P85 versus standard 85

P85 versus standard 85

Simple questions for a not so simple decision...

I currently own an Acura TSX, and am upgrading to a Tesla. Can't decide between 85 and P85 due to 'having no clue if I would actually notice the difference coming from a 4 cylinder'.

For those who have test driven the P85 and ended up with a standard 85, what is your take? Please list your previous vehicle to help me out!

Much appreciated!
-Future Tesla Owner :)

ylyubarsky | 06. April 2013

It was discussed a lot in previous threads. Go back a few weeks and and you'll find it

info | 06. April 2013

If money is no object, get the P85. The regular car is very fast, but the P85 gives you bragging rights. I have the regular and wish I had the P, but it's like having the second most beautiful girl as a date. No one will notice she's not stunning unless you put them side by side. The thing that you need to be aware of is the tire choice. When I bought mine the P came with 21 inch tires. Tesla soon allowed you to downgrade at no charge to the 19's. I wanted 19's for a couple of reasons. First, they ride a bit smoother, second, they last a bit longer, third, they're a bit tougher on potholes and road imperfections, fourth, they're much cheaper to replace and finally they allow for about 10% more range. That being said, the regular car is so fast that you won't notice the "lack" of power unless you dragrace a Porche or a P85.
I would like the power of the Performance car but not the tires. This is now an option for you. Someone once said, "Get the best and you won't be disappointed". I think the P is the best. Of course, it's my theory that you should always have something to which to aspire. If you get the regular, you can always aspire to the P.

exPGAhacker | 06. April 2013

I'll help you here. The standard 85 is plenty unless you have an inborn need to race all challengers. Due to the torque delivered by the electric drivetrain, the standard is smokin' fast off the line. The P85 is stupid fast.

So it comes down to why you are buying the car. Personally, I sometimes worry that the standard 85 is too fast for me. It's so quiet and smooth that it is easy to go from 55 to 85 in a snap of the fingers. It's a ticket waiting to find me!

My advice, shelve the ego and save the money. The standard is an amazing car in every aspect and you will not be disappointed.

markapeterman | 06. April 2013

I recently smoked a corvette in my standard 85. I decided it was too frivolous to get the P, but I still have a nagging regret about being practical.

gasnomo | 06. April 2013

Same exact opinion and ownership as info@richardpol..., I live in NY and at the time couldn't get the P with 19" tires, while I love my 85, I should have gotten the P. It is about a $15K diff.

Ecorreadds | 06. April 2013

ylyurbarsky- could you let me know which? having a tough time finding

@others- that's what I don't want...having regrets. The difference is significant in price, but that P85 testdrive was outta control!

gasnomo | 06. April 2013

No idea what you financial situation, and obviously you should do what's most sensible give that situation, but if you don't feel any difference between spending $115 and 95K, get the P. That said, anyone you take for a spin in the standard 85 will still laugh, giggle, or say 'damn', 'wow', when you hit the accelerator. And versus your TSX, its like comparing a buggy whip to a rocketship.

dortor | 06. April 2013

there are a few people who got the 85, and now regret not getting the P85 - I've not heard anyone who got the P85 and says "yeah, I should've gotten the 85."

I've driven:
Lexus ES
BMW 335is
Ford Focus EV
Porsche 911 4S
Porsche 911 GTS
Porsche 911 GT3

the P85 is the nicest car I've ever owned and super fast. just get the P85 so that you don't have any nagging questions.

Lanber | 06. April 2013

Coming from a 4 cylinder? What has 4 cylinders got to do with it?
My "4" cylinder 1,8 none turbo/SC engine propells my car 0-62 well below 5 secs.
Power is not linked to number of pots, it`s linked to how much air you can get into them and burn.

P85 vs 85 I say stick with the 85, you will not feel the difference unless you`re a racing driver or go head to head with a P85, and then you`d be surprised by how little he`s able to pull out on you.

Ecorreadds | 06. April 2013

landma- just pointing out that it was a 4 cylinder TSx in case others didn't know.

inverts | 06. April 2013

I have the 85, could easily have bought the P85, but have not the slightest need for that much power, no interest in drag-racing. It's an exquisite commuting car, with enough space to transport stuff. The 85 is plenty zippy on the freeway, can nimbly overtake, can get out from behind a slow semi into the fast lane without inconveniencing anybody; except for maybe the thought of the other drivers "how is this possible? Wha' just happen'd" Getting out from a stop sign at a T-intersection, you don't even have to floor it, and the car fishtails, and that with traction control on. I only took traction control off once in such a situation, and it's scary what happens. Some more drive training would definitively be a good idea. I also got the 19" wheels for better range.

I did test drive the P85, and it is a bit more powerful. Yep, fun for 3 seconds, but that's about it. You only notice the difference at higher speeds. The power at low speeds is limited by traction control. I think at zero, limit is about 80 kw, around 20-30 mph it goes to 160 kw, top is 320 kw. Everything else equal, at low speeds, acceleration between 85 and P85 is not different, but at higher speeds it makes a bit of a difference.

Not sure about insurance premiums, but that may be another thing to consider.

I am not a car guy and have never been to a car show or meeting, never read a car magazine.

inverts | 06. April 2013

Forgot: previous vehicle: Prius, also been driving my wife's Mini S 6 speed stick on occasions. MS 85 kicks the latter's butt hands down.

carlk | 06. April 2013

Just my opinion but 21" wheel is well worth it if the look is important to you, even if you don't care about the handling characteristics (which I do). I happened to see two MS this morning at Almaden expy Costco. Both are white. One with 19" and one with 21". The 19" one just look, without a better word to describe it, ordinary. I had the same feeling before when looking at Panamera in the showroom. The one with smaller (I believe it's also 19") wheel just look weak for a car like that. Don't skimp when you have already shelled out close to 100K for one of the best looking car in the world. Again just my taste and no disrespect for people who have different preference.

Captain_Zap | 06. April 2013

A major consideration for ordering the P85 was resale value for us. (Along with the snappiness and the Alacantara headliner. ;-))

There was a few people that were in the market to buy a Model S but they were not willing to wait a few months for the car. They put up ads at TMC and tried to buy cars from people who received earlier deliveries. They would pay a premium for the Performance model and passed by everything else.

Spyder34 | 06. April 2013

I hemmed and hawed for weeks between the P85 and the 85. And the 19's and the 21's. For someone who loses sleep over this decision and just can't decide (and has the financial means)-- you gotta go big. I rationalize most everything I do and honestly, I could not rationalize going for the P in this case...but I threw caution to the wind and went for it anyway and now having the car for a week, I couldn't be more excited about my S and the fact that I went big this time. Go P and 21's and you will not regret it.

sunnysailor | 06. April 2013

If you have the financial ability to do so get the P85. I debated the issue but after getting the car I have no regrets. I love the car.

ylyubarsky | 07. April 2013

If you are financing your car, your monthly payment will be about $ 270 more. It's a less than $ 10 a day. If you can save $ 10 on other expenses, go for P85

frontdesk | 07. April 2013

I was also debating between the two for months. First rationalizing between what is needed and what I really wanted. Do I need the Glass roof, or the stereo, maybe the 19" can be my winter tires and buy some after markets, do I need the tri coat paint, will I really need a car to raise and lower itself with Air Suspension.

Well, the "want" won. I am having a fully loaded P85 in Red built. I plan on keeping this car for 20 or so years and all this decision making will disappear most likely the first week of ownership. Knowing Elon and how he loves exotic cars, I know that this is the best sedan in the world and that itself just makes pride of ownership that much better.

Sacrifice other spending habits and spend the extra on the P85 and don't look back. Life is short.

Brian H | 07. April 2013

Going to pass on the Sport Handling package? Only another $6500! Just like Elon's.

Tâm | 07. April 2013

My previous car was a Prius. I test drove a Performance but I could not afford it so I settled with the standard model.

I am now happy and satisfied with my standard model given the situation.

However, from time to time, my nagging regret is I didn't have additional money for the Performance because its response is much more instantaneous and powerful.

awilder | 07. April 2013

I had this exact same concern before buying ours - and ultimately decided that the standard 85 was the right choice for us. In fact, I think the performance is bordering on dangerous!

The test drive model in Santa Monica was the Performance, of course, and I was enthralled by the power. I didn't really want to spend another $14K or so for the performance, unless I was going to regret not getting it. Luckily, friends of ours had taken delivery of their S85 just a few weeks prior, and were kind enough to let me take it out on a drive so I could compare.

Here's my conclusion - From zero mph, the performance is a lot snappier in the P85. If you want to get sucked into your seat, scarily so, then maybe the performance is for you. However, the standard 85 has PLENTY of power to accelerate VERY quickly from zero (even if it's not neck-snapping strong, it's close, and feels more so for passengers). Additionally, if you keep your foot on the accelerator, it Just. Keeps. Accelerating. It feels exponential.

More important is "daily" driving though: If you're already moving, and you floor it, either car has TONS of instantaneous torque. And realistically, you're far more likely to be "hitting it" when you are already moving (for example, to pass another car on the freeway). In that regard, I find the non-performance to be plenty snappy.

Also remember that if you're going to be flooring it, it uses a lot more power; if energy savings (or range) is a concern, you probably won't do that all too often anyway.

I was also a little concerned about the interior "fit and finish" of the non-performance. Having the upgraded seat trim, alcantara headliner, and maybe the carbon-fiber dash were enticing -- but ultimately, I'm very pleased with the interior finish of our non-performance (gray leather, lacewood dash - beautiful combo!). The S85 is exquisite and a ton of fun to drive.

If you have room in your budget, and you really want to be pushing the testosterone limits, go for the performance. But I think you're better off getting the other bells & whistles, like the tech package and upgraded audio, and/or putting that extra $14K towards a solar installation. :)

Ultimately, this is a very personal decision, based on your "needs" and your driving style. So you're going to have to decide for yourself. Where are you located? Maybe you can get behind the wheel of the S85 and that way you'll know for sure... Let us know where you are and perhaps one of us will let you take ours out for a spin. ;)

mikhaila | 07. April 2013

My daily is BMW 535. It is a pretty fast car but not a racer - it's a luxury car. I'd get 60KW which is like 535 acceleration wise, but ordered 85 for the range. I think choice I the same as 535 vs 550 vs M5. I personally don't care about low 4s 0-60, I test drove regular 85 and it felt faster than my current 535. I am not sure about P85 since it doesn't look different from regular 85 as opposed, to, say M5 which looks more muscular than 535/550. Therefore from outside no one will be able to tell the difference. Thus unless you want performance for the personal thrill, go for it. Bragging rights? Not everyone out there know what Tesla is so I doubt unwashed masses will look at it and say "oooooh" like they might do with BMW M5 or Merc S or AMG. I bet most people think "Jaguar" when the see Tesla on the road.

Electron | 07. April 2013

+1 on the solar awilder.

Having a car powered by the sun that goes plenty fast is pretty amazing.
Stick it to OPEC and PGE ;)

HenryT2 | 07. April 2013

Having test driven a P85, I actually found it little scary. That speed really comes on fast when there's no obnoxious engine noise. The standard is "fast enough", if there is such a thing.

Not that I wouldn't refuse the P85 if someone gave me one as a gift, but I'd happily just stick to the standard 85 (I actually ordered a 40, so the P85 is FAR from what I ordered).

Steve_W | 07. April 2013

There are differences between a regular 85 and a performance 85 in addition to speed. The performance model has a nicer interior. In the regular 85, the lower portion of the dash is leatherette (it is textured much like the black leatherette top portion of the dash is textured), whereas in the performance model it is a smooth nappa leather that matches the nappa leather on the seats. The performance model also has alcantera on the headliner, pillars and visors, whereas the regular car has fabric. The performance model also includes alcantera bolsters, while the regular 85 does not.

Note that Tesla recently changed the interior of the performance model, deleting the alcantera headliner, pillars and visors and nappa leather on the lower portion of the dash. People complained about the deletion of the alcantera headliner but not the deletion of the nappa leather on the lower portion of the dash. As a result, Tesla appears to have indicated that the alcantera headliner is being reinstated. However, I do not know what the status of the nappa leather on the lower portion of the dash is.

I went with the performance model because of the nicer (in my opinion) interior, in addition to the increased speed. I have owned several Lexus, Audi, MB and a Corvette, so I expect the extra "niceness" of the perfiormance interior.

JPPTM | 07. April 2013

My 2 cents on the 19 vs. 21" rims--I have been there, done that with big rims and low profile tires. I do like the look and the improved handling, but do not like replacing blown tires or tires with failed sidewalls nor do I like the excess curb rash on the rims. This gets expensive and really old really fast. I will sacrifice a bit of the look and performance for a bit more practicality.

FWIW, nonPerf 85 (I can give up 1+ second 0-60).

Ecorreadds | 07. April 2013

awilder, will take you up on that offer! ;-) I live in Orange County!

I wonder if this decision comes down to the BMW equivalent of, 550 or M5? Of course M5 would be amazing, but how much would you be missing from one versus the other? Good point on not seeing external cosmetic differences and having that much of a jump in price certainly plays a role too. I appreciate all the feedback, perhaps I'll take this one down to the wire!

awilder | 07. April 2013

@Ecorreadds Sure, if you wanna make the trip up to Santa Monica... and buy me a beer (after our drive!) Email me - andrew at andrewwilder dot com :)

Vawlkus | 08. April 2013



Benz | 08. April 2013

Go for the standard 85, but do spend the saved money on options.

rochec | 08. April 2013

This is the most unhelpful thread ever. =)

Awesome to see EVERYONE loves their Model S though.

dstiavnicky | 08. April 2013

Went to MS from 911 4S. The biggest difference is from a standing start. Once rolling, either car can pretty much crush anything else on the road.

sethvandermeer | 08. April 2013

@Dstiavnicky to put some numbers to that: 0-60 it's 4.4 vs 5.6, but 50-75 it is 3.6 vs 3.9, so hardly noticeable. I have taken this form a similar thread on TMC, I am not an owner yet, also went from P to regular and back. Still have a few more months to contemplate, European production to start in a few months.

jigish | 08. April 2013


Pretty funny - I also went from driving a 2004 TSX to the Model S. I did the opposite of what you asked, though. I test drove the 85 before I bought and I decided to just spring for the P85 even though I thought the 85 had plenty of power. I *definitely* do not regret my decision. The P85 feels a lot faster than the 85. If you can swing it, I'd say go with the P85. You most definitely won't regret it.

Electron | 08. April 2013

@sethvandermeer Tesla is overstating both those numbers, by the way. And the website has
been revised to say 4.2 and 5.4 now. Still a bit high. And definitely high with 12" rollout.

sethvandermeer | 08. April 2013

@electron you mean with overstating that it is actually lower than 4.2 and 5.4?

rsampsonjr | 08. April 2013

I test drove the 85, found the performance ok. I purchased the P85 and am very happy with it. I would still be ok with faster though. My five-year-old daughter wanted me to sell the P85 and get a faster one that is still electric. I told her I didn't think I could find one, so she told me to keep this one forever :)

carlk | 08. April 2013

Another point I'd like to make. I have driven some very fast cars. Cars like P or non-P can all feel very fast when you are driving alone. However when you're racing another car the one that is not the fastest can feel very slow.

gimp_dad | 08. April 2013

@rsampsonjr and @carlk

I agree. I have always been a car enthusiast (since I was 5 years old) and drove a number of fast cars but bought my first sports car (2003 Porsche 911) when I was 40 years old and it felt really fast. After a year it didn't feel very fast and I started thinking about a 911 Turbo. In 2006 I bought a Corvette Z06 and it felt very fast (3150 lbs, 0-60 in 3.5s, spin the tires at 120MPH in third gear).

In no way does my P85 feel faster than I would want, but it is amazing the performance you can get in a full sized, luxury sedan that weighs 4700 lbs. And you can, most definitely, feel the difference between the P85 and the 85. The 'P' is totally worth the price.

All that said, if I could not have bought the P85, I would have zero complaints with the 85.

KWTESLA | 08. April 2013


I struggled with that thought too. I chose the 85! 2 weeks ago with 3 large guys in the car and bucking a head wind we ran a 0-60 time off 4.63 seconds. That is what the accelerometer said. I got chewed out for the previous run because I did not hit the accelerator hard enough and still got 4.98 down wind. What you really have to worry about is letting your friends drive . The lead foots will get you arrested even with the standard 85. My buddy had us toping 90 very quickly last week. No more test drives without my self behind the wheel!

KWTESLA | 08. April 2013


Go to a Tesla Show room and drive them both ! I had the option at Santana Row.

Electron | 08. April 2013

@sethvandermeer Yes, see the Motor Trend COTY article for example.

jukevargo | 08. April 2013

We got the 85 with the 19". To us, we always giggle when we floor it. It's fast.

When people ride in the car, they giggle also. They can't believe what this car can do.

If we had gotten the P85, I'd expect a similar reaction. But to us, not enough to justify the cost. We can afford it, but will spend our money elsewhere.

We have a beautiful car.

- Mike

Ecorreadds | 08. April 2013

I test drove at Newport Beach location, and they just had the P85 option, and I was told there that all Tesla showrooms only have the P85 and no other tier. And this was just 2 weeks ago. So what would be the closest Tesla showroom to have the standard 85 for test drive? Would I be able to test drive again?
I guess my main concern is the torque feeling between the 85/P85 especially since the numbers themselves really couldn't define feeling. I wouldn't consider taking this car past 85, just want it for passing ability from stand still to 40 and on the freeways from 40-75.
This thread has been very useful thanks to all for your valuable input! -Eddie

JDster | 09. April 2013

Go for the P85 if money is no object. I have the 85 and regret not getting the P. I debated a long time before I configured. My main concern was the 19 & 21 inch wheels as many discussed. I didn't want to deal with flat tires and damaged wheels. After I took delivery of my car, Tesla came out with the Tire & Wheel warranty. Had I known Tesla was going to have that warranty program, I'd definitely go with the P.

Like many have said, they regret not getting the P. But you don't hear it the other way around.

ir | 09. April 2013

I heard Menlo Park might have a non-performance. They cycle the test cars around. You have a better chance finding a local owner who would let you try their car.

I test drove a P85 at Santana Row last October before taking delivery of a standard 85 at the end of February. The tester was limited to 80 mph and I honestly didn't feel that "thrown into your chair" acceleration merging to the highway. Traffic was moving fast that day, not able to pass many cars with speed cap. :(

Comparing my 85 to the what I recall of the test drive I cannot tell the difference. I have plenty of thrills doing highway merges, especially dealing with those idiots that normally block your merge and force you to stop on the ramp. Plenty of power for merging to the carpool lane from a near standstill. Being able to burst 65-95 in a blink of an eye makes most passing scenarios you wished you could do possible.

I'm sure if I tested a non-speed limited P85 against my S85 I would notice a difference. But not a night & day difference that left a lasting impression from a gimped P85 tester. Not as stark as Model S vs. ICE / Hybrids.

If money is no object, just buy a fully loaded P85 and worry about something else like counting the days until it is delivered. If you have to sacrifice "must have" options (eg. pano roof for the extra 2" of headroom) to get the "P", then I would go for the "S" with options over a bare P85.