Car and Driver review

Car and Driver review

One of the most objective Tesla S reviews I've seen so far:

Michael23 | October 5, 2012

Yeah except the performance is way off and says a bmw6 and Audi a7 are faster. Otherwise solid video!

stephen.kamichik | October 5, 2012

I love the shots of the model S. It really is a beautiful car.

JakeP | October 5, 2012

And the comments that it will never work for interstate travel. Superchargers, anyone? I almost wonder if this review was filmed before the announcement. Or maybe they are making that statement based on the fact that the Supercharger network is not yet a reality (outside of California).

sergiyz | October 5, 2012

"this is the first electric car I'd consider purchasing" from a gearhead is a high enough praise for me.
This is exactly what I felt once I had a chance to drive the car.
His comments about pricing and options are fair too.

Sudre_ | October 5, 2012

The next thing you know Jeromy from Top Gear will be giving this car a fair review. Someone will need to have an ambulance on standby because of the shock I will be in.

I can't wait to get mine.

sergiyz | October 5, 2012

Top gear folks believe all batteries are rubbish. They (or at least James) are praising fuel cell vehicles that don't really exist other than in labs at this point.
Btw I think the roadster review by Clarkson was very positive, I've seen and heard much worse about ICE cars.
He's nothing like say John Peterson :)

Superliner | October 5, 2012

@ sergiyz ... Well there is the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell electric which "I believe" is still offered and on the road. Granted NOT in significant numbers but there are / were? a few running around.

Superliner | October 5, 2012

@ sergiyz "again" lol!! Hondas FCX Clarity is available in California ONLY $600.00 mo closed end lease "no purchase option" limited availability according to their website. Probably be impossible to get one though.

Timo | October 6, 2012

@sergiyz, you wouldn't say they gave Roadster a positive review if you would know how much they lied during that mockery of review. For example there was never a time when both of the two cars they had were in non-drivable condition, and never ever they needed a push (neither car never died on road) just to mention two of that complete failure of review.

The whole episode was run from script they had made before even getting the cars in their hands, the end comment "it just doesn't work in real life" was in that script.

TG is a joke. It is not car show, it is a wannabe sitcom which happens run around cars.

prash.saka | October 6, 2012

1:49 ... it literally leaves others in the dust.

Brian H | October 6, 2012

The title, btw, is a play on the expression, "Give someone the gears", which is about the same as "wind someone up" which is about the same as get someone excited or agitated with a load of BS.

sergiyz | October 6, 2012


I've watched that episode and the whole Tesla PR disaster that followed ending with TG winning in court earlier this year.
I recommend you to read their opinion that they've published on their web site.
It's always good to hear both sides of the story:
I obviously read Tesla's opinion and their lawsuit.
I still think this was one of the biggest PR mistakes Tesla ever made, and they made quite a few, even recently.
TG is the most watched car show in the world (350mln viewers), you can't discount it as an irrelevant sitcom.
And yes, it's a show, not a documentary, although as I said I still believe the review was positive by TG standards :)

Brian H | October 6, 2012

Au contraire. "Any publicity is good publicity -- as long as they spell your name right."
Anyone who already knew of Tesla would get their point right away.
Anyone who didn't know of Tesla would probably be somewhat intrigued, and certainly then view the staged breakdown differently.

The judgment just confirmed this was acceptable entertainment. TM gained from both the show and lawsuit.

sergiyz | October 6, 2012

I guess you could look at it this way too, though I prefer positive publicity over lawsuits and scandals.

Just to demonstrate why I think the roadster review was positive, watch this classic Clarkson piece on Lamborghini:

Timo | October 6, 2012

@sergiyz, I'm not interested about their opinion. I know they lied. A lot in fact in that show, more than usual. That pissed me off big time. Tesla lose the lawsuit because they could not prove that there was any damage done IE. there were less cars sold in UK because of that show. Pretty hard to prove that. Not because TG was right, but because there was no proof that any damage was done.

It might have been positive in TG standards for BEV. They didn't lie about the acceleration. That's about the only positive and true thing they did say about the car. Normal would have been to made that to fail somehow, preferably in some "funny" way, like running a monster truck over it or something.

You are correct that TG is not irrelevant, and that's what's wrong in it. Way too many people take it seriously, especially those "reviews" they give about cars, even that they are pure BS. They can't even drive the cars properly, only one that can is Stig (whoever that is at that time), and Stig can't say anything.

sergiyz | October 6, 2012

Wow, you could have stopped after "I'm not interested in their opinion"', since this is where I've stopped reading.
Blindly believing something one side says without questioning it is a religion.

Timo | October 6, 2012

I'm not "blindly believing". I did read about that a lot. Opinions don't interest me, what really happened does. I know a lot about what happened behind the scenes in that show. For example the "broken brakes" was in reality fuse blown from brake booster. Brakes still work, you just needed to push them a bit harder. That one was bad luck for Tesla. "motor overheating" didn't happen, and car didn't stop. Power was lowered by onboard computer in order to prevent that from happening. The car pushed was just a show, both cars could be driven at all times, neither run out of charge in that show.

Then there were the indirect misinformation, like the pointing out the standard wall plug and saying that it takes days to fully recharge the car. No faster options were mentioned. Every bad thing that they could find was exaggerated.

Nowhere in that presentation they even smiled like "it is supposed to be a joke". No indications whatsoever that majority of what happened was complete BS. Quite opposite in fact. And soon after the scripted "in real world it just doesn't work" -comment we go to watch HFC car that gets high praises even that the car they were showing was impracticality incarnate.

Whole show in fact feels like it was scripted to make that HFC car look better.

BTW. did you know that then Stig did like the Roadster, the Stig that is now a permanent member of Fifth Gear -show? He didn't like one bit how the car was presented there, and I don't wonder why.

sergiyz | October 6, 2012

Please just read the article above, it's not that long and it's addressing a lot of points you're talking about, including blown fuse that didn't constitute broken breaks. In my book it did, same as in Tesla's book which is why they took it back to the garage.

"b) Our primary reasoning behind the verdict had nothing to do with how the Tesla performed; our conclusion was based mainly on the fact that it costs three times more than the petrol sports car upon which it’s based. It takes a long time to recharge, so you can’t use it as easily for the carefree motoring journeys that are a prerequisite of sports car driving. You can actually reach that conclusion without driving the car.
As it happens, when it did come to the subjective area of how the car drove on the track, we were full of praise for its performance and handling."

TikiMan | October 6, 2012

Overall a good video review, however, I really wish these reviewers would make the statement about WHY someone would choose to drive a Model S, over a luxury ICE V-8... NO GAS EVER REQUIRED!!!!

I am sure most car reviewers tend to really be careful to not lose their 'bread and butter' big ICE benefactors, however, with gasoline at an ALL TIME HIGH $$$ it needs to be part of the conversation regardless, as they can not deny the MAIN difference is the MODEL S saves you money in the long run, where by it's competation is a expensive mistress with a high-rise apartment, and an affection for Prada, Gucci, and De Beers!

sergiyz | October 6, 2012

It's a very good point.
I guess they don't make it partially because it's obvious, but I wish they would put some numbers behind it.
I expect to pay at least three times less to drive a Tesla S Performance than its ICE peers without sacrificing performance or comfort (with AC on and with a heavy foot).
This number may improve even more as gas prices go up.

vouteb | October 6, 2012

What size wheels are they in the review?

nickjhowe | October 6, 2012

@vouteb - 21"

dbbtex | October 6, 2012

Very good review. He mentioned spending hours in the car. We're starting to get to 'real' or 'normal' reviews. Comparison tests will be next. Audi A7 v. Tesla Model S will be good.

walla2 | October 6, 2012

I thought the review was very favorable. He has "gas" man biases but was the "first electric car he would consider owning." Video clips of the car moving are amazing. His opinion of the interior speaks well about the improvements from the finish concerns that popped up with the Get Amp'd tour. Major misser were the above mentioned Supercharger omission, and he ranks it with inferior cars with higher costs of ownership and lesser performance.

Timo | October 6, 2012

@sergiyz, so they based their conclusion (before cars were driven) to car it is based on and their relative costs. Not the car itself. They didn't even research enough to know that while car glider is build on Lotus factory it most definitely is not Lotus, it just looks like one.

Roadster did beat in their scoreboard a huge list of cars that were more expensive than it was so that statement it just bullshit, just like everything else was in that show. Pre-scripted statement that they just had to say, true or not.

This is probably true for all of their car "reviews", they do a quick peek about what the car is about, script the show and play it based on that script even if the car does give them some surprise. If they like the car they leave all negatives out of the show, if they don't like it, they leave all the good stuff out of the show.

Roadster review is not the worst they have made, there are several way way worse and far more ugly examples of how they skew the results to match their predetermined opinion about the car. Just use google.

Enough of this, lets go back to topic.

David M. | October 7, 2012

Yeah, he must have recorded the video before the Supercharger announcement. That was a significant omission. Also, no mention of base pricing.

vouteb | October 7, 2012

nickjhowe: Thanks!

cerjor | October 8, 2012

I noticed he mentioned marginal rear head room, lack of center console, lack of other interior storage, no fold down divider in back seat and no auto seat positioning. These are the same things we have been talking about for the last year.