My driving opinion of my P85+ performance package. A new opinion of driving dynamics

My driving opinion of my P85+ performance package. A new opinion of driving dynamics

So after so much anticipation, I finally got my pearl white P85+/twin chargers/moonrof/tech/childseats yesterday. I have been scouring this forum for the last several months actively reading and absorbing all the nuances with the car. I have some experience with high end cars with my previous cars being a SL 500, CL 500, M6, Corvette, 911, S550, and XJR. I have become an electric convert since getting solar panels and owning my volt, so I took the plunge and ordered my model s.
After so much wrangling about what to get, I really, really splurged and went for it all.....meaning ordering the P85+ with every bell and the cost of over $125K.
I wasn't sure whether to order the performance and since I was never able to test drive a performance plus package, I was very concerned about the driving characteristics of the car. Here's what they state:

Performance Plus takes one of the world's best sedans into supercar handling territory, while also improving ride quality and range. After hundreds of iterations affecting every detail of the suspension, our vehicle dynamics team was able to achieve the rare outcome of simultaneously improving performance, comfort and efficiency. In addition to upgraded dampers, bushings, stabilizer bars and tires (Michelin Pilot Sport PS2), the rear tires are 20 mm wider and staggered for improved acceleration on low grip surfaces. Range improves 6 to 12 miles over regular 21” wheels. Requires 21" wheels, available in Grey or Silver.

From the way it was described on the website, the plus package would drive smoother, but handle better. Seems like an oxymoron to me, but I took it for what it's worth I spent the extra $6500(I was already ordering the 21 inch wheels anyway for my P85).
So here are my impressions after a full day with the car so far.

1. I love the 17 inch touchscreen. There is nothing on the market that even is in the same planet as Tesla. This in itself is a game changer. Everyone who has one knows that. It's mesmorizing and most everything of how to use it is very easy.

2. The acceleration is breathtaking. I already had 4 people test drive it within 2 days of purchase, and it literally blew away any expectation they had. Everyone on the posts seems to also agree with this, and so am I. For a large sedan to accelerate this fast, let alone an electric is ridiculous. I just hope I don't get a lead foot too often and get a speeding ticket. However, acceleration is no different in the P85 or the P85+.

3. I do like the interior design. For me the moonroof is a must...The headliner drops down 2 inches lower without the sunroof, and in the back seats, that could be somewhat clostraphobic. Don't know if I will ever use the childseats, and its something the dealer has to remove they tell me. The seats are okay, but I do agree my MBZ/Jag/BMW had better seats...I expect the next gen will be better.

4. Here's my biggest beef with Tesla. The handling is great for those whose priority is for fine tuned race-car like handling. For a sedan, its unflappable with hard cornering and high speed maneuvers. It easily outhandles a S63/on par with my M6. But my beef with Tesla today is that it does drive a bit noisier than a regular 85kw with 19's and even the 21 inch. It drives a bit rougher than most luxury sedans such as an S550 or 750iL. It was advertised to be smoother(so hence the main reason I bought it).
But I don't think that is the case. As it sates above, Tesla created a rare combination of a improving handling, but making it more comfortable. For most of us who don't drive too aggressively(me included), if you want the soft luxurious ride I am used too, and don't need the aggressive sports car attitude, get the 85kw.

So at least with my is definitely not more comfortable or improve ride quality. After driving it again today, it emits quite a bit of road noise and I feel all the minor bumps. I was a bit misled with the above statements. If I wanted a better sports car, I would have bought a 911 turbo or a R8. i paid 125K, and was convinced by tesla's claim that they achieve this "rare" improvement, so I expected it to also drive comfortable. As I have become older, I dont' speed, and don't ever race, and enjoy the peace and quiet of being by myself listening to music in my car. But the younger me convinced my older side to give in and go for the gusto. For those who want the P85+, it should be for those in the market for a M5/S63/Panamera turbo who want a more aggressive handling car and able to live with more road vibration/bounce/noise. So many posts have hailed the P85+ as the best model s to buy, it convinced me too. But i was a misled by Tesla statements.
In retrospect, i would have bought a 85Kw with air suspension and saves 20K.

5. I hear a reverberation in the car as I get up to speed.....just like when you have one window open and you get that noise that makes you open another window just a crack to let the air escape....I have extremely sensitive ears, so that is one part of it. I think it could the buffeting of the air as it passes above the car, or ??escape of air somewhere....don't know. I tried twisting the rubber gromets in the trunk, but no help. I hope the parcel shelf helps

6. Service was good, but not stellar. My delivery specialist said they would put aside a parcel shelf that I could purchase at the time of pickup, along with a high power wall charger, but when I asked today....they didn't have a clue......then they said they don't carry it, then said to order it online...No big deal, but would have been nice if they told me that from the get go. They seem a bit absent minded sometimes...I had to call them to arrange today to come in today to get the wasn't until I called them first did they schedule me for an exact time big deal since they are probrably inundated with new car deliveries now.

7. Don't know about extended warranty....I need to get it within the week since the price increases, but since I change cars every 2-3 years, it is worth it?

hugo | June 30, 2013

Hi - in Your point 4 you say "In retrospect, i would have bought a 85Kw with air suspension and saves 20K" - does this mean that the Performanve Plus option does not have air suspension ???

negarholger | July 1, 2013

Thanks for your perspective.
Road noise is quite noticable from the rear well... I got down quite a bit with the parcel shelf and all weather mat in the trunk.

Bighorn | July 1, 2013

Air suspension is standard on P85 and on option on S85.

lolachampcar | July 1, 2013

My P85 was shipped with Pilots which handle much better than the Contis but do transmit more road noise. Add to that the P85+ stiffer bushings and the car should have more road noise than a normal P85 with 21s.

cfOH | July 1, 2013

I am SO glad to hear this. I bought my P+ without ever having driven the upgraded suspension, but was not entirely satisfied with the P85 air suspension. My personal car history is filled with terrific-handling sports cars -- if it isn't great from the factory, aftermarket mods will make it so -- so I'm perfectly fine with a bit noisier than the eerily silent normal P85 and fine with a bit "harder" ride than the slightly squishy air suspension alone.

@joohyunl Less than a month to go before my personal D-day, so thanks for this write-up. I can only give advice from my personal perspective: summon your internal child and embrace the athletic side of your new MS. :-)

carlk | July 1, 2013

Thanks for your write up. I think you 4 is very acceptable. AMG's and M's are a little rougher and noisier than the regular MB or BMW too. That will not change my mind to choose the P+ when I order one.

rdalcanto | July 1, 2013

Have you checked your tire pressure? I think the ride on my P85+ is pretty soft and I don't feel bumps very much at all compared to my 911.

TikiMan | July 1, 2013


Thanks for the write-up, and as a long-time middle-age daily commuter, I completely get your point. I have the P85 Sig, and am very pleased with everything, and find mine to be one of the most comfortable sedans I have ever owned. Being the P+ is so new, many of us P85 owners are very curious about how the P+ compairs.

With that said, one thing you might want to check is your tire-pressure. As you might already be aware, many cars are shipped with higher than normal tire pressure, and the MS's are no different. Mine came from the factory 20 lbs over the appropriate pressure for the 21" Pilots. After adjust the pressure correctly, I found my MS's ride improved considerably.

JohnnyMac | July 1, 2013

Thanks for a great write up. Your input will help folks better select among the S85, P85, or P85+. It just goes to show that everyone has their particular preferences and there is a model available to suit everyone.

So, a couple of thoughts. That reverb is probably still the trunk lid. Tinker with the adjusters a bit more or have service resolve it for you. They have some great sound guys (at least in Fremont) and will fix this. My P85 was also super rigid and harsh feeling upon delivery. I discovered it was delivered with 56lbs in the tires rather than the recommended 42lbs! Be sure and check yours. Adjusting this made a big difference for me and may help in your case as well. I have heard good things about reducing road noise from those who have installed the cargo shelf as well as trunk/frunk mats or liners. Tinting, if it is you kind of thing, also seems to help with general ambient noise concerns and can look darn good as well!

Enjoy the ride and good luck getting a few of these items resolved. The car grows on your more and more every day as well. Give us all another update in 60 days.

nickjhowe | July 1, 2013

I agree with JohnnyMac on point 5. Check out the Model S delivery checklist for that and a few other things to look out for.

Bubba2000 | July 1, 2013 - Excellent observations. I was thinking of ordering the P85+/Red, loaded like yours! I had already driven a SigP85 and I found that the tire noise to be too hi even especially on a concrete interstate. I felt the road imperfections like bumps. Going over potholes are uncomfortable. I should have been surprised since these car had low profile 21" tires at 45 psi... small volume of air at hi pressure, no damping. In addition, the 21" tires wear out in less than 1 year. Besides the money to replace them, the added environmental impact, it is also a waste of time. I am looking forward not having to go the gas station to fill-up, no oil change, etc and no point negating all that with hi maintenance tires. I did get the service contract with ranger included for 4 years... let Tesla worry about service.

I like the extra power of the P85, especially for passing, merging, etc. Also, this car weighs 4,647 lbs the extra power is useful at higher speeds. So I went with the 19" tires.

Kept my old Porsche around to drive around when I am in that kind of mood. Not many cars can beat that in handling and precision. Model S is a different kind of car.

JoesP85plus | July 1, 2013

Thanks for the input from everyone. I have already thought ahead, and tinted the car, put mats in the front and back, and have a parcel shelf. The parcel shelf has definitely helped with the reverb in the car. I am planning on checking tire pressure tonight!!In
I was able to talk to a service manager, and also directly to Tesla today, and the manager was also a bit confused if the car comes with stiffer bushings and harder compound, why they would say the ride would be more compliant. I am in contact with Tesla directly, and they have been very generous with planning on solving my dilemna.
Since the 85+ is so new, and since I am one of the first ones to have one, they understand some of the issues.
I still love the way it handles, corner, and accelerates(though this is the same in a P85). I may have to live with the higher road noise, but I wish they let me test drive one before I bought it...maybe I wouldn't have ordered this configuration. But for those looking for that extra bit of handling and cornering, then this is the car for you.
But my advice is to take time and drive all the different cars first if you can, then make up your mind. I wish the dealer just kept a couple in stock for people to try....this could prevent buyer confusion. Or at least don't write stuff on the performance and mislead us....

danielccc | July 1, 2013

I've always interpreted that the P+ has better ride than the P, not than the regular (non-P), as well as better handling and better range than the P. The description does not mention noise.

How has your range been working out?

lph | July 2, 2013

I thought it would be better ride than the P with 21" wheels, but not the 19's.
Just spent a long weekend in a P85 with 21's and thought the ride to be firm but quite complient. I agree that the road noise at speed on rough roads is more than the ideal.
There are sound insulation kits that would help with this.

CAdreamin | July 2, 2013

18, 19 or 20" wheels will solve most of the road noise issues.

brandtlings | July 2, 2013

I too noticed the increase in noise with the P+. But man the thing rides on rails! Point and shoot! No backlash, No wallow. I like it! Our p (We have one of each) is no slouch, but the + raises the ante. The suspension compliance is easily a comfortable as the P, maybe even better. Hard to tell even when you go from one to the other immediately. Only had the plus since noon, so I have much more driving to do to really get the feel.

Lolachampcar: you are going to love it!

I had the opportunity to drive a friends R8 V10 this weekend. Very nice car. Fast, rides on rails and for an ICE, exceptional. Turn in isn't as precise as the P+. It was the dual clutch, but not the plus. 525hp. The acceleration is brutal once it gets moving, but it is not as immediate as the S. And shifting is fun in its own right for what it is, but I like not having to look at the tach and taking the eyes off the road. My friend is checking out the S now. Unfortunately my S was 500 miles away so I couldn't give him a test drive. I may have made a sale without it! The + is definitely the car for me.

JoesP85plus | July 2, 2013

Where can you get insulation kits for the car? In LA al and eds will use dynamats for the entire car for $3K. I may do it to reduce some of the wheelnoise. But after driving a P85, I notice my car is much more stiff and less compliant.

Just don't know what to do...a bit confused.

Bighorn | July 2, 2013

What were your tire pressures?

lolachampcar | July 3, 2013

I want one..... Tesla, hurry up please.

lph | July 3, 2013

Google "car soundproofing kits". There are several generic kits that could be used. They are not typically car make and model specific, so some skill is needed in installation.
I did this years ago on another car and it did help then.

JoesP85plus | July 3, 2013

my tire pressures were at 48 each. not any difference in ride though after changing pressures.
I have used some other soundproofing, but its difficult, messy, and a lot of work. Don't know if spending another 3K will solve it either.

Brian H | July 3, 2013

Note that pressures must be taken and adjusted when the tires are cool, after parking for some time.

hasy | July 6, 2013

Does the P85+ look different from the P85? Is it lower?

Bighorn | July 6, 2013

wider rear wheels

CAdreamin | July 6, 2013


19 or 20 inch wheels will help reduce tire noise.

contact me for some pics of wheels that are good alternatives to the 21s

NomoDinos | July 6, 2013

@joohyunl - thanks for the great write-up! I've been struggling myself between the P85 and the P85+. I have my (unfinalized) order in for a P85 in blue (love the red, but I don't need the attention from certain branches of law enforcement). The 21" wheel requirement was the only thing holding me back.

Has anyone gone through the trouble of getting the P+ and then switching the tires to 19's or 20's?

skymaster | July 6, 2013

I bought a spare set of 19" tires for my P85+. (Winter)

Who knows, maybe I will keep the 19" set on and sell the 21's.

Brian H | July 6, 2013

The red "ticket magnet" stuff is urban legend; stats don't back it up.

JoesP85plus | July 6, 2013

Skymaster---have you tried the 19 inch tires yet? I am considering putting them on my P85+ and see how it drives too. I am considering putting on 21 continentals and see if it is a bit smoother.

NomoDinos | July 6, 2013

@ skymaster - if you don't mind me asking, how much did nice 19's run you? The thought of shelling out $4000 for 21's just to change them out to 19's kills me, but the plus package sounds pretty amazing. I also can't justify the 19's as snow tires, since there's not so much white stuff in Southern California. I really need to try and schedule a P85+ test drive before my order is finalized! I think I would see it differently if the MS had a spare, so that the weaker side-walls wouldn't make me worry as much.

@ Brian - that amazes me. All things being equal, I can't imagine fire-breathing/can-you-believe-how-hot-this-looks red wouldn't attract more attention. If that's true, maybe I should reconsider the blue :)

lolachampcar | July 7, 2013

The P+ changes decreased compliance in the rear of the car which necessitated wider tires to return oversteer margin. This is why they insist on the tire package for the + but do not for the P85. Tesla will not do the field + upgrade without the wheel/tire package further reinforcing the required protection.

I provide this comment as food for thought and nothing more. The upper links I made to reduce camber in the rear (increase tire life) also reduce oversteer margin and that was a concern for some owners (and Tesla Engineering).

rdalcanto | July 7, 2013

I think the fancy day-time running lights, and low aggressive stance of the car, draw more police attention than the color.

nickjhowe | July 7, 2013

@joohyunl/@cfOH - what is the spec of the tires on your P+ cars?

skymaster | July 7, 2013

@joohyunl- I have not tried the 19" tires on the P85+ yet. I will wait until around October.

@NoMoDinos- Early in the year, Tesla was running short on 21" tires, so they delivered with the 19" tires and then switched them out within a month or two. I was able to buy a great set of 19" tires with sensors for $1,000. What a deal. Check your local service center.

I would really try to test drive a P85+. When I want smooth driving, I drive our standard 85 with 19's. When I feel like driving a Rocket, I drive the P85+. (Most days the Rocket wins out)

cfOH | July 7, 2013

@nickjhowe My P+ is still being manufactured (expected delivery in ~3 weeks), hence my comment that I hadn't had a chance to drive one yet. I spent a half-hour or so piloting a regular P85 and wasn't impressed by the suspension...too much play in the rear, what some describe "floatiness" was pretty apparent to me just under regular conditions. My goal is to write up a fairly detailed driving experience report once I get it.

carlk | July 7, 2013

@NoMoDinos Having been driving with low profile tires for years my opinion, at least to me, is most worries people have are just worries. Sure those tires have shorter life and replacement costs are higher but I guess that shouldn't be a deterrent for people who can afford 100K+ cars. On the other hand I don't think you will have a tire blow out and stranded on the road every other week. In the six years I had my current car, which happens also to have 35 profile PSII tires, there were probably 2~3 times I got punctures, once even an unrepairable one on the side wall. In all cases the leak is slow enough, and thanks to the TPM warning, that I always have time to drive home or go to a station to get it filled or repaired. I never even need to use that gooey stuff or air pump that comes with the car but that can be another insurance.

I did get a bent rim by hitting a pothole too hard. There was no damage to the tire and I did not realize it until months later when I took the car to the dealer for regular service. You do need to avoid this and it could be an issue if the road where you live is not that good. To me it's just a small price you pay for owning a top performance (and top looking) car.

NomoDinos | July 7, 2013

@ lolachampcar - seriously, were you my physics TA in college? :) Thanks for the excellent explanation, I was hoping it was just one of those unreasonable options packages that cars have sometimes. (...aaaand I'm going to pretend that I didn't have to look up several of the terms you used to properly understand your post)

@ skymaster - awesome, thanks for the tip. Even if I go with the 19's, I think I'm going to have a spare in the trunk.

@ carlk - appreciate the perspective. I also love the look of the 21's and am really tempted by the performance plus; unfortunately I live in LA, and the roads are not great here. I think I will probably have to "downgrade" and just deal with my green-eyed monster every time one of you passes me on the freeway (although I have a feeling the P85 will be one heck of a consolation prize :)

yargk | November 12, 2013

I just test drove an 85+. I wouldn't buy anything softer or more smoother riding. In fact I'd like it a bit stiffer. I guess it just goes to show that Tesla needs to offer a range of suspension tuning for driver preference.