Submitted by bcimae.co.us on July 31, 2012
I consider myself to be among the lucky few who have test-driven a Model S and been a rear seat passenger during someone else's test drive.
There were three cars at the event in Denver: serial# 102 (Blue) , serial#107 (Silver or Gray) and serial#112 (Gray or Silver). I am sorry but I have forgotten which was which. 107 was a performance model and had a panoramic roof. The other two were not performance models and did not have the panoramic roof. The staff at the Denver event did not attempt to align the driver's performance preference with the car, which I feel is unfortunate, But I guess most drivers would have chosen the only performance model, thereby creating a bottle neck.
I got to drive the performance model which was not important to me but I am very glad I drove a car with panoramic roof. The day was hot (late morning heading for 100 degrees) and the sun was intense, as it is at 5000 feet elevation. I did not even notice the sun thru the roof. The co-pilot would not allow the roof to be opened while moving, he said it was some safety/insurance thing. So I didn’t get the full experience of the roof. I did put both rear windows down at highway speed and the Model S has the same buffeting as other cars. I was hoping for better. The acceleration is all that it is claimed to be and MORE. The re-gen when you take your foot off the accelerator was not as noticeable as I had expected. Although I did not drive very aggressively the ride and grip through the corners was all that it is claimed to be. I would choose the panoramic roof because there is significantly more headroom and therefore worth the cost to me.
I did not test functions of the car that could be tested in the showroom, (sound system ,etc). I was in sensory overload just driving it1
When I was a rear seat passenger, the driver had a non performance model but drove it very aggressively. It convinced me I did not need to pay the extra bucks for the performance model. I videotaped the entire drive and tried to keep the camera on the instrument panel, but like I said he drove aggressively and there was significant camera movement. I will post the entire video on youtube.
A few comments about entry and startup. If the key-fob is in or near the car, the door handles pop-out when touched. You then apply slight pressure to the handle to activate a micro switch which opens the door. The handles auto retract. The act of sitting in the driver seat, turns the car from off to accessory mode. Then putting your foot on the brake turns the car on. There is a steering column mounted lever to select forward or reverse and a button on the end of that level to place the car into park. I did not find the turn signal lever awkward as some posters have indicated. In signaling about ten turns, I touched the cruise control level once by mistake. Not to bad for first in a different car.