P85+ Loaner

P85+ Loaner

We have had our standard 85 Model S for 8 months now. I never did test drive the P85 before purchasing for fear that I might get sucked into the much more expensive model. No plus option at the time. I now have a P85+ loaner while I have a few minor issues addressed, and it definitely is like those first drives in my Model S all over again.

The Performance option is noticeably quicker than my standard. The Plus option is definitely noticeably more "sporty" on turns and general steering feel, also like the sport seating and Alcantara headliner.

All of it is nice and would like to have the, but. I am happy and still grinning on my daily commute in my S85. No regrets and now I no longer have to wonder if I made the right decision.

Options are great. And actually after this test drive, the breakout options in the new pricing seems worth it to get some of the options you want while leaving others behind.

Pungoteague_Dave | 24 August 2013

We are currently driving multi-coat red P85 loaner, as our car is in for service, which is taking a few days due to some upgrades. We have a fairly early production car (4,061), so it is getting the improved windshield defroster vents, revised rear seatbelt tensioners, antennae grounding, new rear axle nuts, and the ‘85’ badge on the back. The only ‘real’ repair is a rear door handle that had stopped working.

After driving the loaner, which was handed to us almost brand new, we are glad to not have the performance model. Putting aside the additional $10k, the 21” wheels and low-profile tires ride much harder, are noisier, and last half as long as our 19” tires. The handling is better, but given our daily driving habits, the tradeoff seems not worth the price 0 the 19's are bette rin almost every way.

However, the loaner car has even more unbelievable acceleration – Like billbaggy, it is like the first drives on our S85. It accelerates like hitting a warp speed button. But in real driving, it has slightly less range and since you can’t use anywhere near the acceleration in the S85, this seems a bit wasted to us – pretty much for people who need to have the fastest car on the block. I compare it to our ’04 MB SL500 – at the time you could spend double for essentially the same car as an AMG SL65, which came with a bigger fire-breathing engine, but other than being less comfortable on trips, it was essentially the same car as ours.

I admit to hovering a long time over the “P 85” box on the Model S order confirmation web page, but checked the standard “85” instead. The loaner experience confirms this decision.

One other thing on the P85 loaner is perplexing - it has a delete on the air suspension option. The window sticker in the glove box shows a $1,500 deduction - on a $102k car! Our car came in at $92k, and has the air suspensio9n. Driving both confirms that the air suspension is almost a must in our view - we have a bumpy access road to our farm and the air makes it a pleasure compared to any car or truck we have driven. The standard suspension on the loaner P85 catches all the bumps, seems floaty at speed, and does not lower at highway speeds, so range is reduced. Also, we have a big ramp-up into our driveway at our city house, and the loaner scrapes every time, something our S85 avoids by setting the suspension on "high". It is nice to have "free" use of the red '85 for a week or so, but it confirms our preference for the S85 in real life use.

The only thing we would change - the yacht floor upgrade that's in the loaner it nice. We would definitely NOT get the multi-coat red - we are constantly being challenged in the loaner by Joe racer-types, and cops seem to take more notice of this car compared to our pearl white car.

Brian H | 24 August 2013

Had any interesting copfrontations?

inverts | 24 August 2013

Billy, Pungo: Pretty much exactly my feelings on 85 vs 85P+. Have a blue/grey MS 85 19" air tech pano sound, and recently had a P+ loaner (with air) for a few days. Electronics noise from the inverter/motor is much greater in the P+, even at moderate accelerations. For my 72 mile commute on FW, there is no difference in ride comfort, possibly the P+ is a bit stiffer, so you get shaken a bit more.

Seats: can't tell the difference, except for the ugly red piping on the P+. The faux-suede roof is nicer than my plastic mesh of my 7K VIN (there was no interior roof option at the time). I'm sort of tempted of getting the faux-suede retrofitted, if it comes in grey to complement my grey seats. But then I am not sure I can justify this certainly steep expense on a pure frivolity.

Yacht floor: hmm, not my cup o'tea.

I noticed that the cup holders don't have the spring-loaded size adjusters anymore.

gasnomo | 25 August 2013

Most curious about your 'upgrades' list...may I ask

1) did Tesla contact you about this?
2) are you paying for it or is Tesla doing this under some service contract?
3) what are the benefits of: windshield defroster vents, revised rear seatbelt tensioners, antennae grounding, new rear axle nuts

I have an early model as well (vin 45xx), so I'm very curious.

Pungoteague_Dave | 25 August 2013


All of the upgrades I mentioned are under warranty - fixes to existing problems or changes that TM made midstream to all production Model S deliveries. Tesla did not contact me about any of these - I scheduled a Service Center visit and requested a Tesla loaner, so had to wait a week.

I would NOT expect them to add or upgrade new items that were not part of the original deal. For example, if there is a 4G or LTE wireless retrofit (doubtful), I would expect to pay for that.

The windshield defroster upgrade redirects and increases air to the windshield - we had fogging on rainy days and this is supposed to fix that.

The revised seat belt tensioner is a known issue - many early S deliveries had problems with sticky extension and retraction. Mine had this problem, so they are being replaced.

The antennae grounding is supposed to fix the car's notoriously poor radio reception. This change was made recently for production cars, and I learned about it on this forum, and asked for the fix.

The new rear axle nuts and washers issue is a safety concern - supposed to reduce wallowing or pulling to one side under acceleration (one direction) and deceleration (the other direction). This is service bulletin SB-12-31-001.

Note that we previously had a two door handle replacements and are now getting a third one - all on different doors. However, the replacements do NOT act like the fancy two-stage activation handles seen on the Norwegian you-tube review. So far they seem like the originals - hopefully with improved micro-switches that are more durable/reliable.

One thing I missed above - we are also getting the dreaded 12 volt battery problem upgrade during this visit. The day before the car went in we received the "car needs service - may not restart" message four times. All early cars need to have their 12-volt batteries replaced, and some people on the forum have received calls from TM about this, but we did not.

So no, TM is not being proactive in our case, but they are being responsive to our requests to have these fixes made - and it is pretty sweet to be driving a P85 for a week or so on their dime.

billbaggy | 25 August 2013

I brought mine in for a few minor fixes: dome light that was not working properly, I wore the stitching on the B-pillar, etc. TM is proactively replacing the 12V battery and replacing some clips in the windows. Mine is VIN P026##. They didn't say anything about the seat belt, defroster or bolts. But that may have to wait until I do the annual service.

I was going to wait to schedule that later this year. I drive about 20-25k miles a year and figured once a year should be good for the annual maintenance, rather than every 12.5k.

gasnomo | 26 August 2013

Pungoteague_Dave |
So I wrote ownership@ and copies your original four items. Given you are getting these done, I was hoping you would help me out a bit more. I received a call yesterday afternoon (on a Sunday, what car company does that other than Tesla :) ), and he noted the following

1. Re: the defroster upgrade he had not heard of - Dave, was there an SB number?
2. Selt Belt tensioners he said was a known problem and he created a case for me
3. Antenna grounding - he wasn't familiar with terminology, but when I mentioned I thought it fixed the poor reception he understood and created another case for me.
4. The Axel nuts he wasn't familiar with unless it had to do with the 're torquing' of the nuts to '175' from '135' this what you are referring to?

Thanks again for alerting me to this. Much appreciated.

Pungoteague_Dave | 26 August 2013


I don't know the service bulletin number, but the defroster update should be well known by anyone at a TM Service Center.

The axle nut issue isn't what you reference - I think that's the wheel lug nut torque specifications. I could be wrong about that. My understanding of the axle nut issue is that there was a problem with the nuts and washers on the early deliveries, and some came loose. There was a replacement program for both.

I just received a call from the Rockville Service Center. In addition to the problems outlined above, their call was to let me know that the error messages showed an anomaly in the main high voltage battery. Before they could do any of the other work they had to replace the battery (and the 12-volt battery). Next they are going to work on the loud hum problem. Some people have had their drive motor and inverter replaced for that issue.

I suspect that we are going to see a much larger warranty cost line item in TM's financials if this continues - my car has already had warranty work equaling about a third of its initial cost, and far more than TM's gross margin on selling us the car. I don't think we have a lemon, and our experience isn't particularly unusual. If everyone goes through this the TM business model may explode.

Remember the Steve Martin's eyeglass holder invention in the movie "The Jerk"?

3-G | 26 August 2013


Thanks for your updates - right on point with my experience this a.m. at the Bellevue WA service center where I was able to recount your SB updates and some other issues to the service folks. Very helpful to them. My P85 loaner is a 108K beauty, but to your point with no air suspension which after driving it for a few miles seemed like a glaring error of omission. My 85 (91K) with air is simply far superior and the 19" wheels provide a far more uniform ride than the 21s. The P85 is very zippy (I now understand why performance folks would love the car), but marginally so in normal driving conditions. Only thing to add is that they are sending the car to a body shop to realign the real hatch which has a noticeable gap on the left side larger than on the right. Appears to be a problem on some early production cars. Great service and attention to the issues - simply the best experience I have ever had beating out my BMW, Mercedes and Lexus service providers by yards.