P85+ worth every penny

P85+ worth every penny

So Tesla comes out with a handling package after I take delivery (Feb13) of my P85. Supposedly this package addresses one of my biggest desires for the car and that is a more M5 and less E Class handling, especially the rear of the car. I bite the bullet, sell my P85 and order the P85+. After six weeks without a MS (like putting a gun in your mouth and pulling the trigger) I just picked up my P85+ and drove the 60 miles home.

I'll spend some more time with the car and see if I can add anything beyond what has already been written but I just had to post-

It was worth all the hassle, cost and time without my MS to make the change. If you have ever been an M3 or M5 fan you will LOVE what they have done with the car.

If you are in the West Palm area and want to see what I mean just let me know.

AlMc | July 20, 2013

Knew you would like it. Waiting for more detailed review :)

brandtlings | July 20, 2013

I know what you mean! Worth the wait wasn't it. They kept all the amazing and added more!

NomoDinos | July 20, 2013

Congrats!!! You bit the bullet and went through not one but two painful wait periods, you deserve every chicane and straightaway you scorch through :)

J.T. | July 20, 2013

So glad it was all you hoped for. Like the rest of us, looking forward to your second, third and fourth impressions.

earlyretirement | July 20, 2013

Congrats. Just out of curiosity how did you do when you sold the older one as far as resale value?

christurbeville | July 20, 2013

Just fantastic! Can't wait for a break down as only you can!

Nicu.Mihalache | July 20, 2013

Any difference in 0-60 times?

Jamon | July 20, 2013

Congrats lolachampcar! Happy to hear it has all worked out for you. And that Tesla is still making good improvements to a great product!!

carlk | July 20, 2013

Thank you Lola. I'm going to buy the P+ anyway but what you said is reassuring. Looks it will be money well spend for me. As a Porsche guy I also value handling above anything else.

So is it an M5 yet?

lolachampcar | July 20, 2013

On the value side, I had an order left over from last year so my new car did not get hit with (1) the 21" wheel uplift or (2) the $2500 price uplift. I sold my P85 and picked up the new car for less than it would have cost me to do the field upgrade through Tesla so I'm a happy camper. The field upgrade would not have given me the dampers or sway bars which just makes getting the Red/Black I really wanted all that sweeter.

With respect to driving dynamics, I'm not sure I can add much more than what others have already said. I will find a quite bit of road by myself and see how it behaves at the limit but pretty much everything else has been covered.

The ride is harsher than the P85. I would have thought they would leave low speed damping alone and only play with high speed but I was wrong. They have stiffened up the dampers primarily on the low speed. There is increased head snatch from the larger sway bars as well. I did not appreciate just how good the P85 was until I drove the +. For those that do not know the term, head snatch comes from passing by a road imperfection with one wheel then having that input passed to the opposite side of the car through the sway bar. This causes your head to pull to one side abruptly or "snatch" to one side. The smaller bars on the P85 allow it to absorb corner inputs without passing them through the chassis. The up side to the larger bars (combined with everything else) is that the car takes a set much faster and thus feels much more responsive.

The car is very heavy so even with the increased damping the sprung to unsprung weight ratio is in MS' favor. It still absorbs bumps better than most anything else out there.

The + does pass a lot more road noise through to the chassis. I wanted this increase in connection with the pavement and thus I do not have a problem with it.

I'm going to put a few hundred miles on the car then will be changing out the rear upper links for some test ones I made with roller type bearings. This will remove all rubber and compliance from the upper link and may result in even more information being transmitted to the occupants. I've got a standard set of my arms that I will move the P+ bushings to just in case the roller bearings prove problematic. The links should be on the car at the Port St. Lucie SC ribbon cutting if anyone would like to try them out.

I would say the + package is right on par with the F10 M5 but then I thought the F10 M5 was a bloated pig and a complete betrayal of what an M should be. The F10 M5 is a very nice car but after 15 years of driving M5s BMW lost me when they started making the it so big and heavy (and going to the V10). Again, a very nice car just not for me.

Lastly, I just got back from the alignment shop for an "as delivered" look at the suspension. The results are over on TMC.

lolachampcar | July 20, 2013

Oh, fit and finish was AWESOME. There were some very minor issues with my first car. They were so small that I did not even ask the SC to address them. This car was spot on so someone is putting a lot of energy into solving problems. The biggest thing I noticed was the front passenger door was slightly low on my first car and was difficult to close. This one is aligned perfectly and close nicely right from the start.

SamO | July 20, 2013

Can you post a link to your postings at TMC. I hope you will flesh out the experience. I'm very interested in the P+ and want to hear your perspective. You seem to know a ton about racing, cars, camber etc. I'm often lost, but appreciate some expertise.


KennyB@US-FL | July 20, 2013


Did you pick your car up from the Dania SC? I went for my first test drive last Saturday, and there was a P85+ in the back storage area that we were able to take a look at...gorgeous car. My friend that I brought with me for the test drive was drooling!!

Best of luck with the new wheels!!


lolachampcar | July 20, 2013

Its a rather long read but this is the last page with (1) the specs and (2) a quick explanation of all these alignment terms for those that do not use them on a regular basis.

Yep, it was the Dania Beach store but mine showed up on a truck yesterday and was PDI'd then out the door this AM. It was the only one I saw down there with a solid roof.

lolachampcar | July 20, 2013

This is the root page for the MS work including upper links for camber adjustment.

RedShift | July 20, 2013

Hi Lola, congrats on your new ride!

One of the main reasons for me to ny the TMS was the tantalizing 'thinner anti roll bars' spiel I read on the Tesla website. Thicker the bar, tauter the handling, but harsher the ride, including the indiced roll (neck snatch you referred to earlier) on rough pavement.

Looks like P+ is harsher, but more compliant than say, E60 M5? ( F10 is too heavy and rolls too much, so might not be a good comparison)

RedShift | July 20, 2013

Induced, not indiced

cfOH | July 20, 2013

Congrats, Bill! You're killing me with anticipation, here!! :-D

NomoDinos | July 20, 2013

Lolachamp - excellent and thoughtful writeup as usual. You have a knack for making engineering concepts accessible to the novices out here (more horses make car go fast!) Your experiences have made me more certain that the p85 with 19's is the way to go for me.

I just test drove the p85 for the first time today, and it felt more than sufficiently amazing to my untrained hands. The bratty kid in me is still a bit bothered that I'm not getting the top of the line version, but the idea of changing out my tires every year just kills me. Also, my four month old probably wouldn't like the harsher ride.

Brian H | July 21, 2013

Have you any pix of the 4-month old's Tesla grin you can share? :)

Captain_Zap | July 21, 2013

OMG, Lola, didn't you hear that Tesla is coming out with a
P85++x2 ? What are you going to do now? ;-)

Congrats. I appreciate the feedback and its good to know that it's performing as you hoped since your are a very, very particular about performance. It sounds like an incentive to work on getting a 2nd Model S for the household.

rch1708 | July 21, 2013

Even though I can't stretch to the P85+, I'm sitting here sick with envy and impatience. Think I'll go and pull some toenails for light relief instead...

Man, enjoy your new car to the max.


lolachampcar | July 21, 2013

The Port St. Lucie and Ft. Myers SuperCharges coming on line just threw my wife over the edge. She's ordering :)

I did see the textile black in a P85+ at the Dania store (Vegan Option ?). It was VERY nice. Had I seen it before I ordered, I would have seriously considered it and not because it was cowless.

tobi_ger | July 21, 2013

rch1708 +1

JoesP85plus | July 21, 2013

Hi Lolachampcar,

I also have a P85+. I just lined the entire car with dynamat...seems to quiet the rear of the car from the rode noise quite a bit. There is a huge open area in the front wheelwell that is transmitting the front rode noise. Don't think there is any way to silence that part of the front wheel noise.
I agree with you I love the handling and responsiveness of the car, so I could not see myself driving the p85. Compared to my M6(V10), I prefer this car!!

Do you think anything can be done to improve compliance of the car as you mentioned but retain the accurate suspension? I don't like the suspension bounce during nonagressive driving.

lolachampcar | July 21, 2013

I did do a quick ride height and camber gain check on my car. It was not on a particularly flat surface so I'd consider these preliminary numbers. The ride height was from the ground to the highest part of the wheel arch. This is not how Tesla measures it but it will do for what I am doing.

Left Rear.................................Right Rear
29 3/16" and -1.2..................29 4/16" and -1.7 degrees of camber

28 0/16" and - 1.9.................28 3/16" and -2.4 degrees of camber

So much for my camber gain calculations from my suspension drawings. It looks like there is -0.7 degrees of camber gain for 1" of ride height change. If your car starts with -2.1 at Standard then you are looking at -2.8 rolling down the highway. Ouch!!

WRT to the suspension joohyunl, see the post I just did on + factory or retrofit.

Bighorn | July 21, 2013

I suppose the "glass half full" part of the equation is that most of the torque applied to the rear wheels is during acceleration, coming up to speed, before the car lowers itself and increases the negative camber.

One question is whether or not the speed-induced lowering can be overridden by the user.

lolachampcar | July 21, 2013

I've not seen any way to over ride the speed lowering. Doing so would negate the reduction in drag associated with the lower ride height. Now that there are more standard suspension cars out there someone may be in a position to comment on how there daily drive is affected by suspension (say you have standard and you get an air car as a loaner).

JPPTM | July 21, 2013

I was at the Fremont SC yesterday(...yes, Saturday) to pick up my car after a service visit for a number of small issues, including an alignment to fix the slightly out-of-midline steering wheel. I happened to chat with a senior service tech there who is their alignment/suspension guru, and he shared a few notes/observations with me. Many of these are probably well understood and better explained by lolachampcar:

The car was/is engineered with rear camber (as are many performance cars) to keep us 'untrained' drivers out of trouble by limiting/reducing oversteer.
This rear camber will lead to more inside tire wear.
When you accelerate and shift weight back a bit, and the car settles down a bit at the rear, the rear camber increases, as does rear toe, increasing tire wear.
The air suspension, while nice, has the unfortunate effect of altering the suspension geometry depending on how high or low the car is at (and of course at what height you did the 4 wheel alignment). See lolachampcar's notes above.
When the car lowers at highway speeds, the rear camber and toe increase, with more tire wear.
If you really want the best tire wear, get the standard (not air) suspension, and don't drive like a maniac.
The P85+ will have better tire wear due to more suspension stiffness and less shifting of the car and geometry.

Side note: Since the Fremont SC is attached to the factory, they are asked to do projects more related to testing and production in addition to their huge service load. The senior tech I spoke to has worked on a couple of 'test' cars to do the P85 to P85+ modification/upgrade, to see what training/documentation is needed, if the parts/fitment are sound, and how long it will take. It takes over 20 hours of tech time to do the full upgrade, thus the big $$ cost. Interestingly, the Fremont SC has 5 Model S owners signed up ready, willing & able to do the upgrade (regardless of $$). 2 are original Signature owners with the sig red, and do not want to give their cars up in trade.

NomoDinos | July 21, 2013

Brian - "Have you any pix of the 4-month old's Tesla grin you can share? :)"

Haha, my profile pic is actually my daughter in the front seat of the showroom car at Fashion Island.
You'll have to give me the code to post pictures again, lost track of the thread.

Lola - I know there's no hard data yet, but how much faster do you anticipate the inside treads to wear down with the plus configuration? Everyone talking about the P85+ hotness has me wavering again...

nickjhowe | July 21, 2013

@NoMo: You should upload the pictures to fickr, or your favorite hosting site, then copy the 'share' code that starts with <a href=... or <img src=...

If the code already includes a "width=" item, change the number to be 600 to make it fit here; also delete the height="..." bit so that the picture retains its aspect ratio. If it doesn't, find the bit of the code that starts with <img src=... and find the > sign. Add width="600" just before it.

You should be good to go.

NomoDinos | July 21, 2013

Nick - Thanks for the excellent info as always, will add when I get home tomorrow.

I've just about memorized the checklist, btw ;)

nickjhowe | July 21, 2013


I'm about to add another small item - someone just reported smudges (finger prints) on the headliner, presumably from the grubby hands of the delivery driver. Something else to check...

JoesP85plus | July 21, 2013

So do you recommend that I get my alignment readjusted? Did you do yours?? Too bad you don't live in l.a. Put in an aftermarket sound system
What is your advice about a more compliant ride??

Brian H | July 22, 2013


<img src="URL" width="600">

using image context menu URL on a website.

Or on Flickr, there's a code block under the Share menu you can use instead.

tobi_ger | July 22, 2013

Btw, your TMC message box is full! :)

Congratulations on your new P85+ and all the detailed, educational information you put out! It's always a breeze to read your professional findings, though I'm just a regular, considerate driver
and have to read everything twice to understand at least some techy stuff (part of it is translation).
Anyway, keep up the great work!

lolachampcar | July 22, 2013

Both the + and P85s have the same go so I'll assume you are only asking about how the + package could impact inside tire wear. My first thought was some information a member posted about talk to a Tesla guy at the Hawthorne SC. If I remember correctly, he said the tire wear should be better because of the stiffer rear suspension and bushings keeping the rear tires from moving around as much.

With respect to my car, the camber numbers are at least a 1/2 degree better and the toe/thrust angle are spot on so, theoretically, mine should do better this time around (if I left it alone). I had a run of upper arms done so I'm changing them out later today with an alignment scheduled for tomorrow AM. I'm going out on a bit of a limb here and trying some ball bearing based arms at first. These have zero compliance (unlike the rubber bushings Tesla uses) so they may transfer too much tire information to the chassis. If so, I've got a second set of arms which will accept the Tesla P+ bushings thus only changing camber (and not compliance and/or noise). I'll know by mid-day Tuesday if it was or was not a good idea.

Lastly, I'll go clean up my mailbox over at TMC... Sorry.