"Feel" Differences between 85kWh and Performance

"Feel" Differences between 85kWh and Performance

It's final configuration time for me and I'm seriously torn on the 85kWh vs the Performance model. I've done a test drive in the Signature model and a test drive in a Performance, and didn't notice a difference between the two. However, the gap in 0-60 time between Performance and the non-performance 85kWh is 1.2s (4.4s vs 5.6s). I'm worried that if I buy the non-performance model, it'll feel like a let down after so much waiting. Putting together a quick chart of some selected 0-60 of other cars I am considering (and a couple at the speedy end for perspective) didn't make me feel any better:

3.5s - 2013 Audi S8
3.7s - 2012 Corvette Z06
3.9s - Tesla Model S Signature Performance
4.4s - Tesla Model S Performance
4.8s - 2012 Maserati Quattroporte S
5.0s - 2005 Audi S4 (current car)
5.6s - Tesla Model S 85kWh
5.7s - 2012 Toyota Camry v6 SE
5.9s - Tesla Model S 60kWh
6.7s - 2013 Jaguar XF
7.6s - 2011 Buick Enclave (wife's SUV)

That Camry on the list is the one that is freaking me out. Sure, it's the top-of-the-line Camry, but still, not sure if I can live with that. To be clear, I am not considering the Model S solely because of acceleration--I love the technology and innovation that is in the car. But the standout feature to me--the one that convinced me to follow through with my purchase on my first test drive, is the acceleration. But I'm not sure if I'm ready to go over $100K (with all the options) for that feature.

So for those of you who bought a Performance model and have tried a non-performance model, did you make the right call? For those who bought a non-performance model, how do you feel about your purchase? Any regrets or second thoughts for either group?

TikiMan | 5 maart 2013

I am not aware that there is a power difference between a Sig P85 and a P85?

mathiesm | 5 maart 2013

Sorry for confusing the issue, my question is about performance differences between the Performance 85 and the standard 85 (not Signature). I only mentioned the Signature in the context of my test drives--I believe that you are right that it is comparable to the Performance model.

andrigtmiller | 5 maart 2013

I purchased the 85kWh and I have loved it. I am sure I would love the performance model even more, but I do not regret my choice. I also seriously doubt that Camry time is very accurate in a real world setting. The other thing none of those cars can compare to is the acceleration of the Model S when already at speed. The Model S just cannot be touched. The instant and constant level of torque just is unmatched.

glenster | 5 maart 2013

Well here is the deal...I just took delivery of my Performance model on 3/1 and I can tell you that I LOVE the acceleration and wow factor when giving passengers a ride. I just out of a 2011 BMW 550i twin turbo V8 so I am used to a powerful sedan. However, given the price change after 1/1/2013 there are several things that used to come standard on the P85 that are now optional most notably the 21" wheels! Before 1/1 it made sense to spend an extra $5k for the top of the line P85 but I am not convinced that it is the best value now that several items that used to be STD are now no longer.

nickjhowe | 5 maart 2013

@mathiesm - Sig cars came in P and non-P variants - so depends what you drove.

Comparing Model S times to ICE times is VERY misleading. Joe Average driver can get low 4.x seconds out of a P85 without too much difficulty. You'll destroy the clutch of an ICE car trying to get the posted 0-60 times. Try dumping the clutch at 8,000 RPM a few times and see what happens.

50-90mph is more impressive than 0-60 IMHO, and the instant response of the fly-by-wire electric drive train is totally different to any ICE car I've ever driven.

Lots of people with a regular 85 on the forums have reported that it is plenty performant. I've noticed a significant different in both the regular car and the P85 depending on how many people you have - 3 extra passengers adds 10-15% to the weight of the car and definitely impacts the acceleration.

Me? I have a P85 and wouldn't trade it. If you are gonna go, go big! But with a regular 85 you'll still blow away most things on the road without trying.

glenster | 5 maart 2013

Well here is the deal...I just took delivery of my Performance model on 3/1 and I can tell you that I LOVE the acceleration and wow factor when giving passengers a ride. I am coming out of a 2011 BMW 550i twin turbo V8 so I am used to a powerful sedan. However, given the price change after 1/1/2013 there are several things that used to come standard on the P85 that are now optional most notably the 21" wheels! Before 1/1 it made sense to spend an extra $5k for the top of the line P85 but I am not convinced that it is the best value now that several items that used to be STD are now no longer.

sandman | 5 maart 2013

There is no power difference between the sig perf and the perf. The road tested performance of both is closer to 4.0-4.1 sec 0-60. Read the "buyers remorse" thread for some std vs. perf remorse stories. about the only remorse in that thread is ppl wishing they had gone perf.

The std 85 was clocked at just over 5secs iirc. So about what you have today. If I were you and I could spend your money, I would go perf. Of course I am me and I spent my money and still went perf and have NO regrets ;)

nickjhowe | 5 maart 2013

One other comment - I've never seen a P85 owner say "I wish I hadn't got the performance model", but I have seen regular owners say "I wish I'd bought the performance..."

sandman | 5 maart 2013

I would also agree that a std 85 will still feel much faster than most cars and unless cars are using launch control which quite a few "normal" cars are attempting these days you will beat the avg driver in a drag. See endless YouTube vids of faster cars getting a "bad" start vs. a tesla. The S is simply easier and more fun to drive. No racing school required(but many still recommend).

DC@Tesla | 5 maart 2013


The 85P has upgraded drivetrain, interior, and suspension and drives a bit differently than the 85S. There is a bit more "solid" feel and definitely a palpable performance difference. I went through the same feelings as you; good luck with your choice!

joe12pack | 5 maart 2013

" and didn't notice a difference between the two"

Were you turtling along at 35 mph the whole time? Or did you actually punch it from a standstill?

There's a difference. Big difference. Is it worth $15k? I don't know.

Spyder34 | 5 maart 2013

I finalized on 2/21 and between the color choice (never saw half the colors up close) and the P85 vs the Std85-- never test drove the std 85, I was changing my mind daily- make that hourly.

Figured that I would have the car a very long time and between that fact and the fact that every time I would give a demo ride, I'd be saying "..and you should see the P85 which is even faster...", and the fact it was (fortunately) not my last nickel, I went with the P85. I could not justify the $12k incremental cost as I couldn't value the ROI of the grin I'll soon have on my face. So I decided to...just do it!

And while I haven't taken delivery yet, I can't wait and am so glad I ordered the P85. Color was a whole other process. Went with (sinister) gray/black/gray 21's/carbon fiber.

JDster | 5 maart 2013

@mathiesm - it all depends on how you drive. If you drive your cars normally, then you wouldn't feel the difference between the two. If you're an aggressive driver, then the P85 is the car for you.

I went through the same thing you are going through. I went with the standard 85 because of a couple of factors. Even though I love the look of the 21" wheels (and they came standard because I reserved in 2012), I didn't want to deal with higher risks of flat tires with the 21". And I didn't want to lose the range by going with the 21s. Yes, I could have ordered the P85 with 19" but I would feel like I'm taking a loss. Had Tesla given me the $3500 credit by going with the 19" then I would lean towards getting the P85. It was a tough decision to make but nickjhowe is correct....several people on the forum regret not getting the P85, but you don't hear it the other way around. Good luck!

shop | 5 maart 2013

I've always (since I could afford them) had big engines in my cars. I must say, though, that my P85 almost feels like it has too much! As in, I'm not reckless enough to use all that power, except when showing off to friends in a controlled area. Having said that, when the car has five people in it, I'm quite sure I'll appreciate the extra power I have.

JoeFee | 5 maart 2013

I have the p85 and it is worth every penny over the 85... If you have the extra $ to spend.

DouglasR | 5 maart 2013

Many people buy the standard 85 and are perfectly happy with it. I can tell by your post, however, that you would probably regret not getting the P85. You don't sound like the kind of guy who could live with a car having approximately the same acceleration as a Camry.

mathiesm | 5 maart 2013

Thanks for all the posts so far, some excellent food for thought. I really appreciate it!

h8young | 5 maart 2013

@Mathiesm, where did you get the 3.9s 0-60 time for the Sig Perf? It should be the same as the 85 kwh Perf which is 4.4s.

BarryQ | 6 maart 2013

Mmmm.. my decision: a 40kWh and 2 kidneys, or a 60 and 1 kidney. Maybe I don't need my brain anymore....I could sell that (maybe to Nickniketown)

Brian H | 6 maart 2013

In tests with a rolling start, 3.9s have been recorded. 4.1 & 4.2 have been measured, without.

dstiavnicky | 6 maart 2013

I was unsure just like you. I ordered the non-perf simply because

a) I couldn't justify the cost difference
b) I didn't want the 21 inch wheels
c) my wife and kids will also drive the car
d) I plan on ordering the Telsa Supercar when it becomes available

I think the acceleration will be more than my license can handle and allow me to 'zip' through traffic just fine. Good luck with your choice!

Captain_Zap | 6 maart 2013

I like the performance interior upgrade too.
Some have noted that they were disapponted that the standard version does not have the metal pedals and a few other details.

Brian H | 6 maart 2013

Some are born Performers and some are not.

Mark Z | 6 maart 2013

Could Tesla Motors provide the difference in G force? That could help the buyer decide more easily.

When you need the passing speed, the P85 is a marvel. Most of the time I keep it at the speed limit to avoid tickets. Being first at the stop light is always a treat. Zooming up to the speed limit is great in any EV. Full acceleration in the P85 from a standing start stresses the tires, so a slight roll while double checking for cross traffic before crossing the intersection helps.

PS: Keep your eyes on the road and watch out for bicycles, pedestrians and on-coming drivers turning left.

c.bussert67 | 6 maart 2013

Test drive one if you haven't already. I was on order for the P85, but only got to test drive a standard 85. It was plenty fast. It's the seamless, digitally perfect acceleration that is misleading. I believe Road and track tested both and their official times were, 4.0 for P85 and 5.0 for standard 85.
I would have been happy with standard 85 performance, but I like to buy a car with everything. It's a resale thing for me. It was really close for me to swing the extra dough. Almost didn't get it.
The standard 85 IS fast... The P85 is, in a word, brutal.
Besides, the launch reaction from the moment you jump on the 'Goose pedal', I believe it's called, is so much faster than an ICE.
Measured times are from the car movement. Street races and won from driver reaction off a light. The S will have a fender on whatever you're next to, right from the start!

lph | 6 maart 2013

Actually it was Motor Trend that tested both.
What was shocking was how quick the S85 was once past 30mph. To 30 it was behind by .6 sec. Which is substantial. However it was loosing only about .1 sec for each 10 mph segment to the P85 between 30 and 100.

lph | 6 maart 2013

Motor trend clocked 3.9 sec in Elons car. The very first test MT did.
Brian h.
You are correct, Tesla (and suspect other EVs) is the only car that is quicker 5-60 than 0-60. The test is designed to cutout dropping the clutch in ICE and is more representative of real day to day performance.
Here the P85 is up there with the likes of the Nissan GTR!

info | 6 maart 2013

I have the standard model. Shortly before my build I asked if I could upgrade to P and was told that I would be taken out of the line and would wait a lot longer. I'm not sure why.

I considered several factors. The first was the 21" wheels that I didn't want. I was told that I could get 19" wheels as a "no cost option". This didn't seem fair as they are a $3,500 option. So, Tesla would take my 21's and give me someone's 19's and charge someone else $3,500.

As I have gotten used to the speed, it doesn't seem as fast. I would rather have the performance. It's only money. But money may be important. I made a value judgement that the incremental thrill was not worth the substantial investment.

I miss the performance edition when I'm showing off. Other than that, the Standard is fine. My suggestion to you is to get the performance if money is no object. I used the money I saved to put a reservation on a Model X for my wife. Maybe she'll get the performance?

TikiMan | 6 maart 2013


"Tesla Supercar"? I didn't hear about that? Is there a link to the prototype, or specs for it?

Either way, I have the P85 Sig, and after blowing away many quarter-million dollar exotics, I don't know how Tesla can really make another EV any more super? (well, other than maybe a smaller two seat sportcar, with the same motor as the P85). It would be cool though if they did build a two-seater with a more exotic looking body though.

JoeFee | 6 maart 2013

@TikiMan | MARCH 6, 2013 NEW

"Tesla Supercar"? I didn't hear about that? Is there a link to the prototype, or specs for it?”

No formal announcement yet but Elon has hinted about after the Gen3 a super car would be a possibility:

Discussion here:

M5toMS | 6 maart 2013

I placed my reservation a week-and-a-half ago, in DC, with the intention of getting the S85. I've been driving a BMW M5 since I bought it new in 2000. So I'm familiar with a (ICE) performance experience. In my experience, the driving scenarios in which I could actually leverage top-end acceleration are relatively few, and usually involve some prayer that law enforcement isn't in the vicinity.

So I'm really curious what S85 owners think who have previously driven ICE performance cars. I don't want to take a big step down in performance, but I don't want to get the P just to wow the occasional passenger. :-)

Docjay | 6 maart 2013


I went from an '08 M5 to the P85. There is no comparison off the line, or imo, 40-80. The Tesla is far, far the more thrilling, powerful ride in real-world scenarios!!!!!

The only reason not to get the P is that one simply can't afford it. I find myself goosing it for no reason whatsoever except the neck-jerk and gut-wrench. :-D

In fact I do it at every opportunity! It is made all the sweeter by my knowing that all that heavy foot doesn't cost me a damn thing. BWHAHAHAHA!

Get the P, you will never. ever. regret it.

Lush1 | 8 maart 2013

I have a mere 60 and it's plenty for me. I'm no wimp behind the wheel. I'm alert, decisive, defensive and assertive but not aggressive. I've been to racing and driving schools and raced electric and gas go karts. I rarely put the go pedal to the floor in the Model S, especially from a stand still. The power to pass on highways is breathtaking and far better than any ICE I've driven. I can scarcely imagine piloting a P85 and don't lust for the extra grunt, but hey, it's a marvel and I can understand the appeal. A P85 would have cost more than I wanted to spend, but I could have found a way to swing it if I had felt the need. The Tesla replaced a CLK 500, which I truly loved, but sadly, now find lacking. I know how unsympathetic and silly that sounds. Performance or not, the Model S is an amazing machine and hard to compare to a gas burner. Driving a Tesla, any Tesla, profoundly changes a person. (Your Smilage May Vary)

Vern110 | 8 maart 2013

After the last firmware upgrade P85 0-60 dropped from 4.4 to 3.9 sec.
There is a difference btw P85 and 85, but unless you are willing to fork out another 10K for 0.5 sec, then go with the 85. That being said, I told myself the same thing initially, until I test drove the P85 and the 85, with out a hesitation went with the P85. Use to own an M5 (V10, 500hp), not even close to the exhilaration the P85 has.