First impression of a P85+ from a P85 owner

First impression of a P85+ from a P85 owner

I just dropped my P85 off at the service center to have my 12.5k mile service done. Since my car will be there all day, I was given a P85+ loaner. After a 30+ mile drive home, both city and freeway driving, I am in awe of the difference between the two performance models. In my opinion, the P85+ is what the P85 should have been. Mind you, I'm not complaining.. I LOVE my P85. What I mean is, the P is for performance. People buying a performance vehicle expect the experience of what the P85+ delivers. By comparison, the P85 does not deserve the P. Rather, it should be something like F85 or L85 (Fast or Luxury), and the P85+ should just be a P85. The P85+ truly does PERFORM!

jai9001 | September 30, 2013

Can you be more specific?

What was the noticable difference?

ramtaz | September 30, 2013

I drove a P85+ loaner for one day, it was a ROCKET!! very quick, and smooth ride.
I picked up my (limited) 60 , not as quick , but very smooth solid ride and had all the same interior
features(except for the upgraded trim and seats.)
If I had the spare $50K, I am not sure I would buy the P85+. I am very thrilled with my 60.

DigitalSavant | September 30, 2013

Apologies.. you're right. Details might help!

You'll probably see quite a few comments as to the "floatiness" of the P85. It has a tendency to feel disconnected from the road at a high rate of acceleration, especially when accelerating out of a turn or speeding up to pass cars on the freeway. This disconnected experience makes it feel as though it would be easy to lose control. Granted, this is only in more extreme conditions and not felt when driving like an adult. The P85+ feels like it is stuck to the road, no matter how you accelerate, down the straight-away or coming out of a turn. It just feels amazing.

Hills | September 30, 2013

I have owned a regular 85 for 10 months. In August and September, I had the pleasure of driving two separate brand new P85+ cars for a combined 10 days and 600 miles. My opinions reflect my personal preferences.

The biggest difference between the P85+ and the regular 85 is handling. I thought my 85 handled very well. The + takes the handling to another level. It is tight, prcise, superb at cornering. Yes, I took both cars to mountain roads to check them out. On one drive I had my son and wife with me. My son loved the drive, my wife freaked and demanded to be dropped off:)

I have driven a P85 also, but not for so many miles. To me, the P85 is just faster, while the + truly improved the handling. The 85 is plenty fast enough for me. In the past 10 months, I've only floored my own car twice, and both times just to show off the capability to friends. I've never needed to floor the car in regular driving. In freeway driving, I've been able to change lane or pass without ever needing to floor the pedal.

Would I buy a P85 or P85+? No. The main reasons are the 21" tires. I know this is a controversial topic. To me, both the P85 and the P85+ virtually demand better tires than the stock 85. However, both P85+ cars were materially more noisy than my own car, and quiet is ultra important tome. Then, there are all the other disdvantages of the 21" such as blow-out potential and fast tire wear. The 21" rims are also far easier to scratch.

So I enjoyed my 10 days with P85+s, but for everyday driving, the regular 85 is more than good enough for me. Now, if Tesla offered a wider 19" tire/rim...I might change my mind.

DigitalSavant | September 30, 2013

@Hills - those are all great and valid observations. Honestly, for the way I normally drive, a standard 85 would also suit my needs. Let's be honest - nobody NEEDS a performance vehicle. And everything said about the 21" wheels is true. I've been considering switching to 19" wheels, just to cut down on road noise. The freeways here in Washington, at least near where I live, are terribly rough and noisy. I purchased the P85 for the added fun factor, and I have not been disappointed. After driving the P85+, I couldn't help but feel that it was a true representation of a what is to be expected from performance vehicle. My P85 is just fast.

Hills | September 30, 2013

From 60 to 85 to P85, fast, faster, really fast.
Handling from reguar to P85+: from really good to amazing.
It depends on what someone "wants", not need.

phat78boy | September 30, 2013

Has anyone put 19" on a P85+? I would love to hear how much performance is affected by this simple change alone.

SCCRENDO | September 30, 2013

I have a fully loaded S85 but got a P85+ loaner for the day during my 12500 mile service. Feels a lot lighter (was told its the suspension) and acceleration was definitely quicker. Didn't have navigation or xm radio. If budgets were unlimited its great but frankly for most day to day driving my S85 is more than good enough. Would rather put the extra cash into upgrades. If you are gonna pay extra for the P85+ why stint on the tires. For me though I don't want to replace tires every 10000 miles,

DigitalSavant | September 30, 2013

I believe 19" on a P85+ would fare fine. To my knowledge and current brief experience, the only difference between the P85 and P85+ is the suspension. The P85+ is better equipped to keep the car feeling glued to the road during rapid acceleration. I haven't noticed anything different in terms of quickness, and the P85+ doesn't feel any lighter on the road than my P85. The + just handles better.

carlk | September 30, 2013

You have just confirmed many others have said. There should be only two models S85 and P85+. Well maybe P85 for people who for whatever reasons absolutely don't want the 21" rim.

shop | September 30, 2013

Presumably the 21" high performance tires (read wider and stickier) help the P85+ give the road gripping feel...

DigitalSavant | September 30, 2013

Ahh..that's right. I forgot the P85+ has wider tires than the P85.

Hills | October 1, 2013

Much more noisy with those wide low profile tires. Does anyone care! The noise is constant. The need for handling, 1% of the time?

skymaster | October 1, 2013

I Bought an extra set of 19" wheels & tires for my P85+. I will install them as soon as the snow flies. I may never put the 21" wheels back on.

lloyds | October 1, 2013

I agree. The test drive @ the factory really solidified my P85+ purchase. Never looked back

bent | October 2, 2013

carlk wrote:
"(…) There should be only two models S85 and P85+."

I think this was essentially what Elon said back when the P85+ was introduced (or at least, it what was I heard him saying): having compared the P85 to the best of the competition they decided the car wasn't actually quite there yet and so they finally went that last mile to do it properly and ended up with the P85+.

"Well maybe P85 for people who for whatever reasons absolutely don't want the 21" rim."

Their insistence on making P85+ 21" only is, while probably a mark of the perfection they expect from it, the only real reason I can see for having a separate P85 model.

I don't know why they can't do the suspension improvements and such though also for the P85. Is there reason to believe that a P85+ without the 21" rims is actually worse than the stock P85?

Captain_Zap | October 5, 2013

I really enjoyed the steering response in the P85+ when I drove it.

I wonder if that steering response could be attained via partial retrofit of the P85+ package, or, would I need the full meal deal to get the same effect?

NomoDinos | October 5, 2013

Bent - sorry I can't seem to find the explanation by lolachampcar back in July or so, but I believe it was because the stiffer bushings required wider (+20 mm) rear tires. I'm guessing that the 21" setup could be replaced with wider 19" rear tires? Dunno.

NomoDinos | October 5, 2013

Okay, I went straight to the source, and lolachampcar was kind enough to reiterate the following:

"The Tesla engineers stiffened the rear of MS by using less compliant bushings while leaving the front of the car alone. Less compliance in the rear means less mechanical grip which reduced "oversteer margin". They made up for the reduction in margin by increasing the size of the rear rims and tires. They made up for the stiffer bushings by adding a bit more rubber. You can do the EXACT same thing by using similarly sized staggered 19s.

From my perspective, street cars are designed with a ton of understeer or "push" which is understandable but annoying. The thought process is that when people get into trouble, they tend to lift off the throttle (a natural response). If the front tires are giving up first, lifting off the throttle reduces energy and transfers weight to the front wheels allowing them to grip and the car to turn. If the back gave up first, the natural tendency to lift off the throttle would transfer weight to the front making the front tires work better further aggravating the over steer. I think I would prefer the same tires all the way around on my P+ for a more neutral car and the ability to rotate fore and aft as I really do not need understeer to save my bacon."

So sounds like staggered 19's would work just fine. I'm thinking they wanted to limit the variations needed early on, and offering regular 19's, 21's, staggered 21's, and then an additional 19 staggered set would be additional cost for them to have to service/stock/display.

I'm having second (okay, like twentieth) thoughts about doing the P85+, ditching the 21's and then getting staggered 19's.

shop | November 3, 2013

And when you say "staggered 19's" do you mean wider 19s in the back and regular 19" wheels in the front?