Impressions after 45 min test drive

Impressions after 45 min test drive

My current DD is a 2011 Jag XF Supercharged (comes with 20" wheels) with the ECU tune package (~520-540hp), and this is my second XF.I just drove the TMS P85 with 19" wheels for about 45 minutes in mix of city, highway, good/bad road surfaces, etc.Here are my thoughts ,strictly as compared to my car.
1) It is uncanny how the TMS immediately felt so similar to the XFS on the road as far as ride quality, steering and handling in general.Driving over bad road surface, feels same as the XFS.
2) Seat, driving position, steering position is very good
3)For an ICE, the XF has same philosophy of less is more - as far as physical switches and controls.Much more low key and elegant compared to anything German
4)when quickly turning the wheel left-right-left-right in low speed, the car is not planted, feels like the tire sidewalls are too soft or suspension is loose and it sways a lot.
5) Test Car has 5000+ miles, and no rattles, creaks at all
6)Accelerating hard from any speed between 0-65mph, the P85 feels faster for sure. Stepping on it above about 70mph, I would say the XFS easily pulls away. This is of course the normal expected difference between the ICE and E-motor torque/power delivery curves
7)interior quality is a lot of hits and misses considering it's a $100K car,definitely lower quality overall then the XFS. Too much plastic (low grade hard plastic)all over the place. The tray between the front seats is the most ridiculous thing, and a major screw-up, which by itself brings the whole interior down- however should be an easy fix.
8) visibiliy out the back is worst than even the XF, but I did not feel any issues on the road. Would be nice to have parking sensors for such a large car - that's a no brainer.
9) car is of course very quite at low speeds. At about70mph and above, total cabin noise is same as the XFS
10) switches on the steering wheel feel cheap and flimsy
11) Until today, I haven't seen an MS around here. Today suddenly I saw 2 on the road....
12)I lease my cars (36-39 month leases, 15Kmi/year)The XF normal maintenance costs are definitly lower than the S up to at least 4 years. Incidentally,the cost for the TMS is close to $1000/year and not the claimed $600. (adding the rumored $30/mo for 3G connectivity).
13)Came away from the test drive impressed,but not blown away. Considering the rave reviews, and how so many people are blown away by the TMS, I have a new appreciation for the XFS, which costs 30% less.
14) Note that I am not discussing the range issue at all in this report.

herkimer | 23 March, 2013

Well, it seems to me you better stick with your jag, and keep paying the fuel costs and the oil changes.

That's fine. Lots of cars in the world, always will be choices ... and negative reviews are fine too.

"switches are cheap and flimsy?" How so? Did something break or rattle or malfunction? Or maybe it was made from lighter materials than you are used to, and that makes it, in your opinion, cheap and flimsy. Opinion, ok, grounded in opinion.

Tray between the front seats is the "most ridiculous thing." Its a design choice, and in your opinion a bad one, fair enough. But someone else may like it very much because they can adapt the space to their own use. It is, after all, usable space.

ginsbergr | 23 March, 2013

Jags are wonderful cars if you do not mind being in service for half your time owning the car.
What you get with the Tesla is a premium car that uses NO gas and NO oil.
The Jag, as you have pointed out is modified to about 520hp...I would say that it is amazing that the Tesla Model S kept up through 70mph considering you are working with lots more HP.
And, depending on your choice of battery, the Tesla definitely does not need to be 40% more, in fact, I would suggest that the cost of the car is just the start...once you start adding reliability issues and maintenance with the Jag...if you do keep your car up to date, the actual cost of ownership with the Tesla would be much, much less.
If you want to get a real education on ownership costs, check out this link:

Good Luck with your Jag!

bigez1 | 23 March, 2013


Did you relay your thoughts to the Tesla rep? Curious - What was their response?

riceuguy | 23 March, 2013

I want to jump in and say--before people jump down the OP's throat--that he has given a pretty thorough, subjective review between two reasonably comparable cars that one might very reasonably choose between and has given some perfectly legitimately reasons why he might choose to stay with the Jag. Certainly there is room to educate about things like the CCI, etc., but in reality he isn't bashing the MS, and someone isn't crazy for not choosing a Jag over an MS (don't get me wrong, not my choice in a million years), but hardly an uninformed choice. The tone of the forum tends to be "love MS or be re-educated." We should encourage those that don't come in saying things like " this company will fail" or "the range is -4 miles in the cold," but rather that just offer up why they don't choose MS. Tesla can learn a lot from posts like these!

village33 | 23 March, 2013

On #10, I understand the switches, levers, etc are from Mercedes...

rroonnbb | 23 March, 2013

Jag's are very nice cars, and I think the reliability trope isn't really an issue these days (particularly if you've got a car under warrantee). I've had friends with Jag's and they didn't seem to have an out-of-the-ordinary number of issues relative to the Audi I had before my MS.

And I agree that the interior of the MS is still a bit below par for a car at this price-point. The cheap plastic mirrors (without lights) on the sunvisor are my personal nit :-). And yes, parking sensors (or better yet, front and side cameras) would be very very high on my list of wishes.

(I'm also not at all convinced that certain compromises, like the center non-console, are design decisions so much as 'get it out the door in 2012' decisions. No way to know for sure but I'd bet money that by 2014 we'll see more center console storage as well as map-pockets in doors and behind front seats).

Generally think that @jdesmo is pretty fair/accurate in his impressions. But for me, that instant acceleration at any speed is a groundbreaking difference from an ICE - as is the general magic of not burning gas or visiting stations. I couldn't go back.

chadrchristensen79 | 23 March, 2013

I agree that the interior has a cheaper feeling than
Similar priced cars, but I think that most of that
Feeling stems from the minimalist design .
I agree with imherkimer@ that the center console is
A design choice, and like he said it's usable. In my car
That space is completely filled with a shift lever buttons
a drivetrain and two cup holders. Now that's worthless.

As far as the loose feeling, I drive a BMW 550 sport
Package, 20" wheels , but in the winter I have 19" all
Season tires and there is no comparison. I'm almost
Scared to take a fast corner because it feels like the
Tires are going to roll off the rims .

bigez1 | 23 March, 2013

I agree the Model S isn't for everyone and I also agree it isn't perfect. However, this forum is full of post clearly meant to degrade Tesla and nothing more. As far as jdesmo's review is concerned, while I respect his views I personally disagree with most of his assessment, especially vs. his particular Jag. Additionally, his issues read like the list of things already know/posted. BTW, if jdesmo took a "Tesla" test drive, I am almost certain the testers are limited to 80mph so I'm confused as to his claim the Jag easily pulls away....

carlk | 23 March, 2013

Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion but this does not do anything for me. Your Jag sounds like a good car but not a car I would pay attetion to. It just does not have the special buzz for a car costing this much. For an ICE car I would just spend a little extra for a Porsche, which I'm driving one, if the iconic name is what I want, or a high end Audi if I want something new and special.

carlk | 23 March, 2013

@bigez1, you're too polite to call op a troll. Anyone can come on the forum to claim anything.

I was trying to be polite in my post above too. What I was really saying, assumming he does own the Jag and test drove the MS, is "a guy who drives a Jag wants to bash MS?".

riceuguy | 23 March, 2013

So, having said my peace, let me now add my opinion! I agree with CarlK...I have never nearly wrecked while swiveling my head to check out a Jag. Perhaps an Aston Martin or the occasional new mode of Lamborghini or Ferrari, but the first time I saw a Model S I nearly missed the upcoming curve in the road. There are simply no sedans out there as stunningly good looking, in my opinion. And say what you will about the interior, but everyone I have taken to see the car (at the poor car is now delayed and supposedly 4-6 weeks out) notices basically two thing: the dashboard and the gorgeous 17 inch screen. My typical drive is 31 miles to the airport and 31 miles back, or about 42 minutes. Do I want a few things changes about the interior (e.g., more cupholders)? Sure, but would I rather have the obscenely smooth and powerful electric acceleration, the quiet, the giant touchscreen, the massive storage space, etc. Yes, yes, yes, and oh, yes. But if somebody else wants something else that's great...just makes my (well, soon to be my) Model S more unique and more special!

RobS | 23 March, 2013

jdesmo - It seems to me that the list of differences you mentioned are minutia. The elephant in the room, that you didn't address at all, is the mission of Tesla - to reduce our carbon output while being able to enjoy an amazing car at the same time.

chadrchristensen79 | 23 March, 2013

@Robs +1
That's the kicker.

jdesmo | 23 March, 2013

shocking and sad really, how can anything be said here with everyone so defensive. You really feel I was bashing the MS?
Few people here understand where I'm coming from, but most are so blindly defensive.
I'm on my second XF, because I was surprised how much I enjoyed the 1st one and never had any problems. The current one with just over 20Kmi is trouble free also so far. That said, I had many other kind of cars cars before - for example 3 different Infiniti's (Q45, M45, G35). I very much enjoyed those too, so why jump to a Jag?, well why not, specially when most people as aptly displayed here think they are junk, which make these cars still rare on the road - all the better. I remember when I got my Q45 in 1990, people also laughed at me.
As far as the German machines, I personally don't touch anything German for personal reasons, but also because to me there is something revolting about the herd mentality.

shepski | 23 March, 2013

New non-owning member here, so forgive me for somewhat coming to the OP's defense; but - apart from some typos and/or misspellings, I don't see what's so offensive about his post. Some of his comments were quite favorable.

And, for those of you who boast of its using NO oil (a concept I, too, love), presumably the MS has wheel bearings and such that are lubricated - if not immersed - in some sort of petroleum-derived goo? (Not to mention the interior plastics, if I really wanted to nitpick "no oil.")

Meanwhile, could anyone chime in here on the quality of the seats? I have yet to see an interior in person, but many of the pics I've seen of the seats make them look somewhat cheap and cheesy - like they were lifted out of a 'Vette or something (particularly the black ones with the red piping). Then again, the interior in this video review looks rather stunning:

And what's with all the Jag hate here? Although the MS may very well be the most gorgeous car on the road, CLEARLY it was inspired by Jaguars (compare its butt to that of an XF) - which is not a bad thing at all. (And I, for one, had to visit a chiropractor after my first times seeing BOTH an MS and current XJ on the road.)

eelton | 23 March, 2013


I agree with your comments. I'm always surprised at the vehement reaction that any less-than-glowing comments receive.

As for your question about the seats--and risking such a reaction--I don't think they're "cheap and cheesy," but they do lack side bolstering. Also, I find the seat a bit uncomfortable after a longer drive, as there's not a lot of padding.

jdesmo | 23 March, 2013

I thought the seats felt great in my short test drive but could use more thigh support - still felt somewhat better than my XF seats.I did not like the non adjustable headrests. The leather is very soft to the touch, hopefully it's not too thin and will hold up.The seats I think do look better in a lighter color (tan), rather than black.
Couple of additional minor comments:
I got hooked on the XF's heated steering wheel for cold weather driving, and cooled/ventilated seats in the summer. The new app to pre-cool/heat the MS cabin is very good, but driving all winter long in the Northeast without having to put on gloves is nice.
Also the seat controls look very cheap.
The lack of a spare tire bothers me. The MS has so much storage and flexibility front and back - surely they can find a solution to tuck a donut somewhere?

As far as 'using no oil, gas , carbon output' , I think it's quite amusing that Elon makes up for it million times over with every launch of one of his Falcon 9s, and I'm a huge fan of SpaceX.

Brian H | 23 March, 2013

I believe the MS was revealed before the XF. So which direction did the copying go?

62 miles in 42 minutes is 89mph. Yer a menace.

carlk | 23 March, 2013

@jdesmo I'm not defensive. I don't own a MS either. I just feel it's pretty funny that you think the Jag is the best car your money can buy and at the same time can list so many trival reasons why you don't like MS. The car experts at Motortrend, Automobile Magazine and Car and Driver, among many others, all named MS as the best new car on the market today. No one has mentioned your issues even casually as a problem for the car. Those things are at most just different disign philosophies and they all recognize it.

You can be defensive about your Jag too but I was telling you my honesty opinion, not trying to bash the car. When was the last time a Jag ever appreared on the best car list in any of these magazines? The brand is just not popular for a high end car and rightfully so. BTW your herd mentallity German cars do appear on the best car lists quiet often.

A friend of mine don't buy German cars either for probably the same reason as you have. His entire family has never bought a German car. I learned this when a few years ago he told us he decided to buy a Volvo C70 convertible as his mid-life crises car. I think that's pretty funny too.

hsadler | 23 March, 2013

Totally agree with the Elon comment. But,if not SpaceX, then someone else would have to do the missions. You just kinda make it sound like Elon saves carbon outputs just so he can create them elsewhere. Amusing.

carlk | 23 March, 2013

@riceuguy Are you a Rice-U-guy? Same here. No wonder we are so right. ;-)

bigez1 | 23 March, 2013

Criticism goes both ways. Clearly almost all Jag models are wanting in several areas. Those criticism can be found in almost every review. Personally, I didn't see any Jag hate only people sharing their opinions.

NielsChr | 23 March, 2013

shocking and sad really, how can anything be said here with everyone so defensive. You really feel I was bashing the MS?

No I dont think so.

Thanks for the review - oposite other peoples reaction, I like read how you compare the 2. Ofcouse there are up/down sides of both cars.

as you might know a JAG is a nice car, and I personaly would be surpriced if it was not better at some point. at same time its also interessting to read where you think model S differ.

Vern110 | 23 March, 2013

@jdesmo, to each his own. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder... Other MS owners like myself, P85, who also have owned other luxury cars (M5, AMG S55), see the MS as a completely different breed of transportation needs for the every day driver. If you took out EV component, then I would agree with some of your comparisons, but when the EV part is added, ICE and EVs are apples and oranges, part of the fruit family; however, looks and taste completely different.

TS | 23 March, 2013

First off all, thanks for your honest review.
Tesla Motors is a new company offering you new technology, the history of Jag began in 1922.
Its a luxury brand . Tesla is a green brand
I do understand and agree about the plastic. But weight and price is a matter.
Some details do not impress me.
But, what if this car changes the car market industry like Apple changed the mobilephone market with the first IPhone ? (I'm not refering to the 17" screen in the car, but the indipendence from dirty oil. )
Then your car will soon be a classic and stays in your garage.
For me, the most important thing is stopping not to polute the air my kids will need.
Most people attending here hopes that the MS is the very start of a revolution, thats why some appear to be a bit sensitive and defensive..but not everyone will take part (buying the M S 1.0)
You are not in the target groupe
For me, the Jag XFR V8 5.0 SC would cost about 300.000$ beacuse of Norwegian tax.(hp and Co2 tax etc)
The S is totaly taxfee and will cost me 100.000$ .
A medium sized BMW , MB or Lexus well equipt with 160HP would cost me about the same or bit less.
It would also be a safer choice for the 2th hand market - at this time.

If the EV (Tesla) Revolution becomes a fact, it will make a bigger change for human kind than any goverment ever will have the balls to engage.

I want to be a part of this. The only question is : Do I have the balls for it this year and buy the 1.0 version.. (Without all the hitech gear I could get in another 100' $ premium car.. )

Kleist | 23 March, 2013

@jdesmo - "As far as 'using no oil, gas , carbon output' , I think it's quite amusing that Elon makes up for it million times over with every launch of one of his Falcon 9s, and I'm a huge fan of SpaceX."

Tesla (Elon) is about sustainable transportation, not 'no oil'.

To use 25% of a valuable resource to go from A to B and blow 75% in the air as heat, noise and stink is not a very good idea in the 21st century... we should try better.

When gas prices go up it doesn't really hurt my mobility - I just move less and/or smarter. But where it will hurt us is in the cost of food... our current food supply depends heavily on gasoline and diesel.

shepski | 23 March, 2013

@Brian H "I believe the MS was revealed before the XF. So which direction did the copying go?"

The XF was revealed (at Frankfurt) in 2007 and the MS in 2009 - so you tell me.

July10Models | 23 March, 2013

Would not drive the jag but love my MS. The center console in the MS is just perfect. The spartan interior feels so right. The MS feels more like a spaceship than a car.I just spent a solid hour sitting in traffic and felt right at home in the S. Every single person I've giving a ride in the S utters the exact same phrase, "this is the future of the automobile."

shepski | 23 March, 2013

^^ Or, given that the first electric automobiles - which may have been the first automobiles entirely - came out in the second half of the 19th Century, the S is both the future AND the past.

dortor | 23 March, 2013

I remember reading early reviews of the first iPhone like this - when compared to a blackberry - people explaining in great detail why they were keeping their blackberry…

to each their own - it's an interesting perspective, but then again I've always been an early adopter

jed-99aggie | 23 March, 2013


Welcome to the forum and thanks for your insightful post.

One item you mention in your original post in the practice of leasing cars.. I haven't checked in on this in a while, but given the wide speculation on TMS residuals; lease options were either nonexistent or seemed "unreasonable".

In the event that the test drive was everything you had hoped for, what approach were you considering for leasing?

noel.smyth | 23 March, 2013

I think its great that the MS is being compared straight up against a Jag. And it compares pretty well from what jdesmo concludes. Not bad for a start up. jdesmo does leave out a few key points:
1. he says that the Jag is 30% less cost. He needs to consider the total cost of ownership here and include fuel and maintenance. then the 30% is significanly reduced.
2. That there are no emissions from a MS is very significant and really the difference.

for Tesla to get beyond the first adopters, it needs to appeal to the jdemos of the world too. I get it that emissions matter and we need to be more sutainable in all we do and I am willing to trade off the right cup holder location or heated steering wheel (not that I ever had one) for this supreme advantage, not everyone is. so Telsa needs to learn and be more attune to the masses. I suspect and I surely hope that all of the learnings of the MS are applied to the gen III.

nolancn | 23 March, 2013

I believe jdesmo is completely uninterested as to whether the Model S or the Jag is "green". This claimed Model S advantage, given the CO2 footprint associated with battery production, is controversial. I also do not believe jdesmo is interested in the economy of either vehicle beyond the acquisition price. I do believe that jdesmo is interested in the overall driving experience in comparing the Jag to the S. Please let jdesmo express an opinion. I have owned my S for 2 weeks. I have taken 6 car enthusiasts for "test drives". None of these individuals have any persuasion for or against Tesla as many posters on this forum appear to have. None of these 6 individuals care if the car is "green" nor do they care about the economics of owning or operating the car. What they care about was what jdesmo appears to care about; the driving experience. All 6 were blown away by the smoothness, the quiet operation, and the feel of constant uninterrupted acceleration. None were bothered by the austere interior and most expressed a favorable opinion of the simplicity of design and its quality. I for one favor the clean and open nature of the design though I would prefer at least some additional covered storage. I as well as one other "test driver" feel the Giant 17" touch screen is a bit "in your face", but I feel the functionality and ergonomics of this feature far out weighs any aesthetic intrusion. Are there missing features in the S? Sure there are, but this can be said of every vehicle on the market. In short every individual will have different areas they emphasize in choosing a vehicle. The Model S will need to prove itself superior in enough of these areas to be successful. For me it clearly has. There is no going back. For jdesmo, maybe not. The opinion expressed by jdesmo is after all one person's opinion.

village33 | 23 March, 2013

OK, I have a number of top Jags. I love them, they're awesome. They don't even begin to compare to a fraction of an MS though. If you're thinking to compare an MS to an ICE car I think you're sadly on the wrong planet. I saw a special on the new M6 today and based on the stats it too is an antique before it's been sold...

Brian H | 24 March, 2013

The Model S design and concept were shown long before that. That was merely the final showing before orders were taken. Look up the first "Whitestar" designs.

jdesmo | 24 March, 2013

@noel.smyth, @jed-99aggie,
Yes, the XFS is 30% less to purchase, but since I need to lease the car, I should discuss this further.
After the test drive, I spoke at length with the store Mgr. regarding leasing. He said it's coming this summer, which is great. We shall see what they come up with. We had a small argument about the true operating costs of the MS. After discussing the issues of charging efficiency, vampire losses, possible 3G connectivity charges etc., he finally came around and agreed to my analysis. With my XFS averaging 16MPG (agressive driving and all, mostly local), 15,000mi/year, assuming $4.50/Gal, the high utility costs around here ($0.23/KWH), service costs and 100% need for the service ranger since I'm far from the service point and lack of loaners, the MS has the potential of being cheaper to operate by $2300/year. On that basis, I told him it would make sense to pay about $190/month more to lease the MS compared to my existing XFS. He was kind of happy to hear that.

shepski | 24 March, 2013

Brian H:
I find no evidence of any White Star designs prior to 2008 - when the XF was already on sale.

Yawn. I really don't care.

My only reason for even acknowledging the Jaguar part of this thread was in response to those who said things akin to "I wouldn't even turn around to look at a Jag," which I simply don't understand. The MS is a gorgeous car, and at least 80% of all Jags ever made have been gorgeous cars, and - more importantly - they are in the same vein aesthetically. Fine if you wouldn't want to own a Jag, think they're crap, or whatever, but I fail to understand how there can be a polarizing argument about styling, when they clearly display the same aesthetic sensibilities (granted, the MS also hints at Aston, Maserati, and - yes - Mazda).

American car or not, the MS is very much in the Anglo-sensual tradition (which is NOT to say that it's merely copying Jaguar). No way would a car like that ever come out of Germany.

jdesmo | 24 March, 2013

yes, Brian H comments on this are quite odd, but he has something there. The XF looks like a close cousin of............Aston Martin. Makes sense, as same guy designed the XF after leaving AM, where he penned the DB9.

vouteb | 24 March, 2013

+1 riceuguy

shepski | 24 March, 2013

And, as for who copied who, (MS or XF), that wasn't even my point - but I hopefully made my point in my previous post.

But, yeah, maybe Ian Callum and Franz Van Holzhausen showed each other some sketches over coffee back in 2006 or so. Whatever.

Nowadays, practically ever car design is derivative or inspired by something that came before - and there's nothing wrong with that. And the more I look at the MS, the more I think it looks almost as Italian as it does British.

Still hoping it proves to be as good as it seems, so I'll feel no guilt in convincing my mother to dump her 20-year-old Bentley for one.

Captain_Zap | 24 March, 2013

I almost bought a Jag before I stumbled onto the Model S.
It would have been my second Jag. The mileage rating that the Jag received, the price of premium gas here and the thought of not making annoying trips to the service station any more turned the tide to Tesla for me. Fewer expensive moving parts influenced me too. The fact that it was made in the USA made a difference.

I think you might be inderestimating the 70mph+ response. It is immediate and strong.

I'm a diffent type of buyer though. I would never consider a lease. I buy cars that I think will hold up to the test of time and I plan to get my money's worth out of them.

vouteb | 24 March, 2013

By the way. I have an XF and are now 2 years on the list for the right hand drive Sig in the UK

Costs are not an issue. Just quality (and parking sensors )

Tiebreaker | 24 March, 2013

Well, a comparison to a car from a guy that drives it daily for years, VS a 45 minute test drive. And so much ado on the forum. BTW I don't thinly it is bashing, just very subjective, as he already said. I think the test strive was also prejudiced, with many of the issues already known... but that is also part of the "subjective".

Tiebreaker | 24 March, 2013

thinly = think, strive = drive ... iPhone autocorrect, no edit

petero | 24 March, 2013

Jdesmo. IMO it was fair evaluation. Jaguars have always been one of the most beautiful cars on the road and their interiors among the richest, in the most traditional manner.

I suspect Jdesmo may reconsider if he had to purchase not lease his Jaguar. Imagine what the maintenance, servicing, and repairs on a 60 month+ Jag, BMW, MB, Audi is.

Alex K | 24 March, 2013

@ vouteb | MARCH 24, 2013: Costs are not an issue. Just quality (and parking sensors )

Since you're in the UK, you'll appreciate that there's a local aftermarket parking sensor manufacturer, so parking sensors should not deter you.

jdesmo | 24 March, 2013

I will absolutely consider leasing the MS also, if the numbers work out to be close to what I said above.
I'm following the MS on the boards closely for few months, and did go very much out of my way to test drive it.
I should try to find someone who owns one around here and is not on the 'Tesla defense team', and discuss further.

Brian H | 24 March, 2013

Here's some of the earliest Whitestar mention:
More refined designs, including the nose cone etc., appeared early in 2007.
At this point TM was still considering a NM factory site.

Brian H | 24 March, 2013

There's a lot of Franz' Mazda6 in the Model S, many think.

vouteb | 25 March, 2013

@Alex K:

That might invalidate the warranty!

I really expect Tesla to add it.
There have been so many comments about this in the Forum.

I would hate to bump/scratch thr front because Tedla doesn t offer it.