Tesla Model S P85+ Review by a new owner

Tesla Model S P85+ Review by a new owner

Last week I have purchased the Tesla Model S P85+. I just wanted to share my thoughts on this car. Before I do that, I want to throw a caveat. I am just a regular guy with no major knowledge of how automobiles work. So please take it for what it’s worth.

I have been driving for about 23+ years. We currently own a Honda Odyssey and Mercedes Benz M series SUV (and old 1997 Avalon, which is ready to retire) . My 2010 5 Series BMW was declared a lemon last year thanks to repeated fuel pump issues (thank you BMW). So I was in the market for a new car. I have test driven many cars mostly in the high end ranges (60k+). My criteria was to buy a 4+ seat sedan (2 or 4 doors) . I ruled out the 2013 BMWs since they now feel like driving a Toyota Avalon (no offense to Avalons or their owners as I am one of them). I also test drove various Mercedes models, Porsche Panamera and Audi A8. They are all worthy luxury cars but none of them felt like my BMW. Then in January I test drove Tesla. Model S P85. Since I liked the test drive, and I put the deposit the very next day. I took pretty much every single option that they offered.

But again I was quite a bit tentative. I wasn’t comfortable with how it negotiated the exit ramp at a very high speed and other smaller issues (more on them later). The handling was great except for the exit ramp. Meanwhile I kept on looking for other options. I looked at other cars like Audi S8 . Fortunately for me, the dealer said there is a 2 month wait for S8. So kept on researching for a better car. If I hadn't purchased Tesla, S8 would have been my choice.

Then I went back to test drive again in March. This time I had noticed that they had introduced performance plus edition. I felt like P85+ would address the handling issue so I had decided to take a chance and finally got my Tesla last week.


I took the delivery from the factory. The technician in charge of the delivery was great. He patiently walked me through the car. During the walk through he realized that one of the blinkers weren’t working. He offered me with two choices. Pick up the car next business day or take the car and return to the service center next business day. A measly indicator was not going to stop me from taking my Tesla home. So I took the Tesla without the blinker which was fixed two days later.

First impression:
When I drove home I felt like this car was just made for me. My perfect car was always going to be a sports car that made very little noise. In other words, I hated cars like Dodge Viper (with apologies to Viper owners). Since it was a weekend, there was no traffic on 680 and I could simply try various things I didn’t get a chance try on my test drive. I took the exit ramp at a very high speed with absolutely no issues.

All the positives of this car are well documented. I probably can go list 20 different things I like about this car. . It drives like a sports car. Its comfortable like a high end luxury car. Its quitter like a limo. The media options are amazing. The whole 17” Tablet for your car idea is brilliant. It’s very easy to find stuff. The interface is really intuitive. Having a web browser in your car is something I still cannot comprehend :) The upgraded sound system is great, not the best in the world but is really really good.

As good as this car has been, it has few negatives. I hated the turning radius on this car. May be somebody can explain why it’s turning radius of Tesla is similar to that of a pickup truck. Another major complaint I have is lack of sensors. My garage is relatively small. Even my Honda Odyssey has parking sensors and blind spot detection features. I have heard that Tesla is planning to add sensors for future releases. I really really hope they have plans to retrofit the existing cars with sensors (even for a cost). I have few other minor complaints about the front trunk (its not easy to close it, a hydraulic system would have been nice) and there is no way to automatically close the side mirrors. I will have to do it manually every time I park my car in the garage. I think Phone interface could be enhanced to support searching of contacts etc (I have few other User Interface related feedback don’t want to make sound like they are big ). I know I am knit picking here but I hope somebody from Tesla is reading these blogs :)

This is a dream car. The positives outweigh the negatives like 100 times. I would make the same choice 100 out of 100 times if I had to do it again. My only suggestion is that if you are in the market for P85, please try P85+. I am sure if you can afford P85 you can probably afford P85+. Even though I am not an expert, I could see the difference.

One side benefit of buying a Tesla is that now you want stop at a red light when it turns yellow ;)

Now I know what does it mean by a Tesla Grin :)

J.T. | 24 mai 2013

Unless you were shopping for a sweater you were nit picking, not knit picking. ;-)

AlMc | 24 mai 2013

Nice write up. Thanks. Waiting impatiently for mine. Congratulations.

tchaimd | 24 mai 2013

Thank you for the review.

I am disappointed to hear about your report on the turning radius of the Tesla Model S. Can you explain/describe it further, please? This is an important factor for me when considering a car. I don't recall the poor turning radius on the Tesla when I test drove it recently, although my test drive was limited.

(BTW I currently drive a 2011 BMW 335i conv and I like the tight turning radius on it, and I was hoping that the Tesla was comparable in that regard.)

SDR06 | 24 mai 2013

@jtodman sorry that's not the only typo either. There is no edit button on these forums

@Admjr, thank you and good luck. It's worth the wait :-)

olanmills | 24 mai 2013

page lists the turning circle ( as 37'.

You can look up the turning circle specs for other cars you're familiar with and make a comparison.

I am not aware of any other special circumstance of the Model S that makes the running circle feel different, but then again, the Model S turning circle is actually smaller than my last sedan.

The Model S is a wide car and long car, but the proportions are normal to my eyes, so turning doesn't feel that different than it does for other cars, at least for me.

I haven't really had a problem with it. I have been cautious though.

SDR06 | 24 mai 2013

@tchaimd, When I looked at official numbers, the Model S turning circle is specified as 37 ft which is not that different from many other cars of the same size.

But in my experience every time I take a U turn, with my BMW, I could comfortably turn on narrower roads. On the same roads I felt like Model S was little bit tight. Again, this is not based on any official measurements but based on how I felt.

Before you take my word for it please test drive one more time.

I hope other owners can chime in with their feedback as well.

RedShift | 24 mai 2013

Model s has a very long wheelbase. It's also quite wide. It's turning radius at 37 feet is longer than my much smaller dearly departed 325i ( an excellent 34 feet) but less than the 40 feet for my Acura TSX ( the reigning champion of bad turning circles )

I just wish I had the perf plus package. Maybe I can convince myself to spend more money on this car. However, the one thing I won't be able to like are the mandatory 21" wheels. I hate big wheels. I do owe err not like the floaty feeling at high speeds in my Model S, though.... What to do... What to do....

RedShift | 24 mai 2013

Owe err= however. Thank you, lack of edit feature.

lph | 24 mai 2013

The Model S has a tighter turning circle than a nissan altima. Not bad, but not great. It is middle of the pack.

matt.wis | 24 mai 2013

I have missed several turns pulling in or out of parking spots because of the radius. It isn't abysmal, but I got used to it. Anyway, like others have said, don't obsess about the little things. If you want value, get the 60kw with regular stereo, no air, and maybe a few other things can be avoided. If you want your absolute dream car, get the P85+.

Just decide what you want and you will be happy, but don't beat yourself up because the turning radius isn't amazing. It is just a whole new experience. It's like people complained and warned that the original iPhone didn't have cut-and-paste. So what? To be a part of the revolution and not have every feature is great fun!

Brian H | 24 mai 2013

quieter like a limo
nit picking

Your experience seems basically to say that the P85+ was the "tipping point" for your decision. It would be interesting to get various people to say what theirs was. I bet there are lots of different ones.

SDR06 | 24 mai 2013

@matt.wisdom, I agree with you 100%. Like I said, there was no way I was not going to buy because of that. Its just a minor inconvenience compared to my previous car. But its better than my previous car in every other sense.

SDR06 | 24 mai 2013


You could say that. My shortlisted choices were S8 and P85+. However I would have probably gone to Model S anyway. Its just that plus package made the decision easy for me. Porsche Panamera Turbo/S was outside of my budget.

jbunn | 24 mai 2013

Don't get a ticket, but you should be able to brush off a Panamera without much drama.

RDoherty | 24 mai 2013

Did you get the pana roof?

Kleist | 24 mai 2013

I hate pano roofs...
Yesterday there was a Ferrari next to me reving his engine... took care of him not even making the inverter whine.
In development of anything at some point you have to go to the market with what you have or you will miss the window and run out of money. The little "missing" things will be added over time, sensors etc will be there before the X comes out.
Nice write up and review.

HenryT2 | 24 mai 2013

I just got my car today. It's just a 60 (software limited to 40). But plenty for me.

I realized as I was driving along that I wouldn't want any other car anymore. At one point in my life, I was considering a Ferrari F430 and an Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Even if I were a billionaire, I would not get a Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lambo, or even a Bugatti if I couldn't get a Tesla.

With unlimited money, I might have gotten the P85 or P85+ (probably not because I actually find those a little "scary fast") but I would buy 3 Model S's in various colors before even considering adding a Bugatti Veyron to my garage.

Lush1 | 25 mai 2013

Never had a car with parking sensors. Don't want them. Just more noise. I can park a car with my eyes. The HD camera is a nice aid but could do it using just the tennis ball on a string hanging from the ceiling. Don't get driving by ear. I live I a tiny street, have to pull up as close as i can to my brick house, make a full lock right turn,1put my nose down a steep driveway with brick walls, a drain pipe and a utility pole to avoid as I back into my garage with a total of 4" clearance side to side and 5 front to rear. Miss the sweet spot and I take off a mirror, back into the wood pile along the right wall, back into a motorcycle across the back wall or hit the hood with the garage door hardware when I put it down. I don't care for the beep my Tesla makes when I transition from brake to throttle slower than it likes. Gotta drag the brake or I will roll into neighbors garage door. It's a good idea at speed to prevent left foot brakers from dragging the brake but at sub creep speeds I could do without it. Not complaining. Love the car 100%. I'm just not on the sensor bandwagon. Aren't there aftermarket systems people that need them can buy? I would not want to see them built into the price of a Model S.

Brian H | 25 mai 2013

couldn't do without it ??

defmonk | 25 mai 2013


The confluence of size, lack of sensors, middling turn radius and fear of dings in a brand new car, all make the Model S seem a little hard to manage in tight spaces. I ended up installing sensors in my garage, which has alleviated the problem. In public spaces, I've found the maneuverability to be fine (parallel parking, U-turns, etc.).

SDR06 | 25 mai 2013

@defmonk, Any recommendations on which one to get? I will try to get them and see if they help.

Tiebreaker | 25 mai 2013

My old 2002 Chevy Tahoe has a turning radius of 19.2'. Does it make it a better car then MS?

Totto | 25 mai 2013

I think you will find Model S turning radius lacking if you come from a rear wheel drive car and the opposite if you come from a front wheel drive car. The Model S has a better turning radius than ffront wheel drive Audi A6.

KOL2000 | 25 mai 2013

Picking up my noisy, sensor-less, turning radius challenged, rattling, console-missing, and expensive P+ in 4 hours :)

Will post review of all reviews (M3 vs P+) later today!!!!

SDR06 | 25 mai 2013

@KOL2000, Congrats. M3 vs P+? That's not even fair :)

KOL2000 | 25 mai 2013

Thanks SDR and congrats to you, great review! I've got my money, literally, on the P+ :) 3 hours to go!! Tesla psychosis!!

Tiebreaker | 25 mai 2013

Congrats, both SDR and KOL!

skymaster | 25 mai 2013

OMG, I just drove my new P85+ to get a clear bra installed. All I can say is "HOLY ****". It "rockets" from a stop and puts your brain to the back of your skull!!!

I have a family member who catapults from a carrier in a F-18. It must similar.

What are these "magic carpet rides" going to be like in 10 Years?

KOL2000 | 25 mai 2013

90 minutes......................................

skymaster | 25 mai 2013


Get ready for a "shit eating grin" that will not come off!!

petero | 25 mai 2013

SDR06. Sorry to be a killjoy, but I am curious. (1.) Why the quantum leap in performance from the mundane to the stratosphere? (2.) What (specifically) made you feel uncomfortable or concerned regarding handling at very high exit speeds? (3.) What model 2010 5 Series did you buy?

To me ‘very’ high speed on an exit ramp equates to speeds north of 75 mph. What I find concerning is the level of high performance driving you anticipate doing on public streets. Sounds to me like you should seriously consider getting another Avalon (no offense intended towards Avalon owners) and use the difference to buy a very quick track car ( may I suggest a pre-owned, street legal, Ariel Atom). The Atom will smoke everything on the road, and virtually everything on the track – and, it lacks EVERY creature comfort!

By the way, large sedans are not sports cars. My biggest concern, driving my “S,” is keeping my driver’s license! It is way too easy to get a speeding ticket driving “normally.”

SDR06 | 25 mai 2013

@petero, that's fine. Just because I try certain things during the test drive doesn't mean that's how I intend to drive every day. That assumption is wrong at so many levels.

I am sorry but I also have to disagree with you about large sedans are not being sports cars. The Model S is best of both worlds. Its a sedan that's better than most sports cars. It appears that you may have not test driven cars like Porsche Panamera and Audi S8 which come under the same category.

petero | 25 mai 2013

SDR06. Thanks for the comprehensive answers.

FYI, I use to be in the car sales/leasing business. I have worked at a Porsche-Audi and BMW dealerships. I have enjoyed driving every Audi, including the RS4 (V8), S6 and S8 (V10s), except the R8s, same for almost every Porsche, and all of the BMWs.

We agree to disagree. Performance aside, IMO, a large sedan is not a sports car.

jeroens | 26 mai 2013

KOL2000 - Must be working on a very cool long review… Can't wait :)

SDR06 | 26 mai 2013

@jeroens, yeah, I am eager to read his review as well.

KOL2000 | 26 mai 2013


M3 VS P+ - THE 500 mile review with comparo pics!! Before memorial weekend is over I promise!! To gather full data doing SD to LA and back today.

Stay tuned Tesla friends :)

ssautman | 26 mai 2013

Got my S yesterday. Came from an Audi S5 and although I miss the sensors I love this car

Brian H | 26 mai 2013

Picture note: must be web-hosted, use host site's recommended code, or image URL in context menus option if no specific site requirements.

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

All quote marks needed.

Brian H | 26 mai 2013

Note that it is HTML; BB Code doesn't work.

Pbfoot | 2 juin 2013

KOL2000, did you post your review already? I don't find it on Volkerize.

nickjhowe | 2 juin 2013
nickjhowe | 2 juin 2013

just remembered this forum doesn't like "(" in URLs. This should be clickable:

Pbfoot | 2 juin 2013

Damn, might need to scrape up the money for a retrofit of my P85.

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