Body Roll P85+ versus 85

Body Roll P85+ versus 85

As I'm pondering my spec, here's something that has occurred to me...

We test-drove a maxed out P85+ and my wife, who's prone to car sickness, sat in the back. She said it was the only car she can ever remember sitting in the rear of and not feeling queasy - all this despite my blipping the throttle on and off throughout the trip.

Now, I'm wondering if I were to go for the standard 85 whether it wouldn't be as good in this respect, i.e. more body roll and suspension travel, leading to a greater probability of motion sickness.

Any ideas on this anyway?


pimp-boy | November 16, 2013

More body roll, more sickness... It's like riding a boat in the ocean. I would have gotten the P85+ if they offered it when I bought it.

lolachampcar | November 16, 2013

Neither the P or the P+ have appreciable body roll. The larger roll bars on the P+ will cause more "head snatch" which is that rocking affect you get when you go over a speed bump at an angle. The CoG on MS is so low that there really was no need for the larger bars.......

What I have found to be more of a factor for motion sickness in a car is the "immediacy" of the suspension. Put differently, the ability of the suspension to pass along information without sway or float. Your wife may want to ride in an air and coil spring MS. I think she will find the coil spring car preferable to the active air as the air car has a more disconnected feel. The stiffer bushings and dampers on the P+ package removes suspension compliance which makes up for a lot of the air floaty feeling. I find my wife's S85 preferable to my P+ in some respects simply because of the coil springs. I normally make the comparison to a C63 versus an E63; both are performance tuned by AMG but the air suspension on the E clearly gives the edge to the C.

I think it would be worth your time to drive both back to back. If you were in S. FL you could try mine.

shop | November 16, 2013

I found slightly less body roll on a loaner p85+ as compared to my air p85. The + is stiffer meaning the body returns back to neutral quicker. In general though, you have to be driving fast on twisty roads to feel the difference in body roll. You can feel the suspension difference on normal roads, but it isn't body roll difference, it is how soft or hard the suspension feels going over bumps and road imperfections.

david.baird | November 17, 2013

Thanks @shop

@lolachampcar - that's a very generous offer, but I'm in Belgium, so logistically a little tricky. On top of that we've just one Tesla sales point and service centre here in Belgium, so not a lot of choice.

I'm going to call them Monday morning, check the spec of the car I drove and see if they have anything else available.

I'm really leaning towards the standard 85 with air though:
a) it will be my family car
b) the roads in Belgium are utterly dreadful - bad surface and pot holes everywhere, even on the motorways (interstate)
c) I live in Brussels city and most driving will be around there
d) I'll be coming from a Volvo XC90, so any Tesla's going to feel like an F1 car by comparison :o)

So the lower part of my body wants a P+, the upper part says the standard...

shop | November 17, 2013

@david, in that case, I'd go with the P85. In all,honesty, I was expecting a bigger road hugging feel with the + than what I got when I drove it for a day. It was a bit of a let down. So for a family car on bad roads, get a P85 with 19" wheels. The 21" tires do make more noise, and they are more prone to blowouts on bad roads.

david.baird | November 17, 2013

@shop Probably the standard S, not performance. Personally I don't think the extra €13k for 1 second acceleration is worth it...

inverts | November 17, 2013

@David. Agree on money vs acceleration. I have an 85/air/19" for the very same reasons. Rather spend the 13K on other upgrades (leather seats, maybe cold pack in Belgium, interior lights, service package, HPWC etc.). My wife thinks the p/p+ is too much in term of acceleration, complains of whiplash when flooring it (based on a couple of loaners). The S85 is still plenty quick. I came from a Prius. No regrets after 7 months and 18k miles.

I think the less motion in the car may also be due to length of wheelbase. The bad thing about long wheel base is larger turning radius.

mathiasc | November 17, 2013

Swedish auto motor & sport tested both the P85 and the P85+. The wrote that the P85+'is way much better. It did beat the BMW M550xd and the Lwxus GS450h big time. Even in the sporty test the Tesla did it the BMW alive. They also noted the huge difference between the P85 and P85+. And the lousy allyear tires vs the real summertires. ;-) great to see the tesla winning big time vs those cars...

Suturecabre | November 17, 2013

There's no 21" all-season tires for the S....Believe me, I'd be all over that if such a thing existed (really don't want to deal with tire swap). Unless they were talking about the 19", but why compare a 19" P85 to a 21" P85+? I doubt the accuracy of that article, true the + is the superior handler, but don't forget that before it came out, everyone was heaping gobs of praise on the P85 for its handling, and I think it got .91g on the skidpad. Those are BMW numbers.

mathiasc | November 17, 2013

The P85 had 19" all season... Where did i say anything about 21" for the P85?

mathiasc | November 17, 2013

And please wake up! You dont put all season on a performance car!!! That says a lot about the accuracy of your opinion ;-) all season are bad in the summer and terrible if you have anything close to winter... The magazines test the configs they get from the carmaker. The article was one of the best tests i have read of the model s...

mathiasc | November 17, 2013

Pretty much every test I have seen praise the P85+ over the P85. The only people saying otherwise seem to be... Owners of the P85... Strange ;-)

Suturecabre | November 17, 2013

Whoa, down boy! I am not saying otherwise....I said that BEFORE the P85+ came out, reviews were saying the same things about P85 handling the way they talk about the P85+ now. How quickly we forget....Obviously the P85+ handles better, but you'd think the P85 rode like a Lincoln Town Car the way some people talk it about it now.

I know you didn't say it had 21", I only assumed it would be and was thrown off by it being all-season. I just don't understand why this review wouldn't test the P85 on 21" summer tires....Otherwise, how can they claim the P85+ is way better? If they're saying that the 19" all-seasons were what they were given, that's a big caveat. Someone should even test the P85 with the same staggered Michelin setup.

I test drove both the P85 and P85+, and had the P85+ for the weekend. It wasn't enough of a difference for me to put up with the harshness, and I will also be putting on 25,000 miles a year, most of it in traffic, on heavily cratered Northeast roads, and being tied to a single tire configuration does not make sense for my use.

jat | November 17, 2013

Here are a couple of pictures of my S85 w/ air suspension at the track so you can see what the body roll looks like.

This is with 20x9 BBS CH-R wheels and BFG g-Force Rivals on it. This is left turn up the hill heading to a right turn , and probably doing about 95 at this point and ~.5G lateral load.

This is an earlier photo with the stock 19" wheels and all-season Goodyears, coming at the end of a left-right-left sequence, doing about 45 and pulling about .6G there.

Other photos in those albums might be of interest to you as well. I had significantly less body roll around the corners than cars in front of me, such as M5s and Miatas.

I also drove a friend's P85 with 21" Michelin PSS a few laps at the same track, and the body roll seemed about the same (the tires weren't nearly as good as the Rivals though).

Pungoteague_Dave | November 17, 2013

Depends on why you want the car. I have an S85 and am buying a second Model S. My wife will get the S85 and I am buying a P85+. However, if we could have only one, it would DEFINITELY be an S85. For daily driving and long distance trips, the S85 is far more comfortable and much quieter than either P model. Standing alone, the S85 with air suspension is far faster and handles better than any Mercedes or BMW that I have driven. When you move up to the P, the car is noticeably faster, and adding + takes it to supercar territory. But the S85 is the best car in the world anyway in my opinion.

I have driven a P loaner for two weeks and a P+ loaner for over two weeks, both just over 2,000 miles. Both were fabulous, but tiring for longer trips. Tight suspensions and loud tires edge the car away from luxury category and into a high performance focus. The S85 is a high performance luxury car. The P85+ is full-on high performance. I am justifying replacing tires every few months because it seems like a cheaper supercar alternative and I will drive it a lot less than our S85. Having both makes it a bit more rational, but honestly, there's a bit of a war at home. Having driven the P85+ for a few hundred miles, my wife said "you are paying $32k more for the new P85+ compared to our S85? Let's see, it can't go as far, is loud and thumps over every highway expansion strp and hurts my back in an hour of driving. I would pay $32k more NOT to have the upgrade." She's an accountant and it's my car, so I am going ahead, but this does describe the dichotomy.

Pungoteague_Dave | November 17, 2013

Body roll on all Model S cars with air suspension is the same. The suspension settings and setup are the same. Handling is tighter in the + due to harder bushings and staggered wheel and tire width. It is more precise, but has no less roll.

shop | November 17, 2013

@PD. as usual, the wife is right :-)

lolachampcar | November 17, 2013

PD… I think you will find the stiffer bars on the P+ further limit roll but there is so little to start with this change may not be obvious.

I'm working on the theory that an S85 on coil springs lowered to "Standard" air heights and with P+ lower a-arms will be the hot set up. It should feel every bit as good as a P+ without the cost or drawbacks. You are also open to choose your rims and tires. I'm thinking 20" and PSS. It's a guess on my part but a reasonably educated one :)

lolachampcar | November 17, 2013

I second that.

Luclyluciano | November 17, 2013

@Mathiasc......[And please wake up! You dont put all season on a performance car!!! That says a lot about the accuracy of your opinion ;-) all season are bad in the summer and terrible if you have anything close to ]

I drive a performance AMG with similar specs to the P85 (510 ft lbs torque, 480 hp) with air suspension with Michelin a/s pilot sport 3. They are awesome. Stick like glue. Great wear. I see no need for dedicated tires.

gasnomo | November 17, 2013


I have been lobbying TM for the + option but without the requirement of the P. Obviously wouldn't be the same, but what I have lobbied for is a similar setup to the one you suggest above - coil springs with some of the + hardware changes. As I've stated in these and TMC forums...the S85 with such a setup would be an amazing car.

Having the S85 with air which having driven both coil versions I now regret, and in my very naive opinion, having driven the S/coil, P/coil, P/Air and the P+, I absolutely think the S and P with air have more body roll, I have a pretty hard turn going into my road from off a main road and like to take it rather quickly, and the body roll difference when driving each 5 seems demonstrably different, although maybe its just psychosomatic :).

I've taken a lot of flack on TMC forums for suggesting an S+, but again think given the S's already tremendous power such a suspension setup is certainly warranted and should be offered.

lolachampcar | November 17, 2013

If you have no interest in paying $10K for a P and the S acceleration off the line is good enough for you then I really do not see a reason to be forced to by P to get +.

WRT air, I tell people to go drive an E63 and a C63 if you really want to feel the difference (assuming an S with and without air are not available). I personally hate air. I love the way my wife's S85 on coil springs has such an immediate feel even though it is way higher and has way more tire and suspension bushing compliance in comparison to my P+. I just have to temper my comments as I tend to be an outlier on these types of issues. I also have no problem mixing and matching the parts I need to in an effort to achieve a goal. Most people have the good common sense to just leave well enough alone.

gasnomo | November 18, 2013

Lol. Here's the at that I look at it. I have no need for a car faster than my S, but I along with everyone else does have a need for a better handling car...

jat | November 18, 2013

@gasnomo - you can't really separate the two, as the only time you notice the handling margins are when you are driving fast anyway. The stiffer suspension won't help you when traction is limited anyway (like wet, snow, or ice), which is the other time you might care - in that case basically all that matters is the tires.

lspitzner | November 18, 2013, we upgraded from Volvo XC90 to the regular Tesla model (S85). You are not kidding, the acceleration difference is worlds apart, you will love it. Can't compare about 'sea sickness' though, my suggestion is take her for a spin in the regular S85. Even better, let her try. If you are in the Chicago area, let me know happy to hook up and let you try :)

christurbeville | November 18, 2013

Just got a P85+ for a loaner for my P85. I have the PS2s on the P85 as it was the time they ran out of contys. Just got back from Austin in my M5 (damm track wouldn't give me a NEMA50 and there's 5 unused at the RV pads, next time I'm taking it and just stealing the power!). So I have to second many of those who have driven both. Much more head snap from the stiffer bars but I do think it is tighter in the body sway in a slalom type maneuver. When hard accelerating out of a turn the traction grabs much firmer as the tighter bushings go straight from the road to your butt. If I had it to do over I'd buy the P85+ (Sorry lola I just don't like to tinker as much but I'd love to drive your coil creation someday!). It's not cheap but for me these cars are a crazy indulgence and I want to be just as crazy as I want. All that being said it's still not the M5 for suspension it is really close and for daily driving I prefer it as the car eats bumps much better. To the OP these cars really have little body roll from the technical definition but if you want to feel glued to the road the P85+ is it. If you want to go real fast in a straight line and feel slightly less attached to the road the P85. And for %99 of the non-crazy folks out there the S85 is much more than they'll need or want.

lolachampcar | November 18, 2013

yes and

I think you nailed all the points.

david.baird | November 18, 2013

Thanks everyone, lots of solid feedback here.

@Ispitzner - I guess before you got the S85 you were worried about the downgrade in luggage space? We've three kids (10, 10, 7) and whereas the middle row on the S85 is more spacious than the XC90, the boot space is obviously less, so wife's worried about vacations. I told her we'd hire and MPV if necessary...

I have good news, for me though! I visited the Brussels store today and discussed with the sales staff and it seems the car I drove is a P85 and not a P85+, so other than the lower profile tyres, the ride and handling should be vert similar to the S85 I'm about to order.

Delighted am I :-)

shop | November 18, 2013

Good stuff! I have found the luggage capcity of the Model S to be very good indeed. What usually happens to me is that I'm stuffing the back with all my junk, wondering where I'm going to be more stuff and then I remember, oh yeah, the frunk!

gasnomo | November 18, 2013

@jat...i'm going to respectfully disagree with you there...handling can be improved at all speeds, not just high speeds....

lolachampcar | November 18, 2013

Physics kinda holds you back from trying to get a 4500lb plus car with skinny tires to handle well. However, one can always work on the feel of the car which is where I think BMW really earns their Ultimate Driving Machine moniker. I'd like to think MS' feel can be improved a bit which is what keeps me at it.

xradr | November 18, 2013

I have a P85 and used a P85+ loaner for 4 or 5 days (800 miles driving). IMO, the + has slightly less roll and handles like it's on a rail.

Brian H | November 18, 2013

If using the jump seats, why leave the second row up? If you need space, there it is!

jat | November 19, 2013

@gasnomo - at 25mph, pretty much every car handles like it is on rails.

gasnomo | November 19, 2013

if all MS owners only drove at 25mph, sure, but given that such is not the case, your point is what? You are saying at regular highway speeds, which every MS will hit, handling can't be improved from the standard config? Really, that's your argument?

lolachampcar | November 19, 2013

beg to differ...
a pig is a pig is a pig, even at 25 mph :)

gasnomo | November 19, 2013

+1 @lola...well put as always

david.baird | November 20, 2013

Hey folks, just a small update on this, but I was at the Brussels Service Centre today and seems the car I test-drove was a P85 on 19" rims.

I must have been as blind as a bat not to see that!

Anyhow, it means the S85 I will order will handle the same, so the wife won't get sick :)