Hello guys and girls, first time post long time owner! I have a Signature Model S and have loved the car since i got it, i've had a few issues but none more pressing than the lack of handling capability with the Model S. I was wondering how everyone else feels about the handling ability. Bottomline i'm not very happy with it, currently with 26K miles that has been the one reason i haven't been happy driving the car. Switching lanes at high speed the car feels like a saloon, very heavy tremendous body sway... its feels more like my Ford Excursion than my Panamera Turbo S which i love to drive.

NomoDinos | 16 juillet 2014

P85+. Cures what ails ya ;) | 16 juillet 2014

If it feels like a "saloon", that may be because it is one, and a heavy one at that. I agree with most every auto journalist who has driven the Model S, that for a car of its mass it handles very well indeed. I have no idea what you mean by "tremendous body sway"; our P85 tracks precisely in lateral moves.

You could always unload the Model S and get a second Panamera if the S seems like a pig to you.

PV_Dave @US-PA | 16 juillet 2014

You do have the steering set to "sport", right?

For being as heavy as it is, I'm quite happy with the feel of the handling. But then I don't have a Panamera Turbo S to compare it to...

carlk | 16 juillet 2014

I don't know what it is but you seem to have a big problem there. Coming from Cayman S, arguably the best handling sports car in the industry, I feel that MS handles very good. In fact I think it handles great. Granted it's a heavier car with a much longer wheel base but my P85+ corners as fast as I could ever wanted and I'm a very aggressive driver. I have driven a 60 kWh loaner with 19" wheel which is not too shabby for a car this size either imo. Much better than a LS460 unless you really prefer the soft floating handling.

johncrab | 16 juillet 2014

It is a saloon by any measure and I find the handling to be quick and responsive but without oversteer as I have had from other cars in this size and weight class.

David Trushin | 16 juillet 2014

Don't know what you're talking about. Mine handles just fine.

jcaspar1 | 16 juillet 2014

You probably have the air suspension which many seem to feel is a bit floaty. The + or coils helps this.

mathwhiz | 16 juillet 2014

Well, if the OP is talking about the lateral movement of the *driver*, due to the lack of effective sport seats, then I agree. Otherwise, I disagree, most especially considering it's weight.

Captain_Zap | 16 juillet 2014

I have a P85 Sig too. The P85+ is an improvement in handling.

My last car was a coupe but, pretty essentially the same size and weight. It was the tank of sports cars and a great drive. I was hard pressed to find another car like it today that even came close. The cornering handling was more precise than the Model S and I've been thinking some of the difference is due to the longer wheelbase.

Lolachampcar made mods to his Model S to improve handling. You can find threads on it here an at TMC.

The Model S still isn't a slouch when it comes to handling and fits in the high performance category. The responsiveness of the acceleration and deceleration can't be beat. That was the major factor that let me say goodbye my prior car. My old car was pretty awesome in that department too, but the Model S beats it.

Dwdnjck@ca | 16 juillet 2014

How did Motor Trend, Consumer Reports, and almost every other auto publication miss this? Amazing!

JstACarGuy | 16 juillet 2014

I've owned and driven other sport sedans, and my P85 handles great. It is more sensitive to cross winds, but as a point and shoot highway sprinter its perfect.

Maybe have service check your suspension. I have over 27k on my 7 month old car, and no abnormal tire wear, with great handling.

RedShift | 16 juillet 2014


I respectfully disagree. The static weight never goes away, no matter the P or P+. What the OP describes is almost entirely ascribed to the high curb weight. It's ponderous, and I have said so right from the day I first test drove the car to this day when I enjoy my 60kwh. One of the main reasons I went for a 60 is because of the lower curb weight. It manifests itself in quick lane changes and when driving fast through curvy switchbacks.

Having gotten that out of the way. Now to address OP's point: I have driven the most directly comparable car to the Tesla: a BMW 750i, sport package. Handling characteristics were slightly better on the BMW, but not by much. Tesla is a tremendous car owing to its 48-52 rear biased static weight distribution. With so little weight riding on the front axle, the steering feedback is phenomenal. It's ride and handling compromise is awesome. The only issue is the sudden departure of rear tires from traction when pushed to its limits. That is addressable by better tuning of the suspension. Next time, possibly. Hopefully.

kosamor | 16 juillet 2014

I drove a P85, wasn't much different except for the occasionally slippage... do the 21inch rims have a negative effect?

kosamor | 16 juillet 2014

Steering is at sport

kosamor | 16 juillet 2014

jcarspa1, you're right "floaty" is the word. | 16 juillet 2014

I drive an SP (21s in the Summer/19s in the Winter). Past cars include BMW, Lexus & Volvo. I observe none of the handling concerns that @kosamor reports. My experience is quite the opposite -- amazing handling and stability for a vehicle of this weight, actually any vehicle I have driven....

KidDoc | 16 juillet 2014

I have coils (sorry I thought the air was a waste of $$ and I'm not swimming in cash) and I don't notice this floaty feel. Is there something you can adjust in the air to decrease it? I actually gunned it through a turn in a red light tonight and felt no sway or drift air-less.

carlk | 16 juillet 2014

Did you discuss it with Tesla? You should. Something is very wrong with your car. It should not be "floaty" at all.

kwshepherd | 16 juillet 2014

My P85 handles incredibly well. If your car lacks in the handling dept. like you suggest, I would get it looked at because like others have said something must be wrong.

JAD | 16 juillet 2014

The Tesla handles great, but a Porsche pano turbo S is more of a sports car and does handle better at the limit. It also costs more, is louder, only seats four and has other issues. As a track car the Porsche is better but as a street sedan the Tesla is a better all around car. The Tesla is not an s-class mb nor a Porsche turbo S, it blends both to create an amazing all around car, but is not the absolute best at everything. Decide what is important.

sblank | 16 juillet 2014

@ kosamor if you're coming off of a lower-end sedan the Model S handles better than almost anything else out there.

That said, if you've been driving a Porsche Panamera the regular non + version of the Tesla doesn't quite match 50 years of Porsche suspension tuning. I have a P85, and I also previously had a Porsche Panamera, and the difference in handling on tight mountain curves is noticeable. The Panamera hugs the road, the Tesla floats and wanders in tight curves.

Given when the P85+ was announced it appears Tesla figured that out as well. (They adroitly turned a suspension bug fix not noticed by most people into a new high performance product.)

When I got a P85+ loaner it was clear Tesla fixed the suspension to approach but not quite match the Panamera.

One suggestion: I brought my car in for service in Feb and they found some of the slop/drift was to due to missing Front Lower Control Arm Washers. After they did that update and an alignment the car handled better. Ask your service center if you have that upgrade.

I have 20,000 miles on my Tesla and while I also notice the difference in handling I've rationalized it as tradeoff to all the other features of the Model S. No other car has ever made me smile so much.

That said, this version of the Model S is not up to Panamera handling. If that's going to be the primary issue for you getting maximum enjoyment of what you drive, you should consider other vehicles until Tesla catches up. Given their engineering prowess I don't doubt that they'll eventually come out with a model that does so.

kosamor | 16 juillet 2014

"Lolachampcar made mods to his Model S to improve handling. You can find threads on it here an at TMC." thanks i'll look it up.

"The Tesla handles great (handles ok), but a Porsche pano turbo S is more of a sports car and does handle better at the limit." That's all i'm saying. The only issue by the way is i have to pay for services on the Porsche...

"I have coils (sorry I thought the air was a waste of $$ and I'm not swimming in cash)" I thought KidDoc's WERE swimming in cash, which by the way has nothing to do with my position!

Redshift knows what i'm talking about, the "curvy switchbacks" there's almost a delay, it should be more responsive on the steering. The acceleration is fine, no emissions, great.

Don't wont to ruffle the feathers of the sensitive birds that feel the Model S is the best thing smoking, or not, but it's absolutely scary to drive that car at a 110mph and try to make a quick lane change, i do it anyway but... I'll take it in to Tesla or try and find a fix. Thanks

david.baird | 17 juillet 2014

Coming from a VW Sharan -> Renaul Espace -> Volvo XC90, so to me the Model S is just great!

It does need the "sports" mode steering when you're at high speed or on a twisty road, otherwise it's too vague and I lack confidence to push it. I noticed on a S85 with 21" that the handling felt much better, but just couldn't live with those rims around Brussels (unfortunately).

Could be too the stock all-season tyres on the 19" just aren't as good as they could be and a proper set of summer tyres could make a big difference too.

I'm sure all this is written elsewhere...

kosamor | 17 juillet 2014

Thanks sblank, i wondered if anybody else felt this... I did the washers thing but only thing that changed was the noise on full rotation on the steering wheel disappeared. I guess we just have to wait for the steering to be tuned more precisely by Tesla engineers. I wish they would call me to test drive it first, JK, not really. I suppose if i didn't have another car to compare it to my opinion might be different. But you know what i mean, between both of those cars there's such a difference. Honestly it makes me jump in the Porsche 95% percent of the time. I love what Tesla is doing and support them, shit i own 2, i just want it to be better.

negarholger | 17 juillet 2014

Dumb question - did you have your rear suspension washers replaced?

NomoDinos | 17 juillet 2014

kosamor - I'm certainly no engineer, but please do try out the P85+ and see what you think. When I test drove the P85 and P85+ back to back, there was definitely a strong reduction in the "sway" feeling on a curvy backroad near the shop. I'm not sure if it's the swaybars, the tire set-up, or the tuning that made the difference, but in all aspects of handling I could feel the difference. It's just much more sure-footed on higher speed maneuvers, including cornering and even just switching lanes. The ride was also a bit harsher. As others mentioned, Lolachampcar made some sweet modifications to his car that have further improved the handling, and he goes into more detail on the TMC site.

For reference, I was coming from a BMW (F10 550), so not the most agile of cars.

Captain_Zap | 17 juillet 2014

I don't have a steering delay. I just notice I have to turn the steering wheel a hair more than what I am used to having come from high performance coupes.

When I say that my last car was a bit better, I guess I should mention that it was a $110k car in the early 1990's.

That is why I say that the Model S is no slouch when it comes to high performance cars.

pabeader | 17 juillet 2014

sbeggs mentioned that her and the hubby found if they added some weight to the frunk, there was a marked imporvment in the handling. Maybe OP could try that.

JAD | 17 juillet 2014

Also, tires are a huge variable. Porsche goes aggressive and low profile, whereas Tesla goes more all season. An aggressive set of high performance tires will greatly improve turn in and reduce float at the expense of wear and added noise.

A suspension expert can also adjust the suspension more to your liking, not just factory spec, but to respond more like the Porsche.

I doubt Tesla will ever make the car respond like the Porsche as the car is designed to appeal to the MOST people, as is can't be perfect for everyone. Some want a smoother ride, some want a more aggressive ride, you can't have both. Making it corner and ride like the Porsche would upset a LOT of people.

For me, I drive my Porsche when I want the extra sound and performance, but the Tesla the other 90% of the time, and I am a avid Porsche guy (at least until I bought the Tesla...)

kosamor | 17 juillet 2014

Yep i changed the all seasons to Pilot Super Sports. It grips when you hold a turn but "switchbacks"... Will Tesla change the suspension to a P85+ style? Am sure at a cost... I'm on my way to Tesla to loan the P85+ for a week. Looking forward to the comparison. Last time i had it for a few minutes on a test drive i only noticed the faster acceleration.

Webcrawler | 17 juillet 2014

I think handling is excellent and on par with other large sports sedans....

Webcrawler | 17 juillet 2014

By the way, if you are driving 110 on curvy public roads, please stay the hell out of my state!!!!!!

carlk | 17 juillet 2014

@JAD People really track Panamera? What's wrong with 911? Why those people want to carry all that extra weight and length with no other benefit at all?

@kosamor "between both of those cars there's such a difference." I would think the difference in handling is even bigger between my Cayman S and your Panamera turbo S. I still got the Cayman S in the garage but I have only driven it three times in the four months since I got my MS. Hmmm.....

carlk | 17 juillet 2014

@Webcrawler Don't you worry about it. He's only doing 110 mph on the keyboard and own only a Panamera Turbo S poster. Hello King nice to see you again. When is EF going to join us too? | 17 juillet 2014

Tesla does offer a P85 to P85+ retrofit, although it can be pricy.

JAD | 17 juillet 2014


I have driven a few Panameras on the track. Some people just want to learn more about their "Porsche", and several times Porsche has sponsored events to drive the cars on the track. I must say it is truly amazing on the track, physics don't apply. Because the HP is insane, it will keep up nicely with the 911 on most tracks. Leaves AMG MB's and M5's, and Tesla's, in the dust under those conditions.

That said, I would not want to do more than a couple laps as the tires and brakes would die and cost a FORTUNE to replace. I think a brake job is close to $5k on the Turbo S without ceramics and way more with ceramics (I forget if ceramics are now standard on the S?).

Never seen one in a race, just AX, track schools and Time Trials. Of course I have seen Cayenne's as well.

Amazing car, but not sure what purpose it actually solves. I think a Tesla and 911 are better tools for any particular job than the Panamera which tries to be everything.

sbeggs | 17 juillet 2014

bienvenido en California del norte!

Yes, more weight up frunk stabilized handling of our S85 19" wheel/coil suspension. Slowed down on sweeping freeway bends, to below 70 mph. Now realizing that go pedal provides infinitely variable and fine control over cornering and it can be tailored perfectly to each cornering situation. Having said that, the car is definitely subject to a certain degree of instability if you push the speed near 100 and try to change lanes on a curve.

sbeggs | 17 juillet 2014

Right. Met Tesla suspension engineer while supercharging at Vacaville on way home on West Coast/Canada trip. He recommended Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer tires for better gripping (we live in San Diego where it truly is summer much of the time). He also made a comment about toe in settings. Will try to find where I wrote that down.

We had explained that our Model S was cornering very heavily and kind of shifting and settling once the turn was begun. We were indeed carrying a whole bunch of travel gear and the car handled much better unloaded but with additional weight up frunk.

torst1 | 17 juillet 2014

You might wanna take a closer look at the thread created by lolachampcar, here is on post I found very good, it is a long thread but worth reading:

I was interested in getting those lower control arms to remove that floaty feeling in the back of my P85, but I was told that they couldn't install them on my car without changing the subframe as well. In the end, I chose to go for it anyway and to upgrade the other suspension components while we're at it. Here are all the parts that were installed:

Rear subframe
Rear lower control arms
Rear upper link
Rear toe link p+
Rear integral link p+
Rear stabar passive suspension p+
Pilot Super Sport 245/35ZR21 tires

Total out-the-door cost: < $6k

I decided not to upgrade the air spring modules. It would have cost close to $10k (for parts, labor, and tax) and I wasn't sure I wanted the firmer ride anyway. This is my daily driver and I like the comfortable ride of my P85.

For wheels and tires, I chose to go with a square setup with Pilot Super Sports instead of the staggered setup with PS2's. I couldn't justify spending between $6k and $9k (depending on whether I could keep the existing front wheels) for tires that are almost twice as expensive, that you can't rotate and that provide little additional grip (at most 7% based on tire section width calculation).

I’ve only been driving the car for a few days but so far I’m happy with the retrofit. The car definitely handles better in the turns and under heavy acceleration. It feels more planted and goes where you point it without getting squirrely. I did notice an increase in noise though but that could be partly due to the tires being brand new.

torst1 | 17 juillet 2014

Opps I seemed to have used rather then

Sry for that.

Brian H | 20 juillet 2014

?? Confession and apology rejected, N/A. Didn't happen.