I done such a thing? The car came, it was a total joy, and not for one second have I had any buyer's remorse. I also have not been in another interior and thought for one second I wish the Tesla had that interior. I do feel sad when I am deprived of driving the Model S through the fates, my wife, or whatever.

Epilogue: after 48 hours of owning the car, I bought TSLA at $88. It was just too crazy an experience. Now the car is more than covered by the stock position. That's a fairy tale story, but when's the last time you bought a car and it made you want to buy thousands of shares of stock in the company?

@matt, re your last paragraph - After the test drive, hubby claimed to be checking out the Tesla options.
"What options? Car options or the stock options?"
"Stock options." :-)

sk1656; apparently critiques are frowned on. I was just about ready to send my deposit on MS until I really evaluated the interior. I'm not sure if this car is a luxury car. Obviously its a technological masterpiece, has beautiful exterior styling-drop dead gorgeous. But the interior just doesn't live up to my expectations for a vehicle of this price. I tried to get a read on owners opinions of the interior and most are very happy. I'm not sure they haven't compromised by accepting the interior as it is. If Tesla develops a quality interior on model x or the next MS then you'll see me in one of them.

I like the interior, but then again I'm a guy who's never owned a car with power windows or locks before, so the bar is not very high to impress me on creature comforts. Also, I think the Model S is so cool in all the ways that matter to me that it could just about have burlap in the back seat and I'd probably still buy it.

How often do you sit in the back seat anyway? How often does an adult sit back there for long road trips? In my case, not very often - at all.

To each his own, but I agree with admjr that the interior is not a 'problem', it's just a matter of personal preference.

...simple, yet for me.

The MS is a premium sports sedan... the luxury stuff you are making up.
If you only care about luxury then buy a RR or Mercedes or whatever. The MS has the best propulsion system, try to find an equal in the ICE world - not even close.
I agree if you pay a driver and sit in the rear seats the MS is not for you.
@Cindy123 - drive your MS for two month and then evaluate again. I was suprised how much I like the seats now - most non tiring seats of any car I have driven. Looks deceived me and a test drive is not enough.

I have to disagree with the OP. My teenage sons ride in the back seat, and the Model S is the only car in which they like the back seats. We just came back from a dinner in which we had 5 people seated COMFORTABLY in the car. This doesn't happen when you have an arm rest and cup holders taking up 1/3 of the back seat, and a big hump in the middle that someone has to straddle.

Those unhappy with the interior, as I am, don't want more decoration or dials. Or even more luxury. We are mostly complaining about omissions such as overhead hand grips. Or the undersized glove box and the lack of door "folders" for maps and trash.

The seats are too minimalist for me. When you can slide sideways so easily, it is unsettling; feels like a bench seat. If they can borrow the steering column from MercedesB, why not the front seats? (Actually I'd prefer they borrow the front seats from the Lexus LS430 in the 2001-2003 model years, 2004ff was a step backwards.)

No way to suit everyone. How about those of you who don't like it get the car to a premium tuner and have it customized to your personal preferences?

The thing I find interesting is that no matter how many posters profess to loving the seats the way they are some feel that Tesla has to "improve" them. Not offer options, change them for everyone. What egos!

i like the current Model S non-pretentious zen look of its interior.

@AmpedRealtor I used the Aston Martin for comparison because it has performance closer to MS and they do have some similarity in looks. I know op was comparing to MB S class but you have to go up to the $200K AMG S65 to compare it to the performance of MS. Even without considering the green part it's still where you want to spend your money for. Another example is Porsche. It is an expensive car and it's never known for nice interiors. Sitll it's on many people's dream car list because of the performance. You can dress it up with Porsche's long, and expensive, list of options but most people who buy that car would rather spend the money on engine upgrades than to have a luxurious interior.

I hate the front seats in my wife's 2013 E-class. The side bolsters are in the way when I get in and out of the car. They inflate when the car takes the mildest turn, very annoying. The car is a dinosaur compared to the S.

I think Tesla need a new Studio Design page for people who wants MB seats, Audi interior design, Porsche performance, BMW this and that. Or should Tesla start up a new company?
I like the way it is now and I believe they had gone through a lot of different thoughts and designs to come up the way it is now. I think they had serious think what needs and what no needs like the Spare tire issue, some people want to have it and doing DIY and myself, I have been driving 24 years and I put avery 25000 mile per year in my past 20 years and I do not recall I used my spare tire.