Tesla S P85+ vs Porsche Panamera GTS

Tesla S P85+ vs Porsche Panamera GTS

I am soliciting input and opinion out there on which car gives a more satisfying ride.
Price wise, they are comparable. I am coming from just a pure performance perspective; nothing on the EV vs ICE technology, fuel cost savings and so forth; just pure unadulterated performance.

I test drove the P85 a few weeks ago and while i think its straight-line performance is nothing short of awesome, i feel that it is somewhat lacking when it comes to steering feel/handling around corners. Don't get me wrong; it is no slouch by any stretch of the imagination but when we are talking about cars with sticker price above $100k, we have to compare it against the creme de la creme so to speak. Perhaps it is the curb weight that is at play but who knows. Here is where I really hope the performance plus package (P85+) comes into the equation and save the day given that Elon claims "super car" territory handling. I called Tesla and unfortunately they don't have a test vehicle yet that is equipped with the performance plus package. So there is no way to confirm this one way or the other.

Incidentally, I am also very interested in the Panamera GTS. I know the looks isn't for everyone but to me it looks appealing. As it turns out, there is already a review out there by Edmunds comparing these cars.

The test numbers kind of confirm my suspicion. From the specs listed, this is not even a regular P85. It looks like a P85+ indeed, perhaps Elon's own personal souped-up version of the P85. Straight line kudos go to Tesla (albeit barely) but skidpad/slalom has the GTS well in the clear. If these are the numbers from the P85+, they are somewhat dissapointing given Elon's claim. I would conclude from just that review alone, the GTS "outperforms" the "P85+". I am putting quotes around the P85 because i suspect it is the P85+ based on the specs listed but who knows if it is going to be the actual final version of the production cars equipped with the performance plus package($10k option).

I have scheduled a test drive session for the Panamera GTS. Would really love to get behind the wheel of a GTS and see what it can really do. There are other rave reviews out there on the GTS that backs up the "unreal" handling comment from the Edmunds review. Hopefully, I can also test drive a production P85+ soon which should provide me with sufficient data to make an informed decision on which machine is ultimately for me.

Please chime in with your thoughts.

Carefree | April 26, 2013

All I can say: once you own a Tesla Model S you will NEVER go back to an ICE car - EVER. I drive the P85 and also own a Porsche C4. The Porsche sits in the garage lonely all the time. Whenever I take it out for a spin it feels antiquated and old-tech. A lot less fun than the Tesla.

StefanT | April 26, 2013

Just curious, why is it so important to have the car with the best specs? Is this something you plan to drive on the track all the time or bump and grind around town in traffic? Why not just get the one you enjoy driving?

rdalcanto | April 26, 2013

When I was shopping for a 911, I drove the Panamera right after driving a 911. I thought it was nice, but very big, heavy, and floaty compared to the 911. That was a year ago. When I recently drove a p85, I thought the same thing. But, the instant torque and acceleration, the incredible smoothness, the silence, all have me selling my 911 for the p85+. I would never give up the 911 for a Panamera. I truly think that after going electric, I will never want to go back to an IcE and a transmission with gears of any kind.

mikhaila | April 26, 2013

You are asking in the wrong place :-) People who bought P85 certainly could afford Panamera - but didn't buy it. I am personally allergic to cars doing 15 mpg or whatever it does.

saabluster | April 26, 2013

To answer your question, no that is not a P85+ in the Edmunds comparo. The P85+ would make mincemeat of that Porsche.

Jolinar | April 27, 2013

Elons personal car is black BTW, don't know which one they tested in edmunds. Motor Trend tested Elons car on the way to Las Vegas.

Jolinar | April 27, 2013

I just watched the video, they tested some signature red car, definitely not Elon's personal car.

petero | April 27, 2013

essendon2000. Ok, I will bite. It depends on your needs and goals. What are you trying to accomplish? I wanted an elegant, interesting, performance oriented sedan for my daily commuting needs. The Model S serves my needs brilliantly, the fact that it is a BEV is icing on the cake. I prefer a degree of comfort in my large sedans. If I wanted uncompromised performance I would buy an Ariel Atom.

I use to work at a Porsche-Audi dealership. Recently I gave my ex-boss a drive in my MS. He drives a dealership GTS and he was very impressed with the Tesla, but he would never buy one. Why? No DRAMA! He preferred the harsh ride, the noise, the jerky power shifts, the smell of napalm at the launch, etc. He also found the MS interior too much of a cultural shock. At heart he is a little boy who loves playing with all the buttons, knobs, and switches. Besides, he earns his living selling Porsches.

I can’t say I really understand the Panamera. It is not faster than a comparable 911 or as roomy as a Cayenne. Is it déjà vu? Porsche brought back a four door 928. So, what is so compelling about a Panamera – other than being a Porsche?

dortor | April 27, 2013

4 seater low gas mileage awesome car cost more in long run - ice driven both - own the tesla much happier in my car pool lane

nickjhowe | April 27, 2013

Panamera was going to be my next car until I found the Model S. I have the P85. I prefer the looks of the Panamera to the Model S big time. But I wouldn't change. Never going back to ICE.

FLsportscarenth... | April 27, 2013

Two friends of mine had Cayennes, both had electrical problems at around 5 years, I do not know if the same quality problems affect the Panameras. I do hope that your market segment will be able to experience a P85+ soon - The drive in a regular 85 blew me away, I am not a Porsche owner (though did drive a older 911 for a few months a few years back, fun but not the most reliable car) but really glad to hear about Porsche owners making the switch to Tesla and not looking back...

Amazing to see the wide variety of people that love Tesla, the more variants and options the more thrilled customers... This is the way an american car company should operate!

Warm regards...

rdalcanto | April 27, 2013

In the Edmunds test the MS did have the wider 265 tires of the P+ . I don't know what suspension upgrades it had if any though. Really unclear. I do hope the P+ we are all getting have better skid pad and slalom performance though....

TikiMan | April 27, 2013

If money is no object, and performance is your prime objective when it comes to shopping for a new vehicle, I would just go with a Porsche 911 turbo.

After you compare performance and looks, the Model S and Porsche have almost nothing in common. It would be more similar to comparing an iPhone 5 with a Motorola RAZR V3.

jjaeger | April 27, 2013

If money is no object, and performance is your prime objective when it comes to shopping for a new vehicle, I would just go with a Model S.

After you compare performance and looks, the Model S and Porsche have almost nothing in common. It would be more similar to comparing an avacado with a watermelon.

carlk | April 27, 2013

I truly believe MS will take a lot of business away from Porsche. Panamera is especially vulnerable. I say this as a current Porsche (Cayman S)owner.

You should definetely get the performanc plus option though.

yoming | April 27, 2013

I have a 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S (991 C2S) and bought my wife a Model S P85. After using the P85 as a daily driver for a few days, I find it very hard to go back to the 911. Yes the Porsche handles great and is one of the best performing cars on the market, I just miss the smoothness and the instant torque of the P85. The porsche just feels old and "slow" (even though it really is not a slower car). I've driven the Panamera GTS on the track and it felt like a boat compared to the 911. I would never give up the 911 for the Panamera GTS, but I plan to get another P85 in the very near future to replace the 911.

rdalcanto | April 27, 2013

I have the same 2012 911S. I have convinced myself that I will have the same reaction as you about giving up the Porsche for the MS (giving up unbelievable corning for incredibly smooth acceleration and torque). Please drive your wife's car some more, and let me know if you still feel the same way in a week. I have until May 6th to change my mind....

Carefree | April 27, 2013

You will never go back to an ICE after driving the Model S for some time. I've had mine for 8 weeks now and I am spoiled rotten. Every time I "have" to use my 911 C4 I shake my head how old fashioned ICE technology really is.

Anthony H | April 27, 2013

@Carefree, +1

Anthony H | April 27, 2013

And to you lurkers,@Carefree is not exaggerating. It's true.

I was also skeptical, until I drove a Model S. Enough said. Other threads have covered the ownership buyer experience.

yoming | April 27, 2013

@rdalcanto: I don't need to drive my wife's car some more as I have been driving it for a few weeks. Now we both find excuses to take it over the 991 whenever we can. The P85 does feel a bit floaty and soft, but I hope the Performance Plus package retrofit (when it becomes available) will firm up the handling. I most likely will replace the 991 with another P85 for myself soon, but this time with the performance plus package and without the sunroof (it's buggy and noisy).

Andre-nl | April 28, 2013

We can get an answer by using my special method of scientific logic and deduction:

A) If you don't buy it, you will be driving around in your Panamera with the same question stuck in your brain like a stone in your shoe: would the Model S be even better?

B) If you do buy it then there are two possibilities:
1. You don't like the Model S. Sell it, buy the Panamera GTS and you can have unfettered enjoyment knowing for certain that it is the right car for you.
2. You like the Model S. Great! You made the right choice.

Both B.1 and B.2 lead to greater happiness than A.

essendon2000, just buy that friggin' Model S!

essendon2000 | April 29, 2013

I got to test drive the Panamera over the weekend. The dealer had a GTS version in the showroom but the battery was completely flat; so they asked if I would go with the Turbo (sticker $165k) version instead.

I wanted the NA engine with the sweet pipes but I felt the Turbo would give me a feel of what the handling dynamics would be on the GTS just the same. So no issues there. BTW the Turbo is also equipped with the PDCC/PVT package ($5k option on the GTS) which boosts the handling capability as well.

In a nutshell, the handling/suspension on the Panamera is other-worldly. I loved it. It definitely drives much smaller than its size around bends and corners. I wouldn't use the word nimble but you can really "throw" it around a turn and it stays with you. No "floaty" feeling i remember with the P85. I am sure it is not in the same class as a 911 (i have never test-driven so no comments here) but that is not an apple-to-apple comparison. The paddle shifters and PDK unit does enhance the driving experience no doubt.

I don't remember getting that kind of impression with the P85 i test drove a few weeks ago. Straight line feels as fast as with the P85 bearing in mind that is the Turbo; so that speaks volume about how insanely fast the P85 is. I would think the GTS would be a tad slower. If the P85 with the performance plus package comes anywhere close to this kind of handling dynamics i would be a really happy camper. Will keep my fingers crossed when i can find a P85+ to test drive.

Also, another lasting impression of the Panamera test drive session is the fit and finish of the interior. Absolutely top-class. Much better than the P85 hands-down. Having said that, it also boils down to a matter of taste when it comes to the layout of the cockpit. P85 is as least-cluttered as you can get ... almost no buttons ... just the gorgeous magnificent touch-screen. The Panamera has buttons everywhere. But once you know where things are, it is very easy to locate them and at a single push, you get the functionality you want. So no issues there. Did i mention the exquisite fit-and-finish? Just oozing class ...

I started off on a quest for a luxurious family sedan (2 seats in the back is sufficient for me); both with incredible performance and ample storage space to boot. I really like the idea of the P85+ and the fact that it is an EV (lower fuel cost, lower maintenance hopefully in the long run) all comes as added bonuses. I have eliminated a couple of contenders along the way (Merc CLS63 AMG and Audi S7) based on personal reasons and narrowed it down to the P85+ and GTS. I really like the P85 for everything it has to offer except for the handling experience. P85+ may or may not address that aspect for me.

I was hoping and totally prepared to also cross the Panamera GTS (given that sticker is $10k - $15k more depending on options) off the list and declare the P85/P85+ the "winner" for me after this weekend's test drive. Unfortunately, I came away from that session with a few more doubts/questions than when i started. So ... P85+ test drive vehicle cannot come too soon ... the anguish continues ...

DouglasR | April 29, 2013

Why anguish? Buy 'em both! :)

nickjhowe | April 29, 2013

So buy a fully spec'd P85 with performance plus package, AND a ZERO FX Stealthfighter electric motorbike, AND a GoCycle G2 electric bicycle and splurge the other $40k on the wife.

JaneW | April 29, 2013

If you jam the accelerator down you will get your Model S a little squirrely in the back and a little floaty in the front. No doubt.

Consider this. When you jam 'er down you are putting full torque on in a millisecond. You simply can't get that much torque down that fast in a Panamera.

Modify your move very slightly. Press the Mod S pedal down instead of jamming. You will get a clean, fast, stable acceleration.

KenG | April 30, 2013

My wife got her Panamera S Hybrid a few weeks before I got my S. I had to drive her car a couple times, and did not care for it. I love the S. I also had to configure some of the UI functions in her car, and it required reading the manual, as it wasn't very clear. It has more software bugs than the S, which shouldn't be, as they have been working on auto SW for longer than Tesla.

As for the ride, the S is smoother and accelerates better. I don't know about the GTS, but the hybrid is supposed to be a quick version of it. The S glides, the Porsche is just another beefy car. While my wife says she likes her car, I think she really likes mine more.

dstiavnicky | April 30, 2013

I too traded in my 911 4S for the MS. No regrets, but admittedly I have never taken my Porsche to the track.

On the street I have to say I generally feel sorry for people who haven't done their research on the MS. I wonder how these people with new BMW' (5+7), Benz (E+S), and Panamera's will feel about their decision in a few years.

(I'm not including any 'luxury' Japanese manufacturer because those people are buying what they think is luxury and typically don't know squat about cars. They will only notice and buy Tesla when their friends tell them to buy Telsa.)

jlewis | May 7, 2013

With my P85, I found myself tailing a 550 and 911 tonight on I95. I was enjoying the chase and laughing as I could hear the roar of the 911 trying to create some distance while I silently and effortlessly stayed right with him.

The P85 is in a class of its own. I don't know how I could ever buy a gas engine again.

My wife has a GL550, which I used to think was a great car, but now it feels like a diesel semi...

essendon2000 | May 10, 2013

WOW .... color me impressed.

Got to test drive a red P85+ this morning at Menlo Park.
It is like a totally different beast compared to the P85 as far as handling goes. Gone is the floaty feeling around corners; now i get scalpel-like precision and handling. Acceleration seems the same; not the 3.1 second teaser that was on another thread but still as thrilling as ever when you step on it.

Tesla set up a different route than their regular test-drive routes for these P85+ as i was told so that people can put it through its paces. To those who are familiar (bikers in particular) with the area, it is up on Page Mill Rd. where it is a 2-way and pretty narrow but a perfect route to let the P85+ loose. Tesla grin was plastered across my face throughout the entire 20-minute session. Got to take it on 280 as well; getting on ramp and off ramp is quite an experience. So tight around the corners.

I haven't had the privilege to drive an MP4-12C (so not sure about the comparison there regarding Elon's claim) but the P85+ is my own personal bench-mark now.

I just clicked on my "DELIVERY" button. :) Quest over.

shop | May 10, 2013

Was the p85+ ride harsher?

Anyone know if we can upgrade a p85 to p85+? | May 10, 2013

Congratulations! I think everyone here expected it, but you have to experience it for yourself. Now the worst part is waiting for delivery!

rdalcanto | May 10, 2013

Were you able to drive a P85 and P85+ back to back? I think it would be hard to be certain if you drive them days apart. Very reassuring first report though.... thank you.

KOL2000 | May 10, 2013

THANK YOU!! Can't wait! Still have a little hope though that the P+ will be a tiny bit faster than P to 60 :)

lph | May 12, 2013

I think that the P+ is probably .1 sec quicker to 60. The original Motor Trend test was on Elons car which had a forerunner to the P+ package and it did 60 in 3.9 and subsequent Model S was off the production line and it did 60 in 4.0. It seems that Tesla has done considerable tweaking since then on the handling dept.

Would really appreciate getting other first hand reports on the P+ handling and noise.

lolachampcar | May 13, 2013

can you let us know what you have driven in the past so we have a frame of reference? M5? C63?

Cattledog | May 13, 2013

essendon2000 - Welcome to the fold.

BYT | May 13, 2013

DAMNIT! Not I want to upgrade my Signature P85 to plus! :( Thanks a lot essendon2000 ... :)

essendon2000 | May 13, 2013


I am an avid AMG fan; more so on their NA engines. Not so crazy with their current line of FI offerings unfortunately.

'04 CLK55
'09 E63

Godzpeed | May 13, 2013

My family own both the Panamera 4S and Panamera GTS, I can seriously say, everyone in my family loves the car a lot, that we had to keep both to keep everyone happy. We also have a Cayenne GTS as well. you can tell we really love our porsches.

While, I think the Model S would be a better car for daily grind, an electric car still does not and will never provide the traditional feel and sportiness of an ICE sports sedan. The Model S is a very fast car, but its not a car I would like to drive fast or just go for a cruise in.

eltonf | May 13, 2013

@Godzpeed I assume you have a lot of experience driving a Model S based on your statement.

EMDoc | May 13, 2013

Having come from a new 911S and competition package 2011 M3 sedan, I don't think an ICE could ever compare to the benefits of the P85 and especially the plus version. Tesla did with one model what other companies had over a century. Time for a revolution and I feel bad for people who go out and get a new MB S class or 7 series or P car without checking the S.

lolachampcar | May 13, 2013

That is a good set of reference cars. Could you take a minute to give us your take on the differences between E63 and P85+ suspension?

GlennGlenn | May 13, 2013

If I were you and you were me, I'd look no further than the Porsche Panamera Turbo S. True performance from a gorgeously sculpted car. Build quality is excellent and its quiet at speed (unlike the Tesla from what's been stated) with specially laminated windows etc. Sure, if electrical propulsion is your thing, then have at the Tesla. However, if you're looking for a true sports car with more performance than you'll ever need, do with the Turbo S.

lph | May 13, 2013

And the cost of the panamera turbo S is over $80k MORE than the Tesla S p85+ !. Porsche must be quaking in their boots at the thought that Tesla might one day add another motor to the front and still cost less.

essendon2000 | May 13, 2013


The P85+ does everything that the E63 does well and then some.

I love the handling dynamics of the E63 but the P85+ takes it to another level thus making the driver feel even more "connected" to the road but definitely not at the expense of ride quality. The ride on the E63 may be a tad jarring/harsh at its highest setting but the P85+ seems to take it all in stride even on the 21"

The P85+ seems to be more hunkered down in corners and more ready/eager to comply to changes in lateral or sideway movements like on a winding road. Slalom comes to mind.

P85+ also seems more sure-footed when performing high-speed maneuvers like lane switching and passing/merging.

The E63 does all of these things very well mind you, as you would expect from an AMG, but the P85+ just does them that much better and with seemingly less effort all at the same time.

lph | May 13, 2013

And the cost of the panamera turbo S is over $80k MORE than the Tesla S p85+ !. Porsche must be quaking in their boots at the thought that Tesla might one day add another motor to the front and still cost less.

lph | May 13, 2013

Sorry, did noot mean to post the same thing twice

ian | May 13, 2013

lph - Where are you shopping for your Panamera? I can't find a Turbo S, just a turbo and an executive (at 140k and 160k respectively).

Great to hear some comparisons of these machines!

carlk | May 13, 2013

@EMDoc A lot of recent S class, 750i or Panamera owners are probably kicking themselves why they did not hear the Model S before. I also think Porsche's glory days are probably behind them. MS and MX are going to take a lot of market away from them. They might have to go back to the days that they were just a struggling 911 maker. I say this as a current Porsche owner.