Speed Difference on Performance + Vs Performance & Tire Wear Concerns

Speed Difference on Performance + Vs Performance & Tire Wear Concerns

After years of reading and research I’m finally getting ready to pull the trigger on my Model S but one decision (aside from the agonizing color choice) is proving to be incredible difficult. Is there an actual speed difference between P and P+? Is the P+ faster in any way? I am aware of all the handling and range benefits of the plus, but I can’t seem to find any concrete evidence on the speed aspect. The only trepidation I have on pulling the trigger on the + is the tire wear issue (I may be overreacting). On the Performance model (with 21’s), the tires can be rotated, offsetting my fear of replacement every 6,000 is miles (maybe I’ve been reading the tire wear thread too much?). But on the Performance plus model, the tires cannot be rotated. I know the cost of the car is high, but for some reason, the idea of replacing rear tires at $400 a pop every few months is really hard to me to accept (well, in reality, it would be really hard for me to explain to my wife). Am I being crazy and should just go for the Plus? Handling is not a top priority for me, but I would like the fastest (on a straight line). Any advice from owners or forum readers would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all for your help.

lolachampcar | July 1, 2013

I'm not certain if any forum members have confirmed this but the slightly wider and stickier Pilots on the + package are supposed to reduce the +'s 0-60 times. MS is traction limited but I can not imagine it would lower the times by too much.

WRT tire wear, you can always rotate side to side. Yes, the tires are directional but in my experience this is not an issue. It would require a dismount and mount for each rear tire but effectively doubles the tire life. I ended up doing new top links to get the camber to a more reasonable 1 degree negative which improved the wear situation on my P85.

ToddMG | July 1, 2013

Have you driven the 85P without the "plus"?
How could you even think about or want "faster"?

lolachampcar | July 1, 2013

Perhaps it is the "if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it right" approach. If straight line speed and launch is your thing, then asking about getting the most out of the car is not so crazy.

Carefree | July 1, 2013

How hard do you drive your cars? If you need rail like cornering ability, then the P+ is the right choice for you. If you drive like 98% of the population, then the 85P is more then enough:-)

We own the P85 and never regretted not getting the P+ (which was not available anyway when we got ours).

Bighorn | July 1, 2013

I'd seen before that you'd mentioned rotating your rear tires in a staggered set-up. I assumed you dismounted the tires to make the inner tread the outer tread. Now, I understand that you're just rotating the wheels and ignoring the direction of rotation. If both inner shoulders are wearing disproportionately, what benefit do you get with a simple side to side swap?

carlk | July 1, 2013

Hi Imo straight line acceleration is good for advertisement but handling is what gives you the enjoyment of a good performance car. Faster the car the more important is the handling. There are lot more situations another (fast)car will chase you on the freeway ramp than challenge you at a stop light. Not to mention the handling is with you all the time while acceleration you will use only once in a while.

That's why I have owned Japanese pocket rockets and Stuttgart sports cars but never American muscle cars. It's just me of course.

SamO | July 1, 2013

I cross linked a story in another post. Tesla UNDERSTATES the observed acceleration:

Model S 60KwH 0 - 60mph in 5.1 seconds.

Model S Performance 85KwH 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds.

Model S Performance + 0 - 60mph . . .

jrettinger | July 1, 2013

Thank you all for the feedback. I still wish we knew the 0-60 time of the Performance Plus. I know the acceleration is only a fraction of what the Plus brings, but it's still a missing part of the equation I'm trying to solve.

Any Plus owners out there want to clock?

lolachampcar | July 1, 2013

I have moved rear tires across the rear of the car in the past which necessitates dismounting and re-mounting both rears. This allowed me to "use up" both shoulders of each tire effectively doubling the life. I had to do that on cars whose rear suspension camber was set by the strut and thus was not easily changed. Luckily, MS uses an upper link to set camber and, although not super easy to change, there is a way to get to (what I think is) more reasonable camber. Even though moving tires across the rear of the car is possible, it is still a PITA and the new links make it a non-issue for me.

Bighorn | July 1, 2013

Gotcha--thanks for the clarification!

CAdreamin | July 1, 2013

Big Horn - where did you get the new links to more easily set the camber?

Bighorn | July 1, 2013


That would be lolachampcar, our resident wrench.

petero | July 1, 2013

Jrettinger. Ok, who is faster Superman or the Flash? Who cares? Both faster than a speeding...
whatever and probably faster than what you have been driving.

I promise you this, in a year or three there will be a P85++. I suspect Elon embraces to the Olympic motto: faster, higher, stronger (farther). Always improving. If you have to only drive the top Tesla, you best consider a lease and a short one at that.

Happy motoring, it is all good even driving a 40/60.

cfOH | July 1, 2013

@carlk: I like how you think. And, like @lolachampcar, I'm all in for performance.

I've owned two Porsches, an American muscle car, and Subaru STI, and the only one that disappointed was the muscle car because its handling was absolute crap. For me, I never even considered NOT getting the + package, especially after reading how some of the mods are actually structural and can't be done aftermarket.

@lola: I expect a full P+ write-up once yours is in-house. :-)

Robert22 | July 1, 2013

Seriously, how much can you improve on passengers saying "Wow, holy sh#*!", and that's with my standard MS.
Buff your retirement account instead, or buy some TSLA and start saving for this:

cfOH | July 1, 2013

Sorry...NOT @lola on that last comment... {wonders if going prematurely senile again}

jrettinger | July 2, 2013

Thank you all. Am I correct to assume that the rear tires on the P+ can be rotated, just on the same axel?

lolachampcar | July 2, 2013

No and Yes. The manufacture stamps the tires as directional given the different tread pattern on the inside versus the outside of the tire. So, by the manufacturer, the tire can only be put on one way. It is convenient that unidirectional tires started to appear in mass about the same time the stability control brought about higher rear negative camber numbers. Sounds like more tire sales to me.

That being said, i've routinely moved tires across the rear of the car. This requires dismounting and remounting of the two back tires AND running the "outside" label on the inside of the installed tire.

jrettinger | July 2, 2013


Thank you. Obviously a Tesla service center wouldn't do this?

cfOH | July 2, 2013

@lolachampcar: You do that yourself? I had one tire place nearby say they wouldn't mount them for use that way.

lolachampcar | July 2, 2013

I've done it many times and have had zero issues. I can not speak for Tesla but I have several shops locally willing to do it for me. It really comes down to how you approach the question (assuming you are comfortable with it yourself). If you go in and tell them you are managing rear tire wear and need your tires moved side to side, a lot will understand exactly what you are doing and why. If you go in and say "hey, is this a good idea?" you can bet you will get a no.

I am not for a moment suggesting that anyone run out and do this. I'm only passing along my personal experiences.

CAdreamin | July 2, 2013

So Lolachampcar - you made the longer control arms?

Very impressive. So why do you suppose Tesla doesn't make standard a .8 or .9 negative camber, instead of their 2 dgrees of negative camber? Sorry if that is a stupid question.

lolachampcar | July 3, 2013

Not stupid at all.

I just posted this in another thread-

"Third, high negative camber in the rear is purposefully designed in to help rear stability in an emergency avoidance maneuver. All cars produced these days are required to have stability control and one of the conformance tests is a brutal whipping of the wheel from side to side. I've posted the specification on another thread both here and on TMC in addition to the verification test procedure. Anyway, the high negative camber is not a design flaw. I do not require the safety margin on my car nor do I want the hassle of rotating tires from side to side. I made new upper links to put a more reasonable (from a tire wear standpoint) amount of camber on the back of the car. This is obviously an extreme solution but I've had far too many European cars with high rear camber to want to live with it on my daily driver."

MB, BMW, Audi and the like have been using high rear negative camber to control oversteer for years. It has been an ongoing fight for me. The times were the camber will help are very few if ever and I am comfortable enough that I do not require the help. That being said, removing the camber is removing safety margin and that is an important consideration.

CAdreamin | July 3, 2013


The Model S rear, can accept a wheel wider than 9 inches, (9.5 or 10")and rear tires of at least 285, so why did Tesla go with a 9" rim and 265 tire for their P+ version?

and why the 21" rims - those are the odd man out when it comes to replacing tires - and the unsprung weight at 38lbs is not helpful.

Since you are very knowlegeable re suspensions - are drivers getting value for their $6,500 for the P+?

AlMc | July 3, 2013

Robert 22; Glad you are happy with your configuration. Each person has their own set of criteria which is why most products are produced with lots of options. I am sure I would have been happy with a 40, 60, 85, 85P or 85P+..they are all great cars.
My criteria was to get the best handling possible in an electric sports sedan so I chose the P+.

lolachampcar | July 4, 2013

The only aftermarket wheel swaps that I have read about have used a maximum of 9" all the way around. I do not know of any that have tried a 9 1/2 or 10" wheel.

With respect to tire choice, this is normally made based on horsepower. In Tesla's case, they had the added incentive to go as small as possible for range reasons. I've got a graph somewhere showing tire size versus horsepower for ten different performance cars. I can try to dig it up and post it if you like but basically the rubber is to control the horsepower. As for why the P+ is using a larger tire than the P (same horsepower), Tesla removed compliance in the rear when they changed out all the bushings to stiffer ones. They needed to get back some rear mechanical grip to control oversteer and thus went up on rear rim/tire size.

As for the 21s, I have no idea why that was the magic number.

The performance plus package is now upwards of $11k if you count having to purchase Tesla's 21" wheel/tire package before you can order the $6,500 Plus option. Value is a two sided question. If you look at what we receive, I am willing to pay for the production version and not the field upgrade. This is why I sold my P85 and ordered the P85+. If you look at it from a cost plus margin standpoint, there is absolutely no justification for the price. Specifically, there are only a few dollars difference in cost on the bushings between the standard and plus and that cost is only because of a new, smaller volume part number being added to the production process. The very same thing can be said for the sway bars and the dampers (only a valving specification change) so Tesla probably has less than $200 in the package excluding wheels/tires.