Help me finalize my option

Help me finalize my option

I just got my invitation, and want to lock in my options by the end of the week. It's looking like I may be spending double what I have ever spent on a car before, and am looking for ways to cut back. Here's how I am leaning:

60 kwh (firmly decided)
Tan interior w/matte obeche wood

Tech package -- leaning towards it, although it does not seem like a good value.

Sound studio package -- leaning towards it, although I have heard very mixed opinions on it. Dolby 7.1 for music doesn't make much sense. Anyone know of good after-market alternatives?

Active air suspension -- this was one of the things I was going to give up in order to save money. However, no one has ever driven the car without it, and won;t get a chance to for several months. Because of that, and the fact that I can get my car two months earlier by getting this option, I'll probably get it.

Supercharging -- leaning against it. I wouldn't get much use out of it now, but I wonder if I would regret it in 3-5 years if supercharging stations are much more prevalent (and not spaced according to a 85 kwh battery). I know they say this is not something that can be added later, but do you really think that's true? Surely a few years from now they can figure out a way to add it.

appljd | 4 december 2012

I would keep the tech package. You want the automatic trunk opening and the keyless entry. I would drop the sound studio package. You don't need 3000 songs... just use your iPhone. I would also keep the supercharger option. Also keep in mind the resale value of the car for the next owner.

JohhnyS | 4 december 2012

I debated over the tech package but decided it was sort of silly to have the 17" monitor without it. I also went for the air suspension although I did not plan on it originally. I think the superchargers are a fantastic idea and we plan on using them as much as possible.

riceuguy | 4 december 2012

I completely agree with jdman...Tech Package is severely overpriced, but the nav on the dashboard is a major safety item (along with I assume voice directions), and I suspect the tech package will keep getting better over time via updates (e.g., the auto handle extension in the latest update). I also think the sound studio is a very discretionary item (I'm skipping it), and not having the superchargers would be a major bummer later (and may be a real dealbreaker when you eventually sell or even if you upgrade the battery down the will definitely not be a post-sale option as it is built into the guts of the system). As for the air suspension, I'm skipping it and hopping for the best; I don't have snow where I am, and plan to go slow getting into my driveway!

Brian H | 5 december 2012


I'm hoping the standard suspension won't have you hopping! That could be dangerous.

ddruz | 5 december 2012

@Bennett R.--I am also getting the 60 kWh pack and debated all your questions as this car is so expensive. Since you have asked for input here are my two cents for your consideration:

Tech Package - There is nothing here you cannot live without. If money is seriously an object this item can be dropped. However, I agree with the above comments that not having a nav system on such a high tech car borders on unacceptable. I personally configured with Tech for the nav system alone but am not the least bit happy having to pay $3750 for it.

Sound Package - Definitely can do without if money is an object.

Air Suspension - I realize that virtually everyone is getting this option. But if you feel your other cars with standard suspension have ridden just fine, unless you have poor roads, steeply angled driveways and/or a lot of snow you might be able to let this one pass. I personally opted against it and am certain I'll be delighted with the Model S standard suspension. If you are just configuring now with a 60 kWh pack the standard suspension may not add an appreciable delay since it begins production in March.

Pano roof - You did not list this as an option you are getting. Please reconsider. IMHO this is the first option anyone buying a Model S should entertain. It transforms the car from a 2 seater into a 5 seater. The back seat headroom without the pano roof is "abysmal" to use the word of one of the on line reviewers. With the pano roof, however, rear seat headroom is very acceptable for most folks. Please seriously consider the pano roof before the air suspension or leather interior if you can only afford one or two of these $1500 options.

Supercharging - IMO this is very much more worth the money than nearly any other option except the pano roof. The exceptions would be if you are absolutely certain you will own the car less than about three years or will never drive any long distances after the two to three years it will take for Tesla to cover the country with supercharging stations. In those cases it may not be worthwhile except on resale.

Leather interior - Though you have listed this as a definite option, you might consider the textile interior to save $1500. If you are OK with the piano black dash and don't need heated seats or seat memory the textile is very nice indeed. I personally opted for the textile and saved another $1500.

Good luck and best wishes in your decisions.

Koz | 5 december 2012

Tech package- Hard choice for me but chose against it. I don't care for Nav or Homelink and the car is keyless entry either way except handles will automatically extend without touch with the package. The powered hatch lid will be missed.

Sound Studio- As I understand it, the sound quality is better. Music storage space isn't a big deal for me but perhaps that storage could be useful for other future upgrades. If someone knows differently about the sound quality improvement, please speak up

Active Air Suspension- This is supposed to improve ride quality but also highway range. I'ld be interested to know more specifics about range improvement, i.e. what is the kWh difference at 65 and 70 mph?

mrspaghetti | 5 december 2012


I know they say this is not something that can be added later, but do you really think that's true? Surely a few years from now they can figure out a way to add it.

Not likely. The internal wiring has to be heavier gauge for supercharger-capable cars, so it would be big undertaking to add it. Tesla has stated in no uncertain terms that it will not be available as an add-on.

dorseka | 5 december 2012

Do you need the upgraded sound system in order to receive XM/Sirius? That should be standard. Don't see myself stopping on the road to raise up the car for a steep driveway.

MB3 | 5 december 2012

Before I went bonkers and got everything, my priority was active air (function first), tech package (convenience and coolness), sound (last because nothing sounds superb in a moving car). Supercharge wasn't yet announced, and by the time it was, I already decided I'd go performance. If I had the 60, I might prefer to use a different car for long distance travel (depending on the future SC placements)

stephen.kamichik | 5 december 2012

My wife and I can sit in the back seat without the pano-roof. I am not getting the pano-roof. Go to a show room and see if you can sit in the back seat of a model S without the pano-roof.

I am getting the air suspension and tech package (for the xenon headlights).

mrspaghetti | 5 december 2012


The back seat only matters for passengers. Personally, I can't remember ever riding in the back seat of my own car and I'm certainly not about to change that after getting a Model S.

So perspective buyers might want to investigate the headroom in the back seat if they have a frequent back-seat passenger or a child who is taller than about 6'2".

ViewAskew | 5 december 2012

This is from George B. I think this will help you with your question about Super Charging. Hope the link works....

As far as the rest...

Hopefully my S will arrive tomorrow (that's what I'm told) so this is based off what I read and what makes since to me as an automotive designer.

1.) Tech Package - Outside of the nice touches it's really not a must have. Don't get me wrong, I feel you'll miss out on a lot of things that make the S, well, and S! No Xenon headlamps, Turn-by-turn navigation, Power rear lift gate, just the little things. However, if you're looking at it from a financial standpoint it's not needed.

2.) Pano Roof - Even though you didn't mention I agree with In my opinion from a comfort standpoint you'll realize leaving this off will be a mistake.

3.) Air Susp - Get it. Ride quality is night and day from the haves and have not automobiles.

4.) Sound Package - I purchased it simply for storage. I have some 5300+ songs. I would like to load the thing and just have whatever type of music I feel like hearing at my fingertips. Outside of that... everyone is right, Dolby 7.1 is pointless.

I hope some of this helps.

s_curve | 5 december 2012

@Bennett R - Since you will likely get opinions on both sides of every single option, my advice is to just do you, dude. Sure, folks here can give you info you might not have considered. However, you know your lifestyle, your aesthetic tastes, your personal style, budget, and what you value better than anyone on this forum. Thats all you need to finalize your own list of options that you will be happy with.

Final piece of advice, before you tack an option on to your list or scratch one off, I'd urge you to stop by your local Tesla store get the Associate to assist you in seeing / hearing that option in action, rank them all, then prioritize based on what you think your budget can stand.

Hogfighter | 5 december 2012

Tech package - yes. For what there is now, and more down the road.

Sound system - no. Regular sound is good enough.

Air suspension - no. Don't need it, won't ever miss it.

Supercharging - depends on where you live. I'd say yes for resale, and for what may be down the road.

Best of luck!

Captain_Zap | 5 december 2012

I'm chiming in on the pano roof, supercharging and a couple other issues.

We didn't get a pano roof and we don't miss it, but the sun rarely shines here and we forget that we have a sunroof in the cars we have. Head space hasn't been an issue for anyone in the front or rear. I think that it may have been improved upon it since the betas. I almost got a pano for the headroom but opted out on it once I got some first hand experience with the hard top. It does help with sound and acoustics as well.

I would be concerned about getting a 60kWh without supercharging capability. It could be a re-sale issue since supercharging is a major reason why some make the move up from a 40 to a 60.

I'd do without the bells and whistles before I would strip down the basic car's performance.

The jury is still out on the audio system since it is still being improved upon. I'm a stickler about my music playing properly. At the same time after market may be a problem with Tesla's power system. I know there was some previous discussion on that. You might look that up by using or check it out at Tesla Motors Club.

I wasn't sure about the tech package but I like it now that we have it. I'm not sure it is worth that price tag though. Jury is still out on that one too. The garage door opening is cool as are some of the other features. The nav system has entertained us at times. We were sitting in a ferry line over the holiday and entered a destination. It wanted to drive 45+ minutes north and get onto a different ferry that has longer lines and smaller boats. It wouldn't let us alter the route it chose but it adjusted our route once we got to the other side. I'm sure that will get better with time though.

Air suspension is a necessity to get into our driveway. It isn't a hassle for us to use it because we are used to being forced to swing into the driveway at extreme angles to prevent front air dam scrapes. We used it for getting on and off the ferry during extreme tides too.

Brian H | 5 december 2012

Very useful.
Hope you continue to win arguments with Nav! Being misdirected is a terrible thing.

TINO F | 5 december 2012

Has anyone heard the standard system? I felt the Sound Package was just okay, but I was also a studio musician during college many years ago. I also understand that there is ongoing work on the sound package, but back to original question.....

pbrulott | 5 december 2012

Anyone knows if the Supercharger harware will be able to handle other standards being rolled out in the future (ChaDeMo or else. if that is the case then it is a no brainer.

Debating if I should get it or not as I believe SC will not be rolled out anytime soon in Canada. It is close to $2500 tax in... I intend to do mostly city driving or country driving within 70 miles and 10 times a year 160 miles. So I don't think SC option is going to be necessary.

stephen.kamichik | 5 december 2012

pbrulott...Should be as long as you have an adapter.

Bennett R. | 5 december 2012

Wow! I didn't expect so many responses when checking back after just one day -- thanks!

I'm going to try to comment on several of the comments I received:

Panoramic roof: not really a consideration. I don't use my current sunroof much, and the fact that it only blocks 81% of the heat doesn't sound so good on a hot summer day in Dallas. I did notice the lack of headroom when you lean back in the back seat, and it did bother me, but I don't have people in my backseat often enough for it to be a concern. Also, we have a short family.

Tech package: it seems to be more or less a consensus among those that are getting it that it is overpriced, but there are 1-3 things that make them get it anyway. One thing I had not thought of until a couple of people mentioned it was that it could get better over time with upgrades. Not fully sold yet, but still leaning in that direction.

Sound studio: I haven't heard anything about what you get if you don't get the sound package. Did I just miss that somewhere? It would be an easier decision (against it) if not for the complications of integrating an after-market system with the center console.

Supercharging: I thought I read somewhere that the distance between charging stations is going to be geared more to the 85kwh battery. In other words, if you have the 60 kwh (like I will), you may not have enough juice to get to the next station. Also, it may be a while before they get any in Texas.

Leather: at one time I was considering getting the textile seat instead to save money. I was convinced by others in my family that it wouldn't make sense to have a luxury car of that order and skimp on the interior.

Air suspension: I don't need it for snow or a steep driveway. The longer cruising range would be nice, but I'm thinking it won't amount to very much. However, I'm less comfortable than some of you with the idea of getting the standard suspension without ever having test driven it. Plus, it would be one of the first non-air suspensions produced, which increases the chances of issues. We have seen Tesla have to work through issues on a number of other things early on in production.

jbunn | 5 december 2012


Pano, air, tech, supercharger, leather. Yes
Skimp on audio.

I am also getting blue and tan with obeche, but wife wanted gloss. Oh well.

jTsD_ATX | 5 december 2012

What about paint armor? Are there good aftermarket options out there?

I am looking to get



Tan or Black Nappa (Definitely want seat memory and heated seats - from what i read both comes only for leather upgrades)

Air Suspension (better ride quality)

No Pano (Concerned about Texas heat,Tall friends in the back seat and also for better acoustics)

Studio Package (Has anyone checked both 200 and 580 Watt option?)



PeterBMN | 5 december 2012

Tech package - I asked Tesla Product Specialist today via email for some clarification and got a call back in about an hour. Impressed.

Nav - Is there nav without tech package? - YES, just not 'turn by turn'. Not certain exactly what it is, but be assured you still get basic GPS features.

Backup Camera - Is there a camera without tech pkg? - YES, just not "high def". I don't think I need hi def to tell me when I'm going to back into the basketball hoop in the driveway.

Keyless Entry - Is there keyless without tech pkg? YES, but you have to push the button (OMG!) you can't just walk up to the car and have it open for you. My wife's Highlander Ltd has this, and she still pushes the button. I would never say she's an old dog, but difficult to teach new tricks...


ddruz | 5 december 2012

@PeterBMN--Your information on the Nav without Tech package is at odds with what we have been repeatedly told so far. If it is correct it is entirely new and different.

Tesla has been emphatic that there will be no GPS installed in cars without the Tech package. There will be static route guidance via Google maps just like you can get on your home computer but there will be no navigation, no marker indicating your position on the map like on smartphone apps.

Would you mind double checking again with your rep? Ask him to respond to you by email in writing what type of "navigation" comes without the Tech package. There is a good chance a misunderstanding has occurred.

electricblue0303 | 5 december 2012

Don't cut corners for the supercharger option - order it - you will not regret it. When they are up and running in a couple years you will be able to go coast-to-coast virtually free of charge (i.e., no gas).

Yes, you're paying 2X what you've paid for a car previously. But your energy costs going forward will be negligible, and maintenance won't be very much either ($600/year - many cars are more than that).

DTsea | 5 december 2012

I would get the tech package (hi def rear camera, photochromic dimming side mirrors, power liftgate, self opening door handles... nice). Also a REAL Nav system- with database updated for 7 years- that can show turn by turn right next to the speedometer (not just over on the console screen). Seriously nifty... whereas google maps on big screen is just not as good.

I would also get supercharging- I think not having it would SERIOUSLY impact resalability plus when the superchargers are there you will want it. They are gearing it to the 60kWh range.... otherwise they wouldnt offer it for 60s. Note the '150 miles in 30 minutes' tag. They don't really want you tieing up the charger on 85kWh to fully charge. Why? Because Li-ion batteries charge up to a partial (50-75%) charge quickly but the last bit takes much longer. You see this on your phone charging if you watch it.

Pano roof- very nice if you are tall.

Sound system... meh. I just listen to books in car, I like the quiet ride myself so I don't need loud music.

DTsea | 5 december 2012

Oh and air suspension- it's a gotta have. You don't really want to ever scrape your battery on anything do you?

DTsea | 5 december 2012

The high def cam by the way is GREAT. You can leave it on WHILE YOU ARE DRIVING and it totally makes up for the poor rearview mirror visibility AND you have a good view out into blindspots. Very nice- not just a backup camera.

Brian H | 6 december 2012

The battery is not delicate; it has a steel shell. It is heavily reinforced, and a/the major contributor to body rigidity.

mbarontseff | 6 december 2012

Glad this thread was started... I'll have to finalize my model S soon, so this is great info in helping me decide what options to get.

jat | 6 december 2012

@BennettR - my guess is that the supercharger network will mostly be spaced for 85kWh batteries, but remember that the expected use is 50% charge in 30 minutes. So, I would expect that the 60kWh battery would be fine for most cases, but you will likely need to wait an hour (charging slows down as it gets more full) to get a more complete charge to get to the next one.

Regarding when, they have said that by the end of 2013 basically the entire US will be covered.

mrspaghetti | 6 december 2012


No Pano (Concerned about Texas heat,Tall friends in the back seat and also for better acoustics)

I just want to make sure you aren't misunderstanding - the pano roof increases head room, so if you're concerned about tall friends in the back seat, you want that option.

Brian H | 6 december 2012

Yeah, there's going to be a lot of that going around ...

Vawlkus | 6 december 2012

@the SC in Canada: it IS coming up here, it'll just take a year longer than the US. May not extend all the way north, but I'm willing to bet the Trans Canada will be getting it for sure.

jTsD_ATX | 6 december 2012


Yes that was a mistake, i realized it while i was falling asleep after posting..(dreaming model s) Thanks. Not worried about Tall friends in back seats is what i meant.

What do you think about the paint armor?

jat | 6 december 2012

@ddruz - I disagree that the backseat is unusable without the pano roof. At my test drive, I sat in the backseat and I was perfectly comfortable (I am 5'10 200#). During the test drive, one of my passengers was 6'3 250# and he had no problem either. So, I disagree that the pano roof is required to get acceptable headroom, at least unless you plan on driving Shaq around in the backseat :).

ddruz | 6 december 2012 comment is excellent in that it highlights how important it is for prospective buyers to actually sit in the back seats of cars with and without the pano roof and arrive at their own conclusions. There is a world of difference between the two roof options.

The average consensus of posts here and on TMC seems to be that the rear seat headroom without the pano roof is quite tight for most adults. I am 5'10". In the back seat without the pano roof I cannot not sit up straight without banging my head on the roof or sit in any comfortable position without seriously slouching--acceptable for short trips only. Yet I am fine with the pano roof.

Everyone sits differently and has different torso to leg ratios. Height alone is not the gauge. Prospective buyers should be aware that the rear seat headroom difference between the two roof options is dramatic. Because of this it behooves those who will have adult passengers riding in back to personally experience for themselves the rear seats of both options before making a decision.

pb32 | 6 december 2012

Thanks for starting the thread. I also want to finalize mine this week.

How about the 21" wheels vs. 19"? It seems pretty steep to fork over the $3500 for the 21's considering it reduces mileage. Is it really worth it for the look as it does look really nice with them on?

Bennett R. | 12 december 2012

I was hoping this thread might help me decide where to shave my costs down a bit, but I wound up going in the other direction. I did get the options I was already leaning towards -- blue color, leather interior, sound studio, tech package and active air suspension. Additionally, I wound up going with the supercharging option. I even seriously considered getting the panoramic roof, which I had ruled out a long time ago, but wound up not getting it.

I have very little will power, so I guess it's no surprise that I wound up getting more than I originally intended. Thanks for all your comments!

MB3 | 12 december 2012

Bennett R. You are a model of restraint. I started where you where and went with everything you did, then added the pano, then the 85 then the P85.

Brian H | 13 december 2012

"Go big or go home."

OCMS | 13 december 2012

Are you done at this point?

OCMS | 13 december 2012

Just saw this thread, agree with you decisions, except I would add the pano roof!

Onamort | 26 december 2012

glossy obeche wood brings out the browns in the wood matte brings out the grey colors in the wood ....... with the Tan interior go with glossy