Impressions from the Denver Get Amped event

Impressions from the Denver Get Amped event

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.

Steve841 | 31 juillet 2012

Funny about the pano roof. My rep let me open it and play around while driving.

Guess I got lucky.

Brian H | 31 juillet 2012

About the heavy crosspiece in the pano roof: I wonder if it has anything to do with the crush test ('supports 8X its own weight')?

tezco | 4 août 2012

I asked the friendly staff to let me drive the performace model since my configuration (S466) is the same, and they let me move to the end of the gaggle of drivers in my group and check out that particular model. I was very pleased with the power, handling and ride over minor to moderate road irregularities. The ride is German-like and relatively crisp, similar to my older Audi A8, and the variable steering modes give a wide range of options from almost too heavy to an almost numb American feel.

Power felt like it was coming from a deep well, even though I wasn't able to "hold the pedal to the medal" due to surrounding traffic. Having full torque at 0 mph makes all the difference.

I would like to have the option of higher regeneration. The S is similar to the max regen setting on my Leaf (30 kWH for the Leaf), but I would love to have an additional 30% to 40% more since I like the "one-pedal driving" experience.

If you have taller rear seat passengers, order the plano roof. A 6' 2" Roadster owner wanted to ride with us to check out the performance option and he was impressed, and also indicated that the extra inch of headroom with the plano roof gave him just enough room to avoid hitting his head. I used to cook under the T-top of my Nissan Z, but the noggin' wasn't feeling much heat in this car at the height of noon on a 100 degree day in bright mile-high sunlight.

I had hoped for more road clearance at the max right height setting since my long rural driveway tends to drift in the winter, and I will miss the 4 wheel drive of the A8. I'd give up the "frunk" in a heart beat for a second motor up under the hood.

I thought that the fit and finish has improved in comparison to the beta models that I've checked out in the Denver showroom.

I played a bit with the stereo on the model they had parked at the hotel, and the sound system seems good. Would like to have a bit more side bolstering of the seats. but overall, it is an amazing car, especially considering this is Tesla's first attempt at a luxury sedan.


Crow | 4 août 2012

I agree with all that you said except I am OK with the regen setting. I flew to Fremont to test drive because I was locking in before the Denver drive and it was in the upper 60s there. So I am glad to hear the pano roof was good in the heat.

Leofingal | 5 août 2012

As I mentioned before, I would also like to have a third regen setting "sport" that is significantly stronger. Hopefully this comes later as an update to the software.

Brian H | 5 août 2012

IIRC, one rep explained that regen was at max already -- all the system could handle. Given the larger mass/momentum of the S vs. Roadster, it actually (re)gens more energy back to the battery already.

Brian H | 5 août 2012

Update with link to your video? :)

jkirkebo | 5 août 2012

The regen is probably at max for the 40kW battery, the 85kW battery would probably take quite a bit more if the rear tires can handle it.

Maybe the "sport" regen setting could be a Performance edition exclusive feature ?

JohanH | 5 août 2012

We know for a fact that the battery can take 90kW charge (supercharger) but we also know that this it's not good for the battery to do this to often, so having regen of say 80-90kW would probably be damaging to the battery, even with the 85kWh battery.

Brian H | 5 août 2012

There's also a traction limit for the rear tires. While braking uses front and rear, regen for RWD uses only rear.

The rep was talking about the 85kwh model. That's the only one on the road so far. | 5 août 2012

I hear there will likely be another test drive event in the Denver area sometime in the next month or so. This would be before the Model S test drive vehicle is assigned to the Lone Tree store.

Volker.Berlin | 6 août 2012

About the heavy crosspiece in the pano roof: I wonder if it has anything to do with the crush test ('supports 8X its own weight')? (Brian H)

No, it houses the retractable sunshades (which obviously do not apply to the solid roof).

BYT | 6 août 2012

"No, it houses the retractable sunshades (which obviously do not apply to the solid roof)."

Really?? That is a lot of heft for it just to house the sunshades? Are you sure about that?

Volker.Berlin | 6 août 2012

BYT, I think it was mentioned on one of the test drive reports. Unfortunately, no source available right now. I hope this is kind of preliminary, at least in its current incarnation. Actually, I hope that I can opt out of the sunshades, but the odds seem to be against it. IMO, given the quality of the roof glass, the sunshades are unnecessary clutter, weight, and just one more thing that can break. Of course, that's from a person living and mostly driving in Germany, where the weather is moderate.

BYT | 6 août 2012

I agree it would look fantastic to have all glass and removing the support/sunshade housing beam completely. To me it feel's like a part of the roll cage and so the heft of it just screams that is it in fact a part of that. Otherwise, like you, I have no need for the sunshade at all, even if I have a pano roof as the tint seems just fine. My gutt tells me it's more then just housing however. Even if it was mentioned in a drive report, it's been my experience so far that a lot of misinformation has been delved out as well. I take all Model S news now with a grain of salt unless it's coming direct from someone who has taken delivery or the mouth of Elon or GB themselves.

nwdiver93 | 6 août 2012

How much air flow noise was there in the pano vs solid roof? What kind of sun shades are they? Are they solid or mesh? Thank you for the update. Keep up the amazing job Tesla!!

jerry3 | 6 août 2012

-- How much air flow noise was there in the pano vs solid roof?

Listening to the videos indicates that there is very little noise from an open pano roof. I believe that's mostly due to the wind deflector.

Rod and Barbara | 6 août 2012

From the Guide for Owners, discussing controlling the sunroof on the touch screen: "Drag the slider bar to the indents to minimize wind noise. This moves the sunroof to the 80% open position." We find this statement to be true, the noise is noticeably less in the 80% open position than the 100% open position. | 6 août 2012

Correcting misinformation from my previous post-- told today there will not be another event before the test drive car is delivered to the Park Meadows location.... my bad.

Brian H | 6 août 2012

No one has actually seen sunshades. They may die for lack of need/interest.

bsimoes | 7 août 2012

The sunshade does seem a little redundant if the glass blocks 98% of visable light...which I find to be a bummer. I want the light streaming in!

RobertMontreal | 7 août 2012

Forgive my ignorance, but am I right in assuming that with the pano roof, you cannot actually OPEN the roof itself to let full air/sunlight stream in?

@bsimoes was saying it's a bummer that we can't let the light stream in, but we can't open the roof? only the shades actually retract?

jerry3 | 7 août 2012


Not true. The roof can be opened. There are numerous videos showing how the roof opens.

jkirkebo | 7 août 2012

Nope, the roof opens.

Brian H | 7 août 2012

And 98% is wrong, I think. It's a much lower # (i.e., many times more than 2% makes it through).

Brian H | 7 août 2012

Oops. That is the claim! Seems excessive, but ?? Not much detailed visibility required when looking straight up, I guess!

bsimoes | 7 août 2012

RobinMtl--In Vermont, the winters are very long and it can start to get dark around 4 in the afternoon. Also, we have weeks of below freezing and below zero temps. In that case, I don't want to open the roof, but I would appreciate the little sunlight we do get.

jerry3 | 7 août 2012

Eyes have an amazing potential to adjust. 2% of the visible light will actually look quite bright. Myself, I'm more concerned about the 20% heat transference.

Brian H | 7 août 2012

According to the Amped Southerners, little or no sensible heat came through, even in 90-100° temps at noon,and what did come through was easily handled by AC on low.

jerry3 | 7 août 2012


I had read that. Once the a/c is going things should be fine. What wasn't tested was how hot the car gets while parked for an hour or two in sun (which is actually my concern). Does it get much hotter than the body colour roof? And if so, how much?

Sudre_ | 7 août 2012

Maybe once a few cars get sold... at least one without the glass roof and one with.... two Texas boys can run a side by side test. You really need both to get a true conclusion. | 10 août 2012

View from the rear seat, sorry it took so long to get it loaded.


Brian H | 11 août 2012

Not tea bags! Most aggressive accel-thru-the-curves driving I've seen on the 'Tubes to date. Lotsa tire-chirping! ;)

Volker.Berlin | 13 août 2012

bcimae, I'm wondering about the tire chirping that Brian H noted, too. I watched the video to see what was going on, but I'm not sure: Did the Model S understeer in these situations, or what was the actual behavior of the car there? | 13 août 2012

The car felt as if it was on rails. Considering the aggressive drive and the heat of the road surface, I was surprised at how little tire squeal there was. The sideways G forces on the rear seat passengers were quite great. Notice my inability to keep the camera steady .

When I drove, the drive was less aggressive than when I was a passenger but more aggressive than my normal habit, there was no tire squeal.

When you get a chance to drive an S, I think it will blow your socks off, even the standard model. At the Denver event, July 21, the Tesla rep said they should get a demo in 5 weeks, I don't know if that is just the denver store or all stores or even if it is even true.


BYT | 13 août 2012


My rep. at Menlo Park Store echoed about 5 to 6 weeks for a permanent drivable demo.

Volker.Berlin | 13 août 2012

bcimae, thanks!