Model S

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Five years ago today, we pressed the Go pedal of a P85 for the first time...How did your test drive

edited October 2018 in Model S
Our road to buying the Model S85 had surprising twists and turns. Our Mark VIII was 17 years old, so we asked “if a meteorite fell on it, which car would we buy to replace it?

We heard a Dodge Challenger’s throaty 5.7 liter Hemi roar, and arranged a test drive. It was powerful, but had treacherous blind spots. As long time owners of American V-8s, we wanted to test out German diesel sedans. After driving the high-efficiency Mercedes Blu-TEC E350 and the BMW 328d, we talked about the good aspects (45 mpg and tight handling, nice interior comforts). And the bad: after studying the 35 page shop manual for the complex MB diesel/twin turbo system with urea cleaner fluid, Steve looked up at me, shook his head and said “As a mechanical engineer, I can see that this system has way too many moving parts”.

A neighbor had to cancel his test drive of a Tesla. We told him, it’s too far to go to LA for a test drive; we didn’t know San Diego even had a store. Five minutes later we were home on the computer booking a test drive for October 23, 2013. Steve made the left onto Nobel Drive and floored the P85. In the back seat, for the first time, I lost my equilibrium, and became dizzy. That’s never happened before, even driving in my boss’ Porsche.

We spent 2 hours in the store poring over the skateboard’s robust aluminum fabrication. As both of us worked in aerospace, we were drawn to the finely cast AlSi10MgMn parts, and went home to research the alloy. We read this forum and met with Tesla people to be sure that our concerns (12V battery, replacement of drive motor/inverter due to 65+ hum) had been resolved by redesign/procurement.

We hadn’t planned to replace our V-8 Lincoln (65,000 miles). But before pressing the confirm button in December, I asked Steve when did you know we would have to buy the Model S? “The moment my foot hit the go pedal and it took off”. And my moment was, “when you floored it and I was floating.”

The road we traveled originated in brawny American V-8s, to the refinement and efficiency of German sedans, to Tesla. How did Tesla win us over to purchase the Model S? Exhilarating power, stable center of gravity, equal weight distribution, solid Al construction, excellent range, interior spaciousness, few moving parts to fail, quiet, beauty of design, commitment to making the car right, supercharging, large display, flat torque curve, hauling capability, safety. It’s a travel car par excellence. A green car that made us see stars.

As I filed all the documents collected during the process, I came upon 10 pages from Tesla’s site that we had printed July 16, 2012. At that point, we realized, we’d actually been thinking about this since it came into production. Back then, we didn’t foresee that on March 12, 2014, a blue Model S85 would be arriving in our garage.

This was what we wrote before…reflections on how we feel now…coming up.


  • edited October 2017
    I never did a test drive. My first drive was after I paid for one. I just knew it would be awesome. :)
  • edited November -1
    Four years ago I already decided that I want to buy the car before I took the test drive. That was only to convince wife and to start the process. You know instead of we need to buy this car it's let's take a test drive to see how the car is like. I can't even explain what made me to want the car, I had a pretty nice car that I had no intention of replacing at that time, but it's the general feeling that this is what future car is like. Everything else is antiqued.
  • edited October 2017
    I've always driven powerful sports cars, so the acceleration was nice but not startling. Once I felt the regen I lost interest in every other car out there.
  • edited November -1
    No test drive, but curious, on average, how many times a day does Steve remind you that he’s a mechanical engineer? :)
  • edited October 2017
    Always loved them, but last February I made the mistake (not!) of driving my neighbours model S. In May I took delivery of my P85D!!
  • edited November -1
    I love that the materials used were such a unique part of your test drive experience. Ours was far less technical, but ended the same way of course :)
  • edited November -1
    You crack me up! Good thing I wasn't drinking coffee. How can you guess that when you only spent an hour with him???
  • edited November -1
    I also bought it without test drive. Well: I put a deposit on one at least.

    Now, I tell anyone interested in the car: Test drive one only with the full awareness that you'll want one afterward. I have yet to meet someone who test drove a Tesla and then said "Meh, I'll go with something else". A couple of years ago I read that Tesla had the highest test-drive to sale conversion rate. It was not surprising to me.

    But beyond all of that, there is an intangible quality to the Model S that lets it shine in a way that makes a test drive almost a secondary confirmation:
    When I convinced my wife to come look at one at the Santa Monica Tesla showroom in 2012, she came along basically to humor me. There was no way in *HELL* we'd spend 80 or 90k on a car. Even for me, the visit was more to satisfy my curiosity in that new thing than an actual shopping trip.
    That status flipped soon after we stepped into the showroom and saw the beautiful black car. I was helplessly being dragged, like standing in a rip tide, from "Not for us" to "probably not" to "I don't think so" to "maybe some day" to "perhaps" to "could we?" within a couple of minutes.
    My wife went from "No way" to "We gotta have one of these!" - even before I got to "Could we?"
  • edited November -1
    We were looking for a Mercedes SUV replacement, so Spring of 2014 I went to a Tesla store to ask when the X would be released.

    I had no interest in a sedan but reluctantly, I gave in to thie salespersons insistence to test drive an S.

    Came back from the exhilirating drive completely blown away and reserved a P85 on the spot!

    Spetember 30th I took delivery of the car in San Diego with AP1 hardware, which was a feature unknown to anyone when I ordered. What a bonus that was and continues to be.

    It was only after I ordered that I discovered this forum and what a great source of info that has been!
  • edited November -1
    My test drive was April of 2013. I was all set up with my wife, daughter, and daughter's boyfriend to go with me. They all bailed on the day of it. What the heck?! This is a chance to ride in a Tesla! You have never seen one before, and probably won't for another couple of years, since there is no Tesla presence in the state. (Still isn't over four years later.) At the time, my wife said she didn't want to go, since it wasn't a car we were going to buy.

    Well, most of a year later, daughter's car died, and we were in the market, so started thinking about it again, and decided to order one in January 2014.

    I won't say the test drive did anything in particular for me, since I was already obsessed and had been reading this forum for a while, so I knew beforehand I would love it no matter what.
  • edited October 2017
    I wanted a Tesla since I saw the Model S announcement. I couldn't justify it since I didn't need a car. Finally, this year, I had a valid excuse, er reason, to get a car. I had my heart set on the Model X ever since it was announced but it didn't fit in our garage. Our sales guy suggested the Model S, which I was hesitant about after the let down of the X not fitting in our lives. I went for a test drive of the Model S and the moment of no return for me was when I accelerated onto a freeway and it pushed me back against my seat and did not hesitate.

    Things that used to annoy or anger me while driving are now brushed aside with, "whatever, I'm in a Tesla". Although I enjoy launching up to speed, I don't feel the need to speed because it gives me more time in the car.
  • edited October 2017
    I've owned many muscle, import, exotic cars over the years. Loved looking at every Tesla that drove by me and my eyes were like magnets to its lines. My good friend who has been with Tesla for many years dropped by my house this year and said " I know you like special cars and want to show you something" I thought wow this is cool so jumped in. Took me on a back road and proceeded to put it in launch mode. Asked me if I want to take a video with my iPhone? I said ok thinking well it will be an experience I want to capture. I had no idea the G force that would accompany it. So my iPhone flew into the back seat. Was not prepared to be in a rocket. Wish I could show the video here because its hilarious seeing my phone fly through the air. He let me drive it home and it was like I was on my first drivers test. Nervous as hell thinking this beast might buck me off. Returned home and told my wife I just bought a very expensive iPad. She said ok.Did the math after and figured that 20 minute test drive cost me $7,000.00 a minute And we all lived happily ever after. LOL.
  • edited October 2017
    We went to Santana Row from the airport in San Jose about 5 years ago and got to test drive a P85. The large screen was really awesome and the sound system great using voice command. And it had a front trunk. I punched the car and knew we had to have this futuristic vehicle. The only problem was I burned a set of tires having too much fun. Bought another Tesla D 4 years later and have a Model 3 coming. I am sticking with the best car ever made. ;-)
    It has made life fun.
  • edited October 2017
    We once drove a marvelous Jag XJ8. But on our 1st baseball trip down the west coast August 2014 (in that Jag), on a lark we scheduled a test drive at the Walnut Creek store. I was blown away, hooked, and couldn't shut up about it. When we returned home, Mrs. Muddy did the math and scheduled her own test drive on Sept 23 at the Seattle store. "Where do we sign?" was her statement upon exiting the Model S.
    Sold the Jag with pangs in my heart. But have never looked back. We took delivery of a midnight blue S85 in Dec. 2014.
    "What country is that Tesla made in? Was a common question. OOOO-SA (USA). No Shit! Really?
    Promptly put 72,000 miles on it. Sold some real estate. Mrs. M had already figured out the next move to a 2017 MS100D. Christened it with a 7,000 mile baseball trip in Sept of this year.
    We are very happy.
  • edited October 2017
    I almost forgot: Happy anniversary SBeggs!
  • edited October 2017
    @Muddy, awesome!
  • edited November -1
    I have a client has a VIn 2000ish Model S. Back in Feb 2014 I mentioned I was interested in Model S. He threw me his fob and said, "Go drive it for the day" I don't need it until 5. And so I did.
    That night I ordered my 1st model S and took delivery in March 2014 VIN 34k.
    Since then I have purchased 1 more Model S and a Model X. I sold the 34k VIN car to a friend because of AP. I had to have it.
    I have not looked back.
  • edited October 2017
    In the short space of the past three weeks I finally decided to do some preliminary research on Tesla; I scheduled a test drive and, last Saturday, drove a 75D. My previous daily driver was a Porsche Turbo (which I drove almost always in "Sport" mode).

    Even before taking a "launch" I was aware of the virtually linear power available to the wheels; the 75D's launch was very nice--and reminiscent of the Turbo.

    On to a P100D three days later....wherein, in less than three seconds of elapsed time, the P100D exposed the Porsche Turbo for the anachronistic sluggard that it is! Meaning, as I compared my sensation of a Turbo launch vs the Tesla, I would have to say that the Tesla was GONE at least one second before the Turbo "decided" to take a gulp of liquid dinosaur, spin up the turbos and finally (an eternity of milliseconds later) kick in and go. Exhilarating in its own right but sad. Or, sadly exhilarating?

    I will never go back to a Porsche. The Model S - P100D - has ruined me for the foreseeable future. Now I must wait till mid-December for its arrival. Truly, by purchasing this vehicle I feel that I am a generation ahead of the curve in personal transportation. The Future arrives on Dec. 15.
  • edited October 2017
  • edited November -1
    I can't believe we didn't mention regenerative braking as one of the car's advantages. It has become one of our two favorite things about the T!
  • edited October 2017
    I knew I was going to buy the moment I silently pulled out of the parking space on a test drive in 2013. Hummingbird turned four this month.
  • edited November -1
    Ordered my first Model S (P85+) over the internet and without a test drive.
  • edited October 2017
    Have wanted a tesla for years, and without even a test drive, put down a deposit on a CPO P85D. Absolutely amazing car, and even if I own it for 10 years, it'll still be the fastest thing on the road then.
  • edited November -1
    the regenerative braking is also one of my favorites. I don't think the brakes will ever need replacement and so much easier relaxing my left leg.
    I think I need to pick up some milk. Summon.
  • edited October 2017
    @sbeggs thanks for starting this lovely post. My Tesla was ordered online without test drive. Only regret I waited too long to purchase. I was reflecting on my drive home from work yesterday. Standard DFW stop and go, and noticed I had a Tesla grin. Do I need to say anything else? Extended my life by 2 years.
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