I'm not so sure....

I'm not so sure....

Okay, we have a deposit on the performance model S. After a few weeks - I'm not so sure.

With all the options - we are looking at $95K. My daily driver is a 10 BMW M5 - so I thought finally an American car worth looking at. But at $95K, they are missing the mark. Sure the biggest difference is gas or no gas. However, I can buy a brand new fully loaded M5 for the same amount of cash. I'm sure some of you will point out that the Telsa performance S model beat my M5 in a 1/4 mile. But, most americans think in straight lines. I am more design/performance oriented type of driver, thats why I have been driving a "driver's car" since 1984 - BMWs. Also my wife and I own several Porsches - so we thought that the Tesla might be a cool alternative. But..........for the same amount of money it buys the following additional items in a new M5
1) Heads up display
2) Infrared sensors (night vision)
3) Voice control
4) Heated rear seats
5) Vented front and rear seats
6) More leather choices for the interior
7) Black alcantara head liner
8) Full leather (and I mean full leather)
9) Full climate controls for the rear
10) Electric folding mirrors
11) Lighted vanity sunvisors (really, not in the Tesla?)
12) Radar controlled Cruise control
13) Front and rear parking sensors
14) Auto dimming mirrors
15) Directional front headlights (when you turn the lights move)
16) Side bolsters that inflate when in M mode to keep you in the seats when in hard turns (or manually selected)
17) Full high end audio (no comparison to the Tesla)
18) Wide tires (this is a major issue for me - especially in a sport sedan)
19) Electric sun shades for the rear window
20) Another BMW to drive when the car needs anykind of maintainance
and there are a few more

So - I'm not so sure anymore


Sudre_ | December 14, 2012

I think the Model S will come with more features as time goes on. If you really want those features and are not into it for the BEV part then, honestly, I'd wait.

GoTeslaChicago | December 14, 2012

Only you can decide.

However, I'm all in because I want to be part of a revolution. For me it's a lot bigger than auto dimming mirrors or some of the other things you mentioned.

Goog luck with your choice.

walla2 | December 14, 2012

Tesla has added #3 voice control and more voice features will come. The plan to improve #11 the lighted vanities.

Options 6, 7, 8, 16, 17, 19, 20 are not really upgrades just color options that a massive company like BMW can offer because they have 20+ models at any given time.

The Tesla adequately covers lighting with bright Xenons (15) and you can aftermarket wide tires but likely don't need them (18).

You are trading the benefit of not stopping and paying for gas ever for 1, 2, 4, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14. You are trading an amazing car with an ever improving interface to a car with "buttons" that you'll want to replace in 2 years for new buttons that get added (2010 was the last one). You are trading home ranger service for BMW dealer service that is not know for cost friendliness or convenience.

I wanted an M5 in 2010 until I saw this and waited. Glad I waited.

gary.greene | December 14, 2012

Do any of these incentives make a difference for you?

1) $7500 federal tax credit
2) $2500 rebate if you live in CA (not sure where you reside)
3) Roughly $8000 in gas savings over the life of the car
4) Single driver carpool lane access in CA
5) Free supercharging capability for the life of the car (likely at the price point you are describing)
6) Cutting edge technology with ability to have software updates over the life of the vehicle
7) Environmentally clean vehicle
8) Greater range than any other EV made to date

I could go on,but from my perspective these are major selling points to the Model S beyond the luxury items you mention. It's a matter of personal preference and you should go with what your gut tells you to do.

Lou in SoCal | December 14, 2012

Sounds like you should stick with gas.

GLO | December 14, 2012

Just my two cents but the Model S is more of a drivers car than any BMW I've ridden in but it sounds like you've already made up your mind so I'd still with your ICE car. I agree with others that I see this as far more than simply one luxery car vs. another.

Tâm | December 14, 2012


Sounds like you have to like electric cars enough if you want to make a decision.

It's a new car which is produced only a few months ago since 06/2012.

Like parents, some want to get newborn babies who can't walk, can't talk..., while others want to wait till they are grown up then adopt them.

If you don't like an electric enough, you might be enraged and say "What, I spent all this money and got only 2 cup holders?"

For me, once I drove an electric car and experienced its quietness, its instant responsiveness, its gracefulness, I could complain about all of its deficiencies, but you just cannot make me to go back to ICE any more, no matter how many trinkets ICE can provide!

Mercedes | December 14, 2012

Have you test driven the car?

RZitrin1 | December 14, 2012

You will never drive a car that is near as good, near as fun, including a BMW M series. But from a strictly financial viewpoint, it's not the wisest expenditure. Still, from the kinds of cars you are buying, you don't sound poor.

NOTHING compares to rolling along at 90 mph and hearing nothing but the whoosh of the wind. I wouldn't trade it for 10 BMW Ms.

TeslaModelSOwner | December 14, 2012

I currently drive a 2006 M5 which is the same as yours. My reservation of the Model S is based on the stuff the new M5 does not have 17 inch display, remote connectivity to the vehicle, 0 gas, functionality of available space, etc.

It's a personal choice at the end of the day, do what makes you feel comfortable.

For me....the new F10 M5 and other cars feel ancient.

Captain_Kong | December 14, 2012

I'm a BMW driver too (both BMW and Mini), I was looking at BMW's new Gran Coupe before deciding on Tesla.

I think notwithstanding that MS outdrags M5, MS is likely to be slower around a track and probably donesn't handle as well as the M5 when push hard... what really won me over is the WOW factor for buying the MS and knowing it's a car that's technologically superior to most of the ICE vehicles (though this doesn't mean more equipments or necessarily better handling, definitely a purchase situation where you've to make do with its design and packaging).

MS is not likely to win in a pound-for-the-money competition, it's more of a statement that you're an early adopter of new technologies (and something very different).

If this is your perspective on the purchase, would encourage everyone to try and test drive a MS. You may be pleasantly suprised how important a heated steering wheel for example (or a lack of) matters to your ultimate purchase decision. Go with your heart!

RedShift | December 14, 2012

Dear cmadsen,

As a current BMW owner, and a car enthusiast, I can understand you want a thoroughbred sports sedan. I have driven the E60 M5 and the Model S very enthusiastically and many times. You said, most Americans think only in straight lines. That comment is very curious to me. The Model S has a rear biased static weight distribution, with very little polar moment of inertia ( lack of heavy weights on extremes, due to lack of engine in the front, and most of the weight down low, in the middle). Something the M5 (indeed, any other sports sedan today) can never hope to have, but surely can dream of. All that translates to handling that is a cut about many sports cars ( and not sports sedans, mind you). Not just in straights, but particularly in the twisties.
The F platform M5, by many accounts (have not yet driven one) is softer than the heavier, more sluggish than the E60 M5 in the corners.

So let me ask you: have you test driven the Model S? Enthusiastically?

Also, the rant list of yours concerns mostly comfort/convenience items. Not much performance related stuff in that list now, is there? Are you sure your complaints are performance related and not comfort/luxury?

I love luxury as much as anyone, but I also am willing to compromise for a car that I hold in such high esteem, after driving it like a bat out of hell (and in twisters too), that I put down a deposit immediately. Now, if BMW made an electric sports sedan to rival the Model S, I would be jumping up and down, but are they serious about the EV market? Not as serious as Tesla is. Not yet, anyway.

astraussmd | December 14, 2012

I've had a Saleen Mustang, which was replaced by the Tesla Roadster - no comparison! My wife just got her Performance Model S - what a car! Quiet quickness with 21st century technology and no need to go to gas stations every again. The drive is phenomenal, the interior roomy and Star-treky. I'm jealous! Get your ICE BMW if you want - you'll regret it. See you in my rearview mirror.

davecolene0606 | December 15, 2012

Two words



vouteb | December 15, 2012


wireless upgradable folding mirrors and parking sensors???

You must be joking
there is software and hardware.....

NotTarts | December 15, 2012

cmadsen, electric cars are always going to be more expensive upfront than their gasoline equivalents. That's always been the case, even with the Model S. You just can't avoid the cost of a $30k 85kWh battery pack.

Volker.Berlin | December 15, 2012

Guys, it's amazing to read through this thread. Turns out we are all serious Tesla fanboys (and fangals), surprise surprise! Given that, I'm amazed how down-to-earth and carefully weighed all your your arguments are. No bullying, no flamewars, just friendly Teslunatics -- drive and let drive. I love it.

Volker.Berlin | December 15, 2012

Ah, and regarding the cost discussion: Comparing those sticker prices is apples to oranges.

Neech | December 15, 2012

TAM: What? Only TWO cupholders. I'm cancelling my reservation!

Jolinar | December 15, 2012

17) well, really? I thought Model S has good audio with sound package, correct me if I am wrong.

It's personal choice, but I think you should test drive the car before making decision (both of them).

biwamura | December 15, 2012

Sure you can find pluses and minuses with any comparison of vehicle, whether it be EV or conventional. But you have to ask yourself do I want to reduce my carbon imprint and do I want a hedge against inflation and combat the cost of oil. I made that decision this past Feb and installed solar to hedge the increase in electricity and to have a zero effect of having an EV. I can also say that I will not have to cringe everytime gas prices go up!!! Unless you hold a lot of stock in domestic oil companies!!

benempt | December 15, 2012

I wonder if in 10 years this will be the primary argument for ICE cars. Without the fundamental technology of a better engine, what more could a car company offer and innovate on other than neat technical features?

Inflating air seats, integrated night vision, ''bird's eye" parking cameras -- they're high tech yet secondary compared to 'under the body' technology like an electric engine and the benefits to safety and handling that removing an ICE provide.

Or they'll be the differentiator between Toyota, Tesla, Mercedes, and their various EV models.

chort67 | December 15, 2012

This decision was such a no brainier for me. I live in CO and have had solar panels on my home for more than a year. I also had to do an early lease return ( and yes lose money) on my BMW 550i. There is NO comparison to the Model's the most amazing car ever. Sure there could be more features (although I haven't missed any), but clearly I didnt buy the car for the added extras. It simply is an amazing car to drive and better for the environment. If anyone needs to justify/rationalize the purchase of the Model S then they are clearly not an early adopter.

vouteb | December 15, 2012

I am not so sure whether I should stick to getting the SIG Performance vs the regular performance with Tech package....


Its a lot of $$ difference

Brian H | December 15, 2012

Yes, the Teslanomics argument/analysis has the provocative question: 'Can you afford NOT to drive a Tesla?" If the sticker is anywhere in the ballpark (apple-sized), then the savings quickly overwhelm the upfront premium, and become progressively greater faster as time goes on.

Then there is the intangibles list: convenience and the sheer pleasure of driving. Those have large and demonstrable real dollar value in the marketplace: i.e., people are willing to pay for them, and pay generously.

Tesla has, IMO, a very powerful hand to play, as will be progressively more evident as time goes on.

cmadsen | December 15, 2012

Don't get me wrong. I think the Tesla MS is a great car. Just a slippery slope when you get cars in the $90K to $100K price range. Some of these options that I mentioned need to come with the car, IMHO (rear heated seats, rear comfort temp controls, elec folding mirrors, wider tires and more wheel selections).

Yes, the cost saving increase the longer that you have the car. But for me, I need the performance/design package. I like to drive performance autos only - sorry but other "standard" cars are just boring to me. To put it out there bluntly. If you can afford a $100K + auto - gas costs are really not that much of a concern. The Tesla, being 100% electric, takes gas costs out of the equation and also helps the environment. I am not a tree hugger by any means, but electric cars co make sense. If an auto maker names a car a performance based auto - gas or electric - they just put it in a category that has alot of high end competition. So it better perform and as a GT sedan - the other extras, amenities, options or how ever you want to qualify it as - these need to be in place or will be in place.

The best 4-door performance sedan that I have driven is a Porsche Panamera Turbo, but at $154K it is expected. The test drive of the MS was very good, but we didn't have a chance to drive at speed, so the handling was not tested. I know what my M5 will do along with my other 2 "sports" cars (911s) - the Tesla will need to step it up to compete in the same dollar range. After the newness of the electronic gadgets were off - what is left is the soul of the car. Its drivability, performance and accuracy. You still have to get a smile from the car that you drive after a few years. So time will tell.

I know my wife enjoys the hell out of her Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid. You could not drag her away from that car. BTW - she thought the Tesla was very cool - something that she would like to drive.

Well we have a few months before the build comes up. I will have to test drive another one - this time at speed.

vouteb | December 15, 2012

Can you help with my question above?

You are the Guru! | December 15, 2012

"I am more design/performance oriented type of driver, thats why I have been driving a 'driver's car' since 1984 - BMWs..."

You describe yourself as a 'design/performance oriented type of driver,' yet you list such accoutrements that lead me to believe you are either Kim Kardashian or Lindsay Lohan (or a big fan).

You are on a reality show, no?

You want an optional pink color, no?

I picture Steve McQueen in a black Model S. This car is probably not your type of 'drivers car'.

Best of luck with your m5? ;)

dstiavnicky | December 15, 2012

I'm trading my 911 S4 without regret. I'll never buy another gas car.
After testing the model S and getting back in my car I felt like Fred Flinstone getting back in his car after driving George Jetsons car.

I might try hydrogen power in the power... Or nuclear...

bob | December 15, 2012

Had a chance to drive VIN 1000 roadster, owned by my friend Brad. The thing is so fast it's evil, and addicting. Truth be told I have been in jail cells in Hong Kong that were more comfortable : ) Still I love his car. For me though an S black on black with 21's and a pano 60 kw is just fine. I am betting on a better battery in 8 years. | December 15, 2012

I figured I couldn't afford the chiropractic if I drove the roadster. All things considered the MS Performance was the best option I had (being a tree hugger) for spending much more than I ever thought I would pay for a vehicle. Your money. Your values. Whatever your choice be happy with it.

Brian H | December 15, 2012

Heh. Just a thought/comparison the next time you get an impulse to hug a tree: paper is made from trees grown for harvest, so by the same token, "Recycle your breadcrumbs. Save the wheat!"

Cattledog | December 15, 2012

CMadsen - Let's try a metaphor - do you want to go on the Apollo mission or are you going to defer because you don't like the color of the snaps on the spacesuit?

Here's the $ part for you - if you can afford to have 3 Porsches and an M series, I think, and I may be out an a limb here, you can afford to buy the car.

Or, if in a reflexive universe you owned a Model S and were considering an M series, would your list of M Series deficiencies look like this:

1. Smelly gas engine - what are those pipes for in back?
2. Expensive gas fuel (not fuel cost, fueling time)
3. Dirty exhaust
4. Lots of wires and hoses under the hood
5. Ten thousand buttons - why not all integrated into a screen?
6. Too many flimsy cupholders, what is this, a cheap bar?
7. Not much trunk space
8. No frunk storage!!!
9. Messy interior, all the clutter
10. What's that bump in the rear seat between the passengers?
11. These door handles sure look lumpy
12. Where's the app to turn on the AC when I park on a hot day?
13. How does the software update? Oh, at the dealer.
14. A better Cd would have meant a smaller engine, right?
15. Do people do BMW delivery parties?
16. the
17. list
18. could
19. keep
20. going

Thanks for asking the question, we've had fun answering.

Get the car and smile!

DTsea | December 15, 2012

I think point number 20 says it all'another BMW to drive when it needs maintenance.' based on my experience th my prior BMW 530i that's a good call because it was in the shop a LOT. Least reliable car I ever owned.

Or, you could get a Model S- which blows the doors off anything German in acceleration' handling, ride, quiet, cool factor, and never having to stop at the gas station on a rainy day- and when it needs service the Tesla Ranger comes to YOU.

Really no contest.

Ps real German cars in Germany don't have cup holders because it is illegal to eat or drink while driving over there.

tezco | December 15, 2012

Having 100% torque available instantly plus powerful regeneration will change the way you drive. ICE cars will never feel the same again. Mine are sitting in the driveway...

If you want to be seen and heard, then get a Fisker or the M5. If you enjoy the subtlety the S enables, then go for it.

Mocaptain | December 15, 2012

First... As a porsche, Audi, and BMW driver, I personally think the Tesla handles far better. You need to test drive the performance version and rebute your thread which I believe will be easy to do.

If you are a performance driver, here are some points to consider.

- Electric car excelleration doest require build up, it is straight line torque.
- 30-70 is quicker than the 911, M5 etc. ....must experience
- This car is balanced almost equally from and rear vs most front engine cars where the weight is unequally distributed. From a handling perspective, this is paramount.

From a luxury perspective.
- The hand stitched interior with Porsche, among all of the other extras, you can spend easly

Mocaptain | December 15, 2012

First... As a porsche, Audi, and BMW driver, I personally think the Tesla handles far better. You need to test drive the performance version and rebute your thread which I believe will be easy to do.

If you are a performance driver, here are some points to consider.

- Electric car excelleration doest require build up, it is straight line torque.
- 30-70 is quicker than the 911, M5 etc. ....must experience
- This car is balanced almost equally from and rear vs most front engine cars where the weight is unequally distributed. From a handling perspective, this is paramount.

From a luxury perspective.
- The hand stitched interior with Porsche, among all of the other extras, you can spend 40% plus additional on extras where Tesla is bundling together.
- The software and innovation alone with the touch screen is better than my Ipad. The latest software upgrade allows you to drag and drop applications from the application menu to parts of the screen in a segmented view.

Other cool facts...
-They can removed the shell and swap batteries in 10-15 min
-Oil change service from Porsche is almost 1k every 10k miles and you leave your car for the day. Its only $600 per year and its super quick to service.
- Your car doesn't look like a 3 series BMW :)

jbunn | December 15, 2012


You talk in terms of what you own, and what you "need". So get what you want. Must we talk you into it as well?

petero | December 15, 2012

Cmadsen. The M5 is a magnificent performance sedan one of the best … using the finest, 20th Century, technology. The “S” doesn’t have all the features the M5 has, but it does have all the important ones. I thought you would feel most deprived by not having all those buttons on the dash – you can add lack of dash buttons to your laundry list.

Regarding Porsches, it has taken them six decades to evolve. I recall my beloved 356 coupe and cabriolet. State of the art heating… pull up on a lever in front of the shifter, slide the sills along the floor to open and wait for the trickle. The defroster was a masterpiece … thank goodness for the ‘defroster’ towel. No car is perfect to everyone, but it took BMW and Porsche over 50 years to refine and develop their masterpieces. Tesla is approaching their ... 6th month!

Now if you will excuse me, I need to drink my Kool - Aid.

Brian H | December 15, 2012

Perhaps M5-lovers could get a special interior wrap with a few dozen fake buttons on it, to make the MS feel more homey.

olanmills | December 15, 2012

In this kind of discussion, instead of going into the details like all of the different features and the prices, and how that compares to other cars in the same price range and blah blah blah -- I think there's two sides that break it down simlpy.

This is your chance to get a new kind of car with a new kind of technology, and (barring a completely surprise entry by one of the established automakers) it will be years before more similar cars are produced either by Tesla or a competiter. If that excites the geek in you, then you might want to go through with getting the Model S.

With all of that said, surely this is a 1.0 car. I'm willing to bet that ten years from now, maybe even five, there are going to be cars like the Model S, but they'll be even better. They'll have more features, better capabilities, there will be more variety to choose from, and they'll cost less. If you're not that excited, if you feel you can wait, then I think it is a sound choice to do so. I don't feel bad about suggesting that because Tesla's got plenty of buyers lined up already, and I'm sure more will come once people really start seeing these in the streets.

TikiMan | December 15, 2012

After test-driving a Audi A8, BMW M5, and the Tesla P85... No comparison, the MS blows them all away IMHO in speed, comfort, technology, ride, space, handling, etc.

Plus, I get to feel good knowing I am no longer helping to contribute to oil wars, murder, extortion, and pollution!

Oh, yea... HOV lane access.

Brian H | December 15, 2012


But it will be very interesting to see which manufacturer even approaches the MS in capabilities first. Nominations?

olanmills | December 15, 2012

Well, if a manufacturer has been working in secret, it could be anyone, but it would be quite a surprise. Usually there's some kinds of heads up with auto show concepts and the like.

What I think is more realistic actually is Tesla working with another manufacturer to build a real electric car (not that Rav-4 crap), and I'm think this will be several years away, like after Bluestar. I could foresee Tesla wanting to keep "Tesla" as a more premium brand, but build cars (or just platforms) for other manufacturers.

That's besides the point of what I was trying to get at though. My main point was that in several years, there will be better technology, more choice, and a wider price range of options.

If you're not that enthusiastic about it, it would be prudent to wait. I'm not saying the Model S is not a worthy car, far from it, obviously, as I am enthusiastically waiting to get mine.

I give the same sort of advice to friends and family when it comes to the latest game systems and some other kinds of tech devices. Usually, | December 16, 2012

olanmills -- "...My main point was that in several years, there will be better technology, more choice, and a wider price range of options..."

That's trite and is a disservice to the revolutionary achievement of the Model S by Tesla Motors.

Volker.Berlin | December 16, 2012

vouteb, I'm in the non-performance, non-sig, but tech package camp. Jumping the queue isn't an issue b/c I'm P#3 (Europe) anyway. For the money I'll save I'll buy some sweets for the kids... :-) Does this help?

Volker.Berlin | December 16, 2012

petero +1 :-D

vouteb | December 16, 2012

A bit but not exactly

I need people s opinion on: Performance:
Non Sig with Tech

Volker.Berlin | December 16, 2012

I thought so. Sorry I can't help you with that.

Well... If you strictly look at the tangibles, the non-sig w/ tech gives you better value for money than the sig. The sig may offer additional intangible values like earlier delivery, bragging rights, and potential collector's value. I'm afraid, you're on your own making that call.

But we're getting seriously OT now.

dr.jacks.tesla | December 16, 2012

OK I have to chime in, I have to disagree whole-heartedly with CMADSEN, why you may ask?
1. I have test driven both the last generation and new generation M5 and as a previous BMW owner, these cars have gone soft! Unfortunately, they don't feel like the raw power and "Ultimate Driving Machine" that these M's were built to be. They just feel SOFT and now due to profit-motive and publicly owned company have been built to appease the masses. I cannot explain it better; the creature comforts that you list are barely going to be used and don't justify the car. Moving to my next point....
2. Porsches, they have done a lot better job of keeping the raw power, emotion part of the equation, however, the exterior is beautiful, but for 100K plus I want an interior that looks nice and doesn't mimick a 30K sedan-or worse a car's interior with all the circles, wow! I hate the interior styling and I feel the interior looks too cheap to be a daily driver for 100K+...
3. I have driven Maserati's and a Ferrari and neither have got me to even start to think of spending their respective price tags, so I was an uninspired and saddened car enthusiast! Now on to the tesla...
I drove this amazing car and saw the features and other than the dash fit and trim being a little "loose" I though this is a fabulous car; it evoked emotion, was pure driving pleasure and had the cool creature comforts I would use! I immediately put a deposit on a 1000K car! Finally something to get excited about.
Honestly, I have a 2004 S4 V8 engine and now that feels like a dinosaur compared with the tesla. I plan to keep the Audi to collect and modify but feel like it is a drive away from breaking down each time I drive it, so don't know if I will keep it long-term.
Just my 5 cents :)