Tesla Seat

Tesla Seat

I wish everyone on this board a very new year. I am a newbie here and I am seriously considering the Model S. The one item that is stopping me so far is the seat. I an on the taller side and I find the Model S seat quite uncomfortable; I spent 15 minutes at the showroom trying to adjust the seat to a comfortable position but I couldn't especially when it came to upper back support.

Do any of you have any suggestions about how to address this issue? Are there any after market seats available for the Model S? I would hate to pass on this great car for this reason but I know that I wouldn't be able to enjoy the car with the stock seats. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Sam | 01. Januar 2014

While I think most owners find the seat quite comfortable, everyone is different and getting a comfortable seat can be critical to your comfort.

The seat does have an adjustable lumbar, that can be moved in or out and up or down. Perhaps you didn't realize it can go up and down - so perhaps there is a position that can make it comfortable to you.

My friend uses a back-rest in my car (and every car she sits in). Not ideal, but it solves the problem for her.

TikiMan | 01. Januar 2014

I'm 6'2", and LOVE my MS's seats (plus I suffer from a bad lower back, and a broken tail-bone). By comparison, hated my last Infiniti vehicle, which had duel-bolster'ed luxury sport-seats.

I have driven almost 20k miles in my MS now, and am very satisfied with seat comfort.

hcwhy | 01. Januar 2014

I had an issue with an aircraft seat and took it to a guy who did custom aircraft interiors....he reworked the seat for me and it was a huge improvement. I was lucky to have had one of the top shops nationally in our area, but you might check out custom car interiors or aircraft interiors in your area....they might be able to help shape the seat just for you....I don't know if airbags are in the Tesla seats...that could be an issue...and they would most likely only be able to rework the existing seat for safety reasons. Good Luck.

jat | 01. Januar 2014

I'm very happy with my seats, and I even have the original textile seats which are only 8-way adjustable.

oghebrial | 01. Januar 2014

Great, Thank you all for your feedback.

I am 6'4" - 240 lbs. and my biggest issue is upper back support.

I am located in Southern California. hcwhy, do you mind sharing where you are located and a rough estimate for what the seat rework cost you?

Much appreciated.

hcwhy | 02. Januar 2014

@oghebrial I am in Cincinnati and had the work done by AirMod at Clermont County airport in Batavia, Ohio. It was a while ago and I don't remember what it cost, but it didn't break the bank. However,the aircraft seat was a lot simpler than the car seat is...just a seat that went back and forth in a track with manual rake heaters, airbags, or electric parts.

epac | 02. Januar 2014

I am 6' 4" - 230lbs and find that the seats do not go low enough. I knew of this before I bought the car and decided it was not a deal breaker. I have the pano roof, which helps, and recline the seat back a bit further than I typically enjoy.

Also, the seat doesn't have ample leg support (compared to by previous BMW 5 series). It is just something I deal with.

However, I find the lumbar support for my once broken back to be excellent.

IMO this is the only "downside" to the car!!

mjepson | 02. Januar 2014

I'm 6' 7" and just got my Model S, and the seat and leg space have been an issue for me. I drove an Audi A5 before which was perfect for me, with good side support for legs and back. This is totally lacking in the Tesla.

My right leg needs to rest on the side of the mid-console, and I have to push the seat forwards quite a lot for it to be comfortable, but this causes my legs to bend so much that they aren't in contact with the end of the seat. If I go as far back as possible, I can just about get my right leg below the mid console, but this gives no side support for my leg when driving.

I'm wondering if the Center Console Insert might be a solution to this problem?

Also the left foot is angled to the right a bit, and with no side support in the door, this puts tension on the leg. I find I have to keep my leg bent to get proper support in the door, but coming from a car with a clutch, and favoring sporty driving, this feels less than optimal.

If a new model comes out with sport seats like all other premium cars have, I'm definitely upgrading.

RobQ | 02. Januar 2014

i'm 6-4, 210 lbs and car seats are always a problem. I've taken every Audi and BMW I've owned to a good upholstery shop and had them re-pad the back rest so that it is comfortable and supportive. This is not difficult for them and is probably your best option. Cheaper than a sports seat.

I find the Tesla much better than the German cars with the exception of BMW's $$$ "articulated back". While the steering wheel could come out another 1/2" or so for long legs, the only problem I had to correct was the low bulge in the built in head rest. It rubbed my upper spine. Cost $200 to fold down the leather and scrape off the lower padding and button it up. The leather looked fine without the lower padding.

Get the skylight, and also tell Tesla that you want the next version of the visor to slide horizontally 3" so that you won't have to block the late afternoon sun with your hand. | 02. Januar 2014

I love the seats, but I'm less than 6' tall. You will get an extra 1.5" of headroom with the Pano roof, which may be important to you.

For those ordering the Tesla "Performance Seats", keep in mind they will feel the same as the regular seats. These are cosmetic changes only (which are nice), but the padding and shape are unchanged.

TeslaMD | 02. Januar 2014

I wish the leather seam didn't run right in the middle of my butt. I've never had a car with the seam positioned right in the center of where you sit. And it's not a little seam.

Robert22 | 02. Januar 2014


I'm 6'8' and have commented several times on the problem you mention.. Having your knee rest against the corner of the console, despite rudimentary padding, is an issue on longer trips. What I have discovered, however, is that the Performance models give you an extra inch or two to clear the console. The seat track travel is identical, but there is a difference for unclear reasons with the seats. I've had a service manager acknowledge this. You'll notice it immediately when you get a loaner for service because it feels like you're squatting again when you return to your standard MS. If I had known this at the time of purchase, I may have ponied up the extra dollars for the Performance model. YMMV obviously due to variation in body proportion.

Jonathan C. | 03. Januar 2014

Since we are talking about seats, I found the seats to be quite comfortable. Of course I'm not as tall as some of you, but I had problems with seats in other cars and in my opinion Teslas are good enough. I had the pleasure to test drive a Model S for 30min and I've noticed that the driver seat was pretty damaged on the side.
I know that those cars are driven a lot, and from a lot of people but for a car that's maximum 1y old, I was kind of concerned. Do you find the seat quality ti be good? Has some of you experienced an early wear out of the driver seat?
Finally, I always owned cars with adjustable headrest. It’s very important to have the headrest at the right high. How is teslas fix headrest doing for tall people like you? During the test drive I didn’t have the time to see for myself, I was too busy fixing my face ruined by too much fun 

Sweetride | 03. Januar 2014

What model do you have and when was it delivered? I am very surprised that there would be a seat or console difference between models. This could affect me too as I test drove a P85 but ordered an S85. Somehow different models have different assembly lines and parts when it comes to seats and other cabin gear? I thought the differences were in the inverter. Wow!

NKYTA | 03. Januar 2014

P85 here, 6'2"+ and no issues. The only thing I've called out is that I do slide a bit if I'm taking an on/off ramp at speed here in CA. A little more bolstering might mitigate that.

As for comfort, just did Nor Cal to Portland and back and it is a much better travel car than I've been in.

mallynb | 04. Januar 2014

Adjusting for an optimum seating position isn't a problem for either my wife or me. We can make the seats fit.

However,the hard seats and stiff suspension combine to produce a harsh ride. My wife mentioned this after our test drive. I remained unaware until our first 140 mile trip.

Thus, for me a couple of hours on the road becomes uncomfortable. My wife has just ordered an after-market strap-on seat cushion. It's her fourth try to protect her sensitive back.

This has been our only negative experience with our Model S. It is a great car!

oghebrial | 04. Januar 2014

Thank you all for your feedback and comments; this is very informative to me. I am in SoCal and will check with local tuner if they can help slightly reshape the seat to provide the support I need. I checked with Recaro as they have a large selection of seats but they don't have an adapter for the Model S yet.

billbaggy | 05. Januar 2014

There is definitely a difference in feel between the performance seats and the standard leather seats, at least on my S85. Early VIN S85 in the 2000's. I am 6'2", 250lbs. The standard seats are fine, not great. I seem to have to re-adjust my position every few weeks to get comfortable again. The few times I have had a P or P+ loaner, I really like the seats, there is a noticeable difference. Wish I could upgrade the seats, but have been told that I cannot.

I agree with others that this is probably the only drawback to the car for me. Not enough to stop me from driving it every day. Maybe I'll look into some of the customization options others have mentioned.

Sweetride | 05. Januar 2014

I asked my Freemont Tesla rep about a previous post about differences between Performance and non-Performance, and this is the reply:

Unfortunately this customer is mistaken. There may have been some mechanical issue with his seats that did not allow them to adjust fully. All the seats in every variant of the Model S are identical

tezzla.SoCal | 05. Januar 2014

Then why are they called Performance Seats? (and cost more)

Salute | 05. Januar 2014

I have Performance Seats and only difference I noticed was the red piping, suede leather inserts, and slightly different leather layout/surface. I once heard the seats went higher in an old post but I am not sure that is true.

nickjhowe | 05. Januar 2014

@tezzla - way back when, the Performance seats were standard with the tech package/P85 and were 12 way adjustable. The standard seats were only 7 (?) way. They also included the extra piping and Alcantara.

During 2013 Tesla dropped the original 'standard' seats and made 12 way standard. Now the only difference is the piping.

They were never very 'performance' - i.e., there is no additional bolstering.

tezzla.SoCal | 05. Januar 2014

@Nickjhowe, Interesting, I guess with the suede leather inserts; they just look different and don't perform any different.

hpoe5 | 05. Januar 2014

Try something designed for long distance travel and aircraft crashes:

lars | 19. Januar 2014

Just a comment concerning the quality of the seeds of the Tesla model S. I come from Europe and in this way I'm used to a very high standard of the seats. I also own a 7 series and 8 series of the German automobile manufacturer BMW. These cars have excellent seats and with further options like added electrical adjustments and built in ventilation and massage I'm maybe a little spoiled in this area. Nevertheless, I was very disappointed when inspecting a model S in the salesroom the other day. The 1 month old car (with maybe a maximum of 20 visitors daily) was equipped with the performance seats and leather option and the quality was obvious no way near what you'll get in an Audi, BMW or VW for that matter (I'm Danish not German so I'm not biased concerning the maker of these cars). One sign of bad quality is how fast the seats look used and worn. My BMW 850 is 23 years old with 200.000 miles on the clock and they are in perfect condition even though they don't look exactly new either. On the other hand my BMW 745 is 10 yeas with 100.000 miles and they feels and look like new with its multitude of adjustments in perfect order. A Tesla in my ownership with two kids won't look close to that after even 1 year would be my guess - and that is making me having second thoughts purchasing the Tesla. The leather in the Tesla also feels very soft and as I can see from the dealers car, this is an area that is being worn rather rapidly. I would be so happy if Tesla could offer a quality upgrade in this area!

2050project | 19. Januar 2014 | 19. Januar 2014

@ - I can't answer the wear you see in the store, but most demo products (even unrelated to cars) seem to have extreme wear when open to the public. I've had my car for a year, and drive it daily. Seats still look and feel like new.

I can't say I've taken any special care (I've never applied any products to the leather). Maybe they are vacuumed once a month.

Now I also don't have kids, so once they start to spill cokes, fries and chocolate over the seats, they may not look so nice (and perhaps that's what's happening in the showrooms). While I have gray, I'd recommend black for anyone with kids.

Alex K | 19. Januar 2014 | JANUARY 19, 2014: Just a comment concerning the quality of the seeds of the Tesla model S. I come from Europe and in this way I'm used to a very high standard of the seats. I also own a 7 series and 8 series of the German automobile manufacturer BMW.

In addition to the Model S, I'm also leasing a Porsche Panamera S Hybrid. The seats in the Panamera have all the adjustments someone would want, including a bolster length adjustment. Aside from the ventilated seat feature in the Panamera, I really don't miss the extra seat features in the Model S, having driven 23k miles in the last year. I do think that some additional seat features, such as bolster adjustment and ventilated seating would be a welcome addition to the car.

bradtesla | 19. Januar 2014

Currently own a Tesla Model S P85+, 2012 BMW 750i Sport with comfort seats and a BMW ActiveE. Both BMW's have better seats than the Tesla.

I'm 5' 8" at 150 lbs and the Tesla has almost no lateral support for me. I'm looking for a way to improve them.

I agree that the only thing "sport" about the sport seats is the looks. I'm hoping Tesla improves this and we have the opportunity to upgrade our seats.

If anyone has a success story to modify the seats in San Diego please share.

Long Island | 19. Januar 2014

I'm 10' 4" but have no problem. Just removed the front seat & sit in the back so I have enough leg room!

Brian H | 19. Januar 2014

You rie rike a rug.

Gerhard Eide | 23. Januar 2014

I am wating for delivery (Norway) so I have only done a test drive. But it was the seats that made me think for 4 weeks instead of ordering right away. They lack of side support was a big disapointment. When they define it as a luxury car they should have put som more work into those seats. At least offer an option for real sport seats.

Try Volvo sport seats and you know what I mean...

Rocky_H | 23. Januar 2014

Comparison is most of appreciation. This thread makes me really glad that I'm coming to a Model S from very low market cars, so everything will be new and amazing for me, instead of disappointing. My cars have these levers on the seats that you pull so that you can scoot the seat to where you want it and then release the lever--very fancy and high tech. :)

Koz | 24. Januar 2014

Try Dunkin Doughnuts twice daily to increase side bolster support.

Jonathan C. | 24. Januar 2014

@Koz very funny ehhehehe.

I'm glad I'm not the only one having concerns about the seats. The test car in Zurich had really nasty scratches on the driver side. I keep my cars like a maniac and I don’t drive too may km a year.
But my kids aren't that kind with the seats... So I just would like to see more comments from owners with some km on they're cars. Maybe some pictures.
I think Tesla need to know if their seats are keeping people from buying the model S, specially coming out of the early buyers phase

BrassGuy | 24. Januar 2014

Koz I did actually lol!
Rocky_H +1 - I used to like being able to adjust the seat with a lever, very fast. Never liked twist-knob recline though, takes forever.
I don't often thrash around in my S, but I've never been sliding around in the seat and do find it comfortable. To each I suppose.

poet1 | 05. Februar 2014


I am on the verge of ordering the Model S, have everything picked out but I have yet to sit in a version with the Textile seats. No showrooms in So Cal have one. The Van Nuys bldg had one and the customer picked it up an hour before I got there. Does anyone have the Textile seats that would be willing to let me check them out. I don't need to drive the car, I already did that. Thanks.

Joshua | 05. Februar 2014

It seems the test drive cars get quite a bit of unusual abuse. Not quite sure why, but it doesn't seem to relate to actual use.

Maybe some of the high-mileage owners can check in, but with 12K miles, leather seats on my MS still look like new. I often wear jeans (with those metal rivets), and still no scratches or damage I can see. So far it has held up as well as any prior car I've had.

For long drives (8+ hours) I've found the seats comfortable. I had one friend that disliked the passenger seat when I first got it, but that went away after a few months. Perhaps the seats have a bit of break-in period to make them better? This person has hated almost every seat she's been including many luxury brands in so it's not unique to Tesla. It just means different people fit better or not, which is true of every car.

Brian H | 06. Februar 2014

Which coast are you on? Or in-between?

Gizmotoy | 06. Februar 2014

@Brian H: He said SoCal.

@poet1: If you ever find yourself up in the Bay Area let me know. You could check out mine. The Santana Row showroom also seems to keep one in stock, there's where I checked them out before I ordered.

Tiebreaker | 06. Februar 2014

Normal car seat use: you get in in the morning, then get out. Repeat in the evening... maybe a couple of more times.

Demo car seat use: Somebody gets in, 30 mins later gets out. Then another person gets in, gets out. Then 30 minutes later, another one... then an hour later, same... then again...

All that getting in / getting out puts a lot more stress, wear and tear on the sides of the seats...

thranx | 06. Februar 2014

I'm 5'10", 198 lbs., 67 years old. Would I like more comfortable seats? Sure. Are the current ones sufficiently comfortable? Yes.

AmpedRealtor | 06. Februar 2014

I love the seats as-is. My thighs squish out to twice their normal size when I sit down. I appreciate the accommodation! :)

jrichards | 21. Juli 2014

Seat is definitely an issue if you are tall. I am 6'5" and my head goes about an inch into the sunroof. Not a huge problem but I am essentially looking down at the rear view mirror, can't see traffic lights, etc. Previously owned an Audi A8 and never had this issue. Absolutely love the Model S otherwise but am looking into options to try and get a custom seat made that would lower me down 1-2 inches.

Brian H | 12. August 2014


changing drivers about every 30 miles would make >3,000 entry-exit & readjustment cycles in 100,000 miles. How well would your cars have held up to that?