I had a test drive on Jan. 26th. 2013 in Munich Germany. It was a Performace model. The result was mixed. I own a Mercedes CLS 350 CGI (300hp no Diesel). Please refer to this model when you judge my ratings.
Absolute Premium Performance!
Really fast reaction on the accelerator pedal.
Up to date air suspension.
Precise power steering (tight option).
Best computer screen I ever saw: My Mercedes has the 'big' (and expensive) navigation screen which looks like a tenth of the size of the Tesla.
Seats with no adjustable head rests. In the front just acceptable - in the back less than mediocre.
Too few storage places in the front for glasses, papers, tissues, cups, iPad, etc.
Far too few choices in wood colors. No warm, brown colors.
Side mirrors show a too small angle of the traffic behind.
Interior Feeling/Finish on an upper middle class level.
The offered all year tires are not acceptable for the given torque.
The back cover of the trunk looks like a lid for the iPad. As thin but as expensive. 300 EUR for a three fold plastic? You're kidding ...
The machinery and technique behind the car is absolute 1st class and superior to every car I drove in the past (BMW750i, Lexus GS 430). Accelerating, handling, braking - just perfect.
The outside of the car is also wonderful. Good gap tolerances between body parts. Perfect lacquer. And the design resembles the great grand tourisme like Maserati. I like this form (see the Mercedes from above)
Driving and seeing the car from the outside are the big pros of this car.
But as soon, as you open the door, you feel the missing - well - massiveness. I can not really find the words. The door is light. The door handle is light as well. The opening and closing sound is thin. The seat feels tiny and light as well. Head rests are tiny - there is a feeling of an unsafe car.
Sitting behind the wheel lets you forget all this lightness. The Wheel is thick and handy. The contact to the street very good. But as soon as you switch into the 'drive' gear (position), there is again this light-joystick feeling. The passengers in the back neither have the distraction by the big screen nor the steering wheel. They start touching the surrounding and there is quite nothing. No upper class feeling, no comfort transportation, far too small head rests, too few storage places.
Ok - energy is a problem in this car. And if you are speeding this vehicle (as we always do in Germany), you will end up with 250km/150mls range for the 85kWh model. Therefore the interior has to be light. But have to and getting used to are two sides of a medal.
Then you begin to compare the asked price with the 'value' you get in return. My Mercedes costs 90kEUR including a top premium inside. The Tesla 85kWh (no Premium) will cost 95kEUR (128k$). Germany is a high price country - especially if you look at cars. But you receive not only good motors and drive trains - but also a luxury interior. I am not quite sure, if the high price calculation of Tesla will succeed. Asking for this price will be one thing - getting it a second - but the real question is: Will people buy a second one, if you are not able to resell the old one for a good price, if the first competitors ask for less.