Finally meet Model S

Finally meet Model S

I finally saw the Model S last week(that was 3 weeks ago; I had problem posting). The door handles were disable. When I pushed on the handles, they felt flimsy. I was not too thrill about the popout handles(I rather like the handles rotate into the doors; body color instead of chrome). The interior of car does not feel as luxurious as cars in this price range; it is more like cars in the $35000 range. As for the flashy now high tech 17" screen, most people will miss the dials & buttons(I am a technut, but I still prefer the dials & buttons which I can control without taking my eyes off the road). Unless it has voice control otherwise people will have tough time adjusting AC heating or maybe radio. The brochure I picked up was either not informative or outdated. It does not have complete details and features.

Volker.Berlin | June 13, 2012

A while ago, there was a very interesting (lengthy, but worthwhile) discussion about touch screen vs. physical knobs and dials:

kingkong | June 13, 2012

THANKS for the link Volker.Berlin

Brian H | June 13, 2012

use this string in any search engine query:

and you can search just this site for any topic or word(s). (The principle applies to any site you wish, of course).

vouteb | June 13, 2012

kingkong reads Russian?

JackA | June 13, 2012

I personally am more than happy to have touch screen technology for every aspect of accessory and vehicle control. I guess it might be like the Cadillac sales person said when we purchased our CTS-V; "I have a lot of older customers who just want a radio and power windows without all the extra stuff..." We are buying technology and want the highly effective human interface that touch screen provides.

JackA | June 13, 2012

Charlene and I are more than happy to have an interior with only two physical knobs or buttons. The touch screen interface is intuitive and offers the ability to customize the control settings. We are buying technology and expect that the most current human interface will be a part of that package. Tesla rocks!

Jason S | June 13, 2012

My thought has always been that I'll just get used to the new scheme. Each of my cars has had a different scheme with different button/knobs/sliders/etc and I've gotten used to them. I don't see why a touchscreen is any different.

Regarding the outdated stuff... yup. You are looking at a new car from a new car company, so their stuff isn't as complete as a Lexus or Nissan.

The next 6 months will be very interesting. Lots of folks new to electric cars specifically and luxury cars in general, including me, will be getting these cars and discovering our likes and dislikes. If all goes well you've got plenty of time to consider if you want to take the risk and sign up. There will be plenty of folks out there with cars.

Brian H | June 14, 2012

Yes, the feedback and PR and etc. from new S-drivers to pending owners and the public and reviewers is going to be very interesting! And crucial. Elon seems to be hyper-sensitive to that, and doesn't want to hear (justified) complaints coming back.

steven.maes | June 14, 2012

The interior of car does not feel as luxurious as cars in this price range; it is more like cars in the $35000 range. Kingkong

I have noticed other comments like this in other posts. I think that this can be a show stopper for me. We can discuss for ages about how the interior should look like in color or form. But if the quality of the interrior is that of an average priced car, I might be in two minds.

Creating expectations is one thing, buying is another ...

foto | June 14, 2012

+1 steven

jbherman | June 14, 2012

+1 steven
Comments like these (about the interior finish) have given me pause. For that reason, I have changed my course from taking a "leap of faith," ordering from what I've seen online, to requiring a test drive before finalizing my purchase.

Brian H | June 14, 2012

I wonder if Elon's engineer's preference for minimalism is coming back to bite him. He's not a good sample of the buying public's tastes!

jerry3 | June 14, 2012

Until we see real production cars, rather than alphas or betas, I don't believe that comments about the quality of the interior are more than speculation.

William13 | June 14, 2012

+1 speculation only

VolkerP | June 15, 2012

The interior of car does not feel as luxurious as cars in this price range; it is more like cars in the $35000 range. Kingkong

You ARE getting a $35,000 car. Plus $22,000 battery for the 40kWh Model S.

steven.maes | June 15, 2012

I totally agree that at this time, it's only speculating. Untill we have seen the car in person, there are no possible arguments that hold.
I only hope that the perfect Tesla marketing will not turn against them when the created expectations are not met. Again, this is a personal feeling that everyone has to decide for themself. I wish Tesla all the best and hope the interior will be comparable with the cars mentioned before.

We will see, but untill then, we can only be influenced by these forums :-)

Timo | June 15, 2012

My estimation for 40kWh battery pack is $16,000, so 41,000 for a car itself & whatever difference is between ICE engine, transmission and related gizmos - heavy duty wires and electric engine.

Volker.Berlin | June 15, 2012

Actually, looking at the BMW 5-series prices, I suspect that the battery+PEM is pretty much in the same ballpark as the BMW engine+transmission, with the higher capacity batteries comparing to the larger engines. There may still be a difference in the cost of the car without engine/transmission/battery/PEM, but I like to think that the remaining difference is close to negligible.

Brian H | June 15, 2012

TM claims to have considerable cost benefits resulting from not having to tow a long chain of suppliers and contractors for components it makes in-house -- which is as many as possible. Whether that additional slack shows up entirely in (the needed) gross profit margin, or permits upgrading of interior elements, I have no idea.

kingkong | June 15, 2012

Sorry Everyone. Sorry Tesla. This post is my first impression of the car. It was not meant to discourage anyone. As other posts mentioned the betas might differ from actual production. The battery and R&D account for most of the price tag. All being said if I have the money I would still buy this over the ICE

BYT | June 15, 2012

Don't forget to take into account the savings in gas over the life of the car and what you save in maintenance as they all reflect on TCO when you factor in ROI. Makes the Model S look much better IMHO and that's no TMI!

Designtime | June 15, 2012

Right now I am still in the "buy" category, but I strongly believe that anyone who expects major changes in quality or design of the interior on the production models is setting themselves up for disappointment.

kingkong | June 15, 2012

Below is a description of the Model S I saw in Toronto. This is I believe the top of the line. I doubt there will be dramatical quality improvement in the production car.

The Beta version is a 90% production intent prototype of the Model S. Guests will be able to sit in the vehicle while viewing a brief demonstration of the 17" touchscreen.

Model S Display Specifications:

Model S Signature Series
Signature Red Paint Color
Black Signature Nappa Leather Interior
Lacewood Decor

kperl1 | June 24, 2012

I also finally had a hands on for the first time. Unfortunately I gotta agree. It feels cheap and thrown together. Particularly the finish and seating areas. Really the whole interior ... minus the touch screen ... feels like a 20-30K car. The wood paneling looked really awful.

For me - I can't pull the trigger on my signature - b/c of that.

BYT | June 24, 2012

@kperl1, you have to respect all opinions and I thank you for yours. Not everyone is going to be head over heals for the car. Today's test drive for me will help me decide a bunch of things as well.

Aside from the interior, how did you feel about the drive?

Thanks again kperl1!

Steve841 | June 24, 2012

You all have to remember that you were looking at Beta prototypes ...

The later Beta here locally actually had black duct tape around the flooring area ... I am sure we ALL know that is due to prototype status right?

Slindell | June 24, 2012

Even the cars being test-driven are not production cars. I asked George B that exact question, and he said they were the cars made just before the cars delivered on 22-June. They are 99%, but not total production versions.

BYT | June 24, 2012

@kperl1, Wait? Are you talking about the event in Fremont, CA this weekend or seeing the cars elsewhere?

BYT | June 24, 2012

@Slindell, good to know as I went in assuming what I will drive today will be what we get exactly in a few months. I know the feel for the drive will be the same and all that, I will assume most of the interior as well, 99% is pretty darn tootin' close. :)

kperl1 | June 24, 2012

@everyone b/t my post and this one :).

I did not drive it (as I couldn't). I currently have my agreement and live in Atlanta. I was in south florida so I went to Tesla @Dania beach. I sat in the car, while on and played around with it. I sat in all the seats etc. I currently have a lexus ls and certainly would not expect the Model S to be that comfortable - but I do think it is fair to compare to Jag or Panamera - which are similar price.

Jason S | June 24, 2012

I simply must quote cosmomusic from the 'private' marked thread re: test drives here. I talked with Cosmo before his drive (I'd finished mine and was taking pictures of the cars). He told me he drives a Lexus... I didn't make note of it, but he might've said Lexus LS.

Today I went to Heaven and am alive to talk about it. Never in my wildest dream could I have imagined that any ground transportation could be so awesome in it's performance and beauty. I have driven all the usual suspects and this was an out of body experience driving Model S.

The car responds immediately to acceleration, the low center of gravity gives a sense of connection to the road, with the exhileration of flight. The Model S drives around corners without any sense of anxiety or trepidation at speed of up to 70 MPH. The car seems to know where the road leads with the simple touch of the steering wheel, which feels to me like a long time friend. Model S can be driven just with the accelerator, brakes is purely optional - an amazing experience.

The only concern I had, is how long do I have to wait for mine?

I drove one of the Performance models. The drive is amazing. The interior is sufficient for the level, I think. It is nicer than any car I've ever owned or been in, but that isn't a really high bar. I found the driver seat very comfortable with plenty of adjustments.

I don't drive a Lexus, but Cosmo does and he didn't mention the interior being inferior.

kperl1 | June 24, 2012

Glad to hear that people are saying good things about the test drive. My point is that it is probably not fair to compare the comfort to a much larger car and the LS is pretty darn big.

Jason S | June 24, 2012

The seats are comfortable, I can say that with certainty. There is plenty of room, although headroom in the back may be a problem for taller folks. The drive characteristics are what you make of them; if you drive sporty, you get sporty. If you drive sedately, you get that too.

You don't get a half dozen storage bins for random things. You don't get a smoker's car either. The beverage holders are oddly placed and there aren't map pockets behind the seats or in the doors.

The lack of interior storage features is something they are working on, but isn't here yet. If you decide to pass on your Signature reservation you may still want to delay for a car delivered sometime next year. A version 2.0 or so with the interior features you want.

If at all possible, if you can delay your final decision for a week or two, you might want to do that. The new interior designs should have some pictures and discussions very soon, from what I can tell from the Blog entries.

Volker.Berlin | June 25, 2012

My point is that it is probably not fair to compare the comfort to a much larger car and the LS is pretty darn big.

Overall Length: 203.9 in / 196.0 in
Width: 73.8 in / 77.3 in
Height: 58.1 in / 56.5 in
Wheelbase: 121.7 in / 116.5 in
Headroom front: 38.0 in / 38.8 in(!)
Headromm rear: 37.9 in / 35.3 in(!)
Trunk Capacity: 18.0 cu ft / 31.6 cu ft(!)

Now, which is the Lexus LS and with is the Tesla Model S? ;-)

Yes, the LS has larger outer dimensions and in particular the rear headroom in the Model S has been compromised in favor of an aerodynamic exterior, see other thread. Other than that, the Model S isn't smallish by any means, it seams to play in pretty much the same league as the LS.

Volker.Berlin | June 25, 2012

BTW, the extents of the Model S have been discussed in some detail here:

Volker.Berlin | June 25, 2012

Here is the thread that discusses the Model S' rear headroom:

kperl1 | July 1, 2012

@Jason and Volker
Thanks for the additional info.
I do still plan to test drive. And I don't mean to say it is not comfortable - but again IMHO it is not as comfortable as an LS or similar Jaguar or Porsche Panamera. 100K buys a lot of car :)

Where as those cars have everything sort of filled in around the driver... the model s just didn't feel that way to me. Rather it looked and felt like a few things were put it the car to finish it. As others have said though - the minor changes b/t Beta and production may make a difference here.

Sudre_ | July 1, 2012

I looked up the Porsche Panamera and it starts at $111,000. More than a fully loaded Model S performance. I would hope that car was better.

The Jaguar XKR-S with slightly better 0-60 starts at $132,000. Again I certainly hope it is more car at that price. It cost a lot more than the Model S performance fully loaded.
The XKR which is a little slower in the 0-60 than the Model S performance and is about $98k.
The XJL starts at a little over 80K and goes all the way up to 150K.

More expensive cars will have more features I am sure. Tesla will get there and one day have cars with all the features of those cars you mentioned. Tesla is trying to be the best car in it's class. I'd say they have done a great job for their first Sedan. Things can only get better.

Brian H | July 1, 2012

In the latest version of "the best car" quote by Elon, there was a qualifier I hadn't heard before, something like, "in all the important dimensions, all the ways that matter." I think performance, safety, capacity, and such were specified.

kperl1 | July 4, 2012

@sudre_ Not sure how you get 111... but to be sure options off both those cars (jag and porsche) can get expensive. Anyway the Panamera with everything I want (including the highest cost premium package) is more like 90K so probably 100K with tax etc... My Sig prequote is 111K (which is basically a regular signature model with the Panoramic roof). All of that to say - IMHO it is a fair comparison in this sense.

BYT | July 4, 2012

On those cars, don't forget the Model S ROI savings in both gas and service costs!

kingkong | July 5, 2012


sorry to be a pess service cost is not known. Here is what happen to me when I went green two years ago. I bought the Ariens AMP electric mower for $1999; last summer, I couldn't start; batteries were replaced under warrantee; three month ago, the cutting deck stops after 5-10 seconds. replaced batteries again it cost me $1160. Ariens just ignored my emails.

all that said if I have the money I would still go for a model S.

Timo | July 5, 2012

Battery has a very good warranty. Other parts...well ICE car has all those too + that ICE and complex transmission. On average any BEV will have a lot less to fix or maintain than any ICE, so service costs should be quite a bit smaller. BEV doesn't even have oils to change.

I wonder though how much it would cost to replace that touchscreen. It is major "single point of failure", and it can't be very cheap (relatively speaking). What kind of warranty it gets? Does anybody know?

Sudre_ | July 5, 2012


If you claim you are buying a Sig performance (design studio cost fully loaded $101,550) then you are looking at the wrong Panamera. There are NO Panameras that I can find with a 0-60 of 4.4 that cost that little. You need to compare apples to apples. Start by dropping the Signature pricing altogether because that is mainly (as discussed at great length) for early delivery and badging. How much does it cost to get your Panamera earlier than the guy that ordered one 2 years before you?

Panamera base car 75K with 0-60 of 6sec
Model S 60KW fully 70K with 0-60 of 5.9sec (minus rear seats)

Panamera S base car 91K with 0-60 of 5.2
Model S Per fully loaded 93K 0-60 of 4.4 (minus rear seats)

Panamera 4 base car 80K with 0-60 of 5.8sec
Model S 85KW fully loaded 90K 0-60 of 5.6 (minus rear seats)

Panamera 4S base car 96K with 0-60 of 4.8sec
Model S Perf fully loaded 93K 0-60 of 4.4 (minus rear seats)

So I repeat all the Panameras cost more except the Panamera S version but the 0-60 is much slower than the comparable Model S.
If you don't want to spend more money on the Model S for badging then don't. But don't compare the Signature to a non signature Panamera.

I choose the base priced 111K Panamera GTS because it was the only one with similar HP and performance to your Model S Performance Signature. That is without taxes and fees on all cars.

If you can make a better Apples to Apples comparison go for it.

kperl1 | July 8, 2012

I had a sig reservation and opted for the regular (not performance) Model S - I got my prequote @ 107 / 99 BEFORE tax and the ONLY option I got was the panoramic roof. Did you get your Tesla quote yet?

I am comparing that to a regular (i.e. V6 panamera). That said... the Model S is still technically 1-2 tenth of a second faster.

You start buying the turbo and you are definitely spending some serious cash. Though the 4 only adds like 2-3 grand.

I have no idea how much it cost to buy it early. I am looking NOW :) But I take your point