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P 85 test drive driver's seat impressions

P 85 test drive driver's seat impressions

Finally got to test drive the MS at the Scottsdale dealership. Coming from an E 63 AMG I was very impressed ( read: blown away!)- enough to decide to get one. My biggest issue however was the drivers seat. Coming from a car with active side bolstering and infinitely better adjustability I was very disappointed. The car I test drove did have performance seats but was not a P 85 +. My question is for those of you with the plus- are the seats any better? I was pleasantly surprised by the interior quality though- give all that I have read on the forums, both good and bad about the overall interior quality of the MS. I wouldn't buy the MS without the plus, its just way too floaty otherwise. I have heard that Tesla is making changes to the seats in 2015- should I wait? My other option is the Panamera GTS and when it comes to this issue( driver's seat) the Panny rules. In all others its Tesla all the way.

sule | 5 juli 2014

In terms of comfort, I believe, all Tesla seats are the same.

That said, it may take a fee additional adjustments and getting used to before it starts feeling 'right'.

I wouldn't get the "Panny" as, as you also say, Tesla rules in all other respects, even if you don't like this one.

torst1 | 5 juli 2014

Get a pair of Merc AMG seats and place them in your new Tesla. Problem solved. The seats have been an issue for what two years now and still no better seating or even an option to have real sports seats or extra comfy ones like the BMW.

Merc seats are what I miss most after I sold the w211 E. The feel of the hi qual leather, the many adjustments and the solid and overall quality of that leather. I'd done close to 200K km when I sold it and even the driver seat looked like it was brand new. Now leather crinkle, no "ass print" in the foaming, and no noticeable wear and tear of the seats. Truly the best seats I ever had both in comfort, adjustability, durability and overall build quality.

I wouldn't think twice about ripping out those cheap Tesla seats and replace them with proper Merc seats. On the plus side that will make the original Tesla seats look brand new when you one day sell your Tesla.

EdwardG.NO2CO2 | 5 juli 2014

Is a custom re upholstery job out of the question? Some good custom guys out there that could satisfy your requirements I am sure!

Bighorn | 5 juli 2014

@Edward
Based on Elon's comments about the complexity associated with modifying the seat ie making it not only recognize a presence, but titrating an air bag response to weight, I'd say an upholsterer won't be up to the task. As to the OP, I've not compared my P85+ seat to any other, but I think they're all basically the same. I don't think a test drive necessarily does the seat justice. Many of us that have logged marathon seat time have found them very forgiving. I think it's somewhat analogous to first trying a mattress that seems too firm, yet ends up giving you your best night's sleep with no back pain the next morning.

EdwardG.NO2CO2 | 5 juli 2014

@torst1, you slipped in ahead so would like to mention the Tesla heated seats and driver sensing system should be considered a possible incompatibility problem. Even though replacing the Tesla seats may better in some ways keeping the systems intact may be the only option. It is possible the Merc AMG Seats would be compatible but who knows for sure. Hence my suggestion above.

Rish | 5 juli 2014

I was going to get the Performance Seats...and asked the differences, as I was not impressed with the standard seat. The sales rep told me that the differences were only cosmetic and that the P Seats are just the same as the normal seats...just "lipstick" on them. I was somewhat disappointed.

Rish

carlk | 5 juli 2014

The seat in P85+ is the same. It's just fine for me who came from Prosche's sports seat (Cayman S).

dlake | 5 juli 2014

Yes, Tesla's seats could and should be better (Elon even said so), but test drives don't allow one adequate time to adjust the seat properly. Although I didn't fiddle with seat adjustment everyday, I struggled with adjusting mine. Finally after about 2 months I got it right. Depending on cost, I might still consider upgrading when Tesla offers new front seats.
However, the other features of the car far outweigh the seat issue.
Still best car ever.

Dramsey | 5 juli 2014

@torst1: I wouldn't think twice about ripping out those cheap Tesla seats and replace them with proper Merc seats.

Yeah, that's not really gonna be feasible. Aside from the custom brackets you'd have to have made, most of the Merc seats' features wouldn't work in the Tesla, since they depend on communicating with the car's computer.

The airbags won't work, either. Not just the seat air bags, but certainly the passenger air bag (which depends on detecting someone in the passenger seat to be enabled) and possibly the driver air bag as well.

Kleist | 5 juli 2014

The seats... how many times has that been discussed - seems like some love it and some don't love it.
I love them and when you make the seats like Mercedes seats then I will hate them.
A furniture store has how many couches?... unfortunately Tesla comes only with one couch.

Mark K | 5 juli 2014

I was very used to massive magnesium framed Mercedes SL perforated leather seats. They were very good, and I was incredulous about the Model S seats.

But I've had a couple Model S's for over a year, and I actually love the seats now. When I go back into my SL, it seems old school, and actually doesn't feel as good anymore.

We acclimate to something new, and then it seems normal to us.

There is no way I would drive the Mercedes because of its seats. The Model S is just a way superior ride.

LEvans | 5 juli 2014

I wish along with the steering wheel and other interior components, Tesla bought the seats from Mercedes -- preferably the S Class :)

We also have an E class (550) and found the seats disappointing. I found the Tesla seats tolerable but my girlfriend hated them but apart from the seats and uninspiring wood trim we loved everything else about the Model S. So much that we feel a P85 is a better car than anything made by Mercedes at any price. We do hope they upgrade the interior and seats as they continue to perfect the Model S.

I bet the new seats are just months away. They do know the seats suck. Elon has admitted this himself during the Norway town hall.

swakyaby | 5 juli 2014

I ordered a Model S June 27 and was told by the "ownership advisor" that it would come with the newly upgraded seats when it is delivered in September.

Kleist | 6 juli 2014

"Elon has admitted this..." - would Elon argue with a customer about a seat? NO.

Brian H | 6 juli 2014

sudre;
A few adjustments won't require a fee. ;p

Dwdnjck@ca | 6 juli 2014

I hate the active side bolstering in my wife's E-Class. I turn off the feature whenever I have to drive her car for any distance. I am not racing the car and see no need for active bolstering on every curve, no matter how benignly it is driven. The seats are too snug and become too warm over time. The model S does not need this type of bolstering because of its much lower center off gravity. It just doesn't lean on curves like the Mercedes. I hate it so much that I spent $13500 to upgrade my 40 to a 60 and add supercharging so I will never have to drives my wife' car on road trips again.

torst1 | 6 juli 2014

@Dramsey
You said:
Yeah, that's not really gonna be feasible. Aside from the custom brackets you'd have to have made, most of the Merc seats' features wouldn't work in the Tesla, since they depend on communicating with the car's computer.

The airbags won't work, either. Not just the seat air bags, but certainly the passenger air bag (which depends on detecting someone in the passenger seat to be enabled) and possibly the driver air bag as well.

When you go to highly skilled car customer they can alter and manipulate almost anything, and if not they will whip and hammer things to shape.

Brackets are such an easy task for any one that work customization is not even worth mentioning. I think you see the obstacles rather then the possible gain from getting great looking seats that will meet your every need.

Airbags are mounted in Merc seats also. So I guess it is all about a sensor or something. Use the sensor from your donor Merc. Or better make your car tailor figure it out.

Seats control and memory function should really be as easy as grabbing the controls also from the donor car. Maybe if you like all functions like auto retract seat when parking to ease the climb out you must tap into OBC, but I am fairly sure it would be doable to get all functions working including memory settings.

Go talk to a custom car company with highly skilled people and I am sure you will surprised.

torst1 | 6 juli 2014

@Dramsey
You said:
Yeah, that's not really gonna be feasible. Aside from the custom brackets you'd have to have made, most of the Merc seats' features wouldn't work in the Tesla, since they depend on communicating with the car's computer.

The airbags won't work, either. Not just the seat air bags, but certainly the passenger air bag (which depends on detecting someone in the passenger seat to be enabled) and possibly the driver air bag as well.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

I think you are all wrong mate.

When you go to highly skilled car customer they can alter and manipulate almost anything, and if not they will whip and hammer things to shape.

Brackets are such an easy task for any one that work customization is not even worth mentioning. I think you see the obstacles rather then the possible gain from getting great looking seats that will meet your every need.

Airbags are mounted in Merc seats also. So I guess it is all about a sensor or something. Use the sensor from your donor Merc. Or better make your car tailor figure it out.

Seats control and memory function should really be as easy as grabbing the controls also from the donor car. Maybe if you like all functions like auto retract seat when parking to ease the climb out you must tap into OBC, but I am fairly sure it would be doable to get all functions working including memory settings.

Go talk to a custom car company with highly skilled people and I am sure you will surprised.

torst1 | 6 juli 2014

@Mark K
It is not about driving a Tesla or Driving a Mercedes.
It's about tailor the Tesla to meet your needs. Why settle for seats that are under par? Even if there are techy bits in the Tesla seats some smart electronic or data guru for sure will find a way around those problems. And as few companies really do any heavy Tesla mods bringing your Tesla to well known customizer just might be a challenge they would grab with both hands.

Remember, they need their portfolio as well. If they can tell customer that they have made grand customization to a Tesla that is yet another star for them.

LEvans | 6 juli 2014

@Kleist wrote:

"Elon has admitted this..." - would Elon argue with a customer about a seat? NO.

---

Actually, the answer would be yes. While Elon agreed with the person who complained about the seats and admitted the seats are not what they should be he disagreed with the person who complained about the upgraded audio system. He told that person the Model S has one of the best audio systems he has experienced in a production car. So I don't think he has a rule about not arguing with a customer per se and I think he generally speaks his mind. Which is a good thing.

My only hope with this upgraded seat is that this time they allow an ergonomic expert to design the seat rather than a designer who just wanted to make then look cool. Or they should just buy the seats from the Mercedes S class with the massage and ventilation functionality :)

bevguy | 7 juli 2014

The Tesla seats are fine in the real world. I just finished a 2 1/2 hour non stop trip and arrived without any fanny fatigue. Anybody who can do 3 hours or more non stop must have a really big bladder.
In the real world they feel better than on a short test drive. That's not to say they couldn't be improved, going from good to t great., But hopefully not with a lot of side bolsters, and I wouldn't pay 10 cents for massage ability, though ventilation (A/C cooling) might be nice. One thing I have noticed is that they don't seem to be as critical in terms of exact adjustment as some cars i've driven.

renwo S alset | 7 juli 2014

Yeah, they may be fine in the real world, but have they fixed the painful rectal itch that they are causing?
(see SF white paper for details on this issue and many others).

jcaspar1 | 7 juli 2014

If you want to reduce the floaty feeling, consider a P85 without the air suspension (ie: coils). I think you will find it less floaty than the air suspension. It certainly hugs the road better than my mom's CLS55AMG.

Kleist | 7 juli 2014

@WEB_SRFR - as I said before, for me the seats are perfect. Put a Mercedes seat in there and I will complain ( buy another car ). People are not made the same...

Disagreeing and arguing have a different meaning.

LEvans | 7 juli 2014

@Kleist: I'm so glad you are happy with the current seats. Good for you :) Many including Elon seem to agree the seats should be better and offer more support. The seats are being redesigned.

So when it comes time for your next Tesla maybe you can special order it with the older seats so you don't have to buy another manufacturer's car because maintaining the feel of the current seats is so important to you :)

JAD | 7 juli 2014

I have to agree these seats don't make a great first impression, but living with them they always seem comfortable and I have never been so fresh when I arrive. They may be better than they seem :-!

Kleist | 7 juli 2014

@WEB_SRFR - that is nonsense to order it with the older seats. Throwing Elon in there is silly too. I have no issue improvements, but throwing in the - for me - crappy Mercedes seats ( and we have one dust collecting example in our drive way ) is nonsense too. Please don't get me wrong... my wife and I do not agree on the firmness of the bed. Options are fine, offer different seats... my only concern is that the "softy" mafia ruins the seats for the folks that like it a bit more firm. That it, nothing else...

Kleist | 7 juli 2014

@JAD - exactly. Driving 9 hours from the Bay Area to San Diego in the MS you feel no seating discomfort, I have done it our Mercedes and I wanted to get out in Gilroy... if we only had the Mercedes I would be flying tonSan Diego. And not be misunderstood - test driving the MS is was not convinced at all about the seats, but actually driving often long distances for the last 18 months - now I am a convert.

stephen.kamichik | 8 juli 2014

I drove over 300 miles in 51 hours. The seats were excellent. No back pain and no fatigue.

GAGSTESLA | 8 juli 2014

I got the Recaro performance seats in my CTS-V coupe. You should read the comments about them in the Cad forum. Some love them, some like the standard better. I would rather go on a long drive in the S seats than one in the V with the Recaro's.

I like the seats in the S, they are different, yet I like the way they feel. I like the openness of the S VS the "cockpit" of the V. Hmmm, seems like I only buy alphabet cars. V's, S's,.....

AmpedRealtor | 8 juli 2014

I have always had lower back pains in my Prius when driving for more than an hour. The Model S seats fit me perfectly. I can drive for hours without any problems. While the seats may not look like the overstuffed pillow boats that you see in other cars of this price, they are very comfortable for long trips.

While there is always room for improvement, I find the complaints about the seats to be overblown.

renwo S alset | 8 juli 2014

Like so many things in life and specifically automobiles, what's familiar is what's considered best. If it doesn't look like what you are used to (overstuffed) it is considered inferior unless you take the time to really try it. Test drives don't give an adequate amount of time to realize that different might just be better.

Haeze | 8 juli 2014

I have owned my Model S for a year now, and I really like how comfortable the Model S seats are for long drives. Unfortunately, for spirited driving they severely lack in side bolster support.

If I never took a corner at increased speed, I would be delighted with the seats. Thing is, people who drive the car in a sporty fashion will not like its (lack of) side support.

Also, to the OP: You do not have to wait. Elon has already said the new seats will be an available add-on for any existing Model S. You will be able to upgrade to them when they are released.

LEvans | 8 juli 2014

I think it matters whether you are talking about the front or the rear seats. I find the front seats to be tolerable on an otherwise great car but consider the comfort of the rear seats to be absolutely awful. My girlfriend hated them and told me they offered very little if any support and felt more like a bench.

I'm sure plenty of people are satisfied and feel okay about driving in the seats they are but from other vehicles I have owned I know the level of comfort can be vastly improved, especially for the rear seat occupants.

I'm glad they are taking customer feedback about this seriously and are redesigning the seats. So OP, it's only a matter of time until your issue with the seats is no longer an issue. Place an order and enjoy the world's best car :)

GAGSTESLA | 8 juli 2014

So web_srfr, your girlfriend rides in the back? Have you even bought a Model S yet? The back seat is like a bench? Oh my, you crack me up coming to this forum time after time moaning about the seats, interior, etc.

Bighorn | 8 juli 2014

I think it's accurate to say that the most vocal critics of the seats are non-owners, with presumably very little seat time. No malice--just my observation.

ScoobyDoo | 8 juli 2014

I have zero issues with the seats. They're comfortable, look good and have ample support (lubar, tilt, etc.).

renwo S alset | 8 juli 2014

I find that side support is not an issue, it's called the seat belt. Seems to hold me in place just fine.

Haeze | 8 juli 2014

@renwo S alseT
I find that my torso is not two-and-a-half feet wide to match the seat, it is called being skinny. I slide back and forth under the belt, and my upper torso is not supported laterally at all.

Please watch the condescending tone of your posts. You will get back what you give.

renwo S alset | 8 juli 2014

Sorry Haeze, nothing condescending intended, simply stated a fact as I see it. "You will get back what you give." should I consider that a threat?

ultrarunner | 8 juli 2014

Thanks for all the posts- here's my FINAL take on this : any " sports sedan" that has " performance seats" and charges extra for them, with absolutely no lateral support and no thigh support for long drives- like the European cars do- is not getting it right. I'm a skinny runner and I was slipping and sliding all over the seat. I won't even get to the active bolstering/ massage function/ ventilated seat functions that comparable cars have. I'm glad Elon has listened and that Tesla is working on it. If I'm spending 100k PLUS on a sedan it all has to be right!
I will miss the massage function though- after a brutal day in the OR its so relaxing....

GAGSTESLA | 8 juli 2014

Have fun in your Porsche!

Kleist | 8 juli 2014

@ultrarunner - even a $15k car has to be right... buy the car that fits you best.

I am sitting tall and the 2012 class of gasoline cars was for me a total disaster... 90% of the offerings my head hit the roof. I can't lean back further, because then my arms don't reach the steering wheel. We went from A to Z and nothing fit... talk about ergonomics, somebody must have slept on the job. Just for fun I sat in a Tesla in a showroom - surprise 3 inches space between my head and the roof... and that got it all started. After the test drive I called the front seats "spaceship toilets"... not my favorite part of the car. 18 months later I am converted and the front seats are one of my most pleasant feature of the car. Side support - you are right... it is lacking. What today I enjoy most about the Model S is the calmness of driving - nothing comes even close. I see it most in my wife... when she drives her Mercedes it is always push, push... when she drives the Model S she is so calm and relaxed because the MS is so willing to do what she wants.
Rears seats... I don't even fit in the rear - so web_srfr is probably right. Model S is a hatchback, not a sedan... in a sedan I would expect great rear seats.

Red Sage ca us | 9 juli 2014

Seat belt buckled. Two hands on the steering wheel. Left foot on the dead pedal.

Sorted.

Brian H | 10 juli 2014

As with many aspects of the MS, it turns out with time that the Tesla designers did a far better job than a) the competition, and b) new users or c) those used to standard standards are willing to give credit for,!

AndyO | 10 juli 2014

@Brian H. +++

LEvans | 10 juli 2014

@GAGSTESLA: So web_srfr, your girlfriend rides in the back? Have you even bought a Model S yet? The back seat is like a bench? Oh my, you crack me up coming to this forum time after time moaning about the seats, interior, etc.

--

What's up with your attitude? We are discussing the seats of the Model S and how many, including Mr. Musk himself, agree that the seats needs to be designed better. Relax, it is a seat and some people are not satisfied with how they are designed. No one insulted your first born child or your religion.

Your retort to me agreeing with the OP and many other who had chimed is to make some asinine comment about my girlfriend finding the back seat uncomfortable? If you must know we test drove a Model S a couple of times since we decided to buy one and the Tesla representative sat up front and my girlfriend sat in the back. What does this have absolutely anything to with what we are talking about other than the fact that she felt the rear seat felt like it was a bench and the backrest was uncomfortable. She's entitled to her opinion.

And have I bought a Model S yet? No, I am waiting for AWD and my E550 would do until then. Any who are you to question when I buy my next car? I have posted many times over that I consider the Model S to be finest car in the world but AWD is a must have feature for me. Do people question you and your decisions to buy a car based on the features you want in your car? Maybe you should step out of your soap box and offer others the same courtesy.

Oh and I crack you up do I? God forbid anyone have any preferences contrary to what you are satisfied with. Yes, I feel the interior and the seats of the Model S needs to be better and this sentiment is shared by many other forum members.

The Model S can be the best car in the world and there could still be room for improvement. This is a public forum where fans of the Model S talk about what they life and wish was different about the car. Try to get that through to your head while you are cracking up :)

GAGSTESLA | 10 juli 2014

@WEB_SRFR,

Lighten up man, sorry if you did not get my humor. We all know there are things you don't like about the S. You say so every chance you can. You don't own one yet, so your comments do not hold much weight with me. After you drive it for a period of time, you just might change your mind.

This car may not be for everyone, I don't think the car for everyone has ever been built and probably never will be. No matter what MOST people like, there will be SOME that want something in it changed.

As for me, the model S already is the best car in the world. Will there be improvements? Of course there will be. Some of what you are asking for will be improved. I would imagine after those are done SOMEONE will not like those either.

renwo S alset | 10 juli 2014

WEB_SRFR. "my E550 would do until then" why not hang out there and express all your opinions there?

GAGSTESLA | 10 juli 2014

+1-renwo S alseT,

I will bet WEB_SRFR goes on and on about how great the S is on the MB forum there. Also, that he can't wait to ditch his E550 when Tesla decides to make the car he wants. The MB forums can't wait....

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