I’ve had a chance to live with the car now for 10 days, take 2 100+ mile round trips and generally, consider how it compares with other nice cars I’ve owned. To give you some perspective, and some context from whence my opinions come, I traded in a Jaguar XJ for the MS, and have most recently owned an Audi S5 (manual trans), Lexus SC300 (manual trans), Infiniti Q45 and Lexus LS. I like to drive, I love technology, I love the world of cars and I do enjoy luxury features, in that order.
First off, I LOVE driving this car, but I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here. That quiet rush to 60 from 0, and the instant ramp from 20-80 is, in a word, exhilarating. The ride is elegant and I’m finding the quiet inside the car very relaxing. The Jaguar was quiet, but having no engine noise is so unusual that I, well, notice it. The suspension is tight and easy to predict and adapt to. The frame is RIGID, even more so than the similarly all aluminum Jaguar construct.
Conceptually, I love what the car doesn’t have: an exhaust system, fluids(oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid). Does it have hydraulic brakes ? I don’t even know. I love the simplicity of the mechanics.
I love the look of the outside of the car. It’s elegant, has a low drag coefficient, and not since I drove the S5 (got it right after release) have I had so many people looking at my car. I have to admit, I like that. I live in Boca Raton, FL and judging by the number of Ss I see on the roads here, they must have sold 25-50 in this town of 100,000 people already. Now that the showroom opened in Town Center Mall here, these cars are going to be very popular.
Now, for the design and function issues. First and foremost, the car is seriously lacking in storage space around the driver. For a car that is so roomy inside, I don’t understand why there is no in-door storage and no closed center console storage. I ordered the Tesla center console and 4 months ago, but I understand they have delivered about 1000 of them and I was about 1500 on the list. I’ve looked at the photos of the 3rd party consoles, and none look better than the standard Tesla supplied ones to me. But it’s really hard to judge quality from web photos. They all seem to have just little compartments for storage in what looks like a pretty big console, which I’m not understanding. But throwing my sunglasses, tire gauge, cables, etc in that tray on the floor is just very unappealing to me.
The web browser is sub-par. This car should have a web browser with at least the functionality of Firefox or Chrome, if it’s going to have a web browser at all. Both are open source, so there is no cost issue. I’m getting a bit tired of seeing the “incompatible browser” message. Not having Flash is an issue I’ve gotten used to (but don’t like) on my iPad and iPhone. But what is more disconcerting is web forms that don’t work. To interact with most data driven websites, you must use forms, and the pull down menus and other features of forms just don’t work well with the webkit browser they decided to use.
As far as advanced sensor features, the parking sensors front and rear are the best ones I’ve ever had on a car. They are accurate and easy to use. I don’t miss the side scan radar that notified me about cars in my blind spot that I had on my XJ. Adaptive radar based cruise control would be nice and I suspect the next model will have it. The visibility is good in the car and I feel like I can see the road well in it.
One nitpicking item I need to call Tesla about – feature to save Favorites in Slacker radio isn’t working. It works for FM and TuneIn. I’d like to see a better feature set for playing music from a USB drive, with the ability to save favorite songs and directories, and a random shuffle play feature that a lot of folks in these forums seem to be asking for.
Ultimately, I think all cars are going to let us see our actual phone screen enlarged on their touch panel displays ( a form of AppleTV AirPlay, so to speak), as this is the interface we already are familiar with. I can’t think of a better screen to control my iPhone than…my iPhone, enlarged. With the form factor of the Tesla display, the iPhone screen would seem to fit on it very well.
While I haven’t driven beyond the round trip range of the vehicle yet, I’m planning to next month, and would very much like to see a Trip Planning App, in which you would plot your destination, and it would show you recommendation for where to charge the vehicle. I’ve played with EV Trip Planner – Tesla should license it and include it installed in every MS.
That’s about it for now. To conclude, I’m loving this purchase and look forward to driving…the mark of owning a great car !