Seats and Headrests

Seats and Headrests

Disclaimer: Names of automotive brands other than Tesla may appear below. No offense is intended by this unfortunate necessity

It appears from photos that the headrest in the Model S is molded to the seat back. Since that's a non-starter, are there any plans in the works to upgrade the seats to provide an optional articulated headrest (as in BMW, Mercedes, Infiniti, etc., etc.) that moves up and down as well as tilting forward and back, to allow drivers to attain a customized comfortable position for long-distance driving? (We all anticipate the distances to get longer with the fast chargers.)

In a related question, I'm 6'3" and found that when upgrading from aging Volvo and Mercedes, all the Acura and Lexus models failed to qualify in terms of headroom (not into feeling my hair constantly brushing against the ceiling/sunroof); since I didn't want an SUV, I went with a Nissan Motors sedan product, largely for the generous headroom. If Model S headroom is comparable to Lexus (or less), that will be another immediate disqualifier, same as with any exotic sports car--I know NBA and NFL players own them, but they can't be comfortable packed in there like a jack-in-the-box.

Does anyone know how the Model S compares in the headroom department?

archibaldcrane | 13 december 2012

At 6'3 you'd definitely be a bit uncomfortable in the backseat. However in the front seat you should be ok, unless you have Conan O'Brien hair, in which case an entirely different conversation needs to be had :)

petero | 13 december 2012

hyjyljyj. Forget soliciting opinions, you need to sit in the "S!"

shs | 13 december 2012

I'm 6'6" and I have absolutely no problem with headroom in the front seat in a Model S with a pano roof. I often need to sit in the back of our current Highlander Hybrid with my wife driving (she is 5'6") if we have a guest that is not comfortable sitting in back, so my ability to sit in back of a Model S was a critical part of our buying decision. I can sit in the back on a Model S equipped with a pano roof without my head touching though it is close. Without a pano roof there would be no way as the pano roof seems to add at least an inch of headroom.

hyjyljyj | 13 december 2012

Petero: Forget soliciting opinions, you need to sit in the "S!"

OK, I shall try to forget soliciting opinions about the Tesla automobile, here in the...Tesla automobile forum. (I must say this site certainly features a consistent number of interesting and colorful characters anxious to tell others in no uncertain terms what they need and do not need.)

Of course, Petero, you are correct in that nothing beats the personal touch, and I eventually may very well get into the car itself. But doing it this way is far easier, since lots of folks simply can't pop down to the corner Tesla dealer and jump in for a test drive. Huzzah for the internet!

Example: If shs is 6'6" and has no problem, that's encouraging...and required two minutes and no long-distance travel to learn.

lajollan | 13 december 2012


Try finding an articulating headrest in a Porsche, particularly the Panamera with which the Tesla S was compared. For that matter, any high end performance luxury brand has fixed headrests. That includes ultra premium cars, McLaren, Lambo, Ferrari, etc.. However, I am sure Volker will find the outlier!

jat | 13 december 2012

The point is you need to try it yourself. People have complained about backseat headroom without the pano roof, yet on my test drive one my passengers was 6'3 250# and said it was perfectly fine for him. I don't know how his torso length compares to yours, so you might find it unacceptable.

Regarding the back headrests, as a driver I prefer them. In my LEAF, the adjustable headrests take up significant portion of the rear view -- when my wife drives the LEAF, she actually pulls the headrests out since the visibility annoys her so much.

fluxemag | 13 december 2012

I'm 6'4 and the Pano-roof equipped MS has plenty of room and the headrest is not an issue. I sat in a MS without the glass roof and there was less headroom and a hump on the roofline that reduced it even further. Can't really understand why or what's up there to warrant the hump. Every other car I've had with no sunroof had more room. I don't even want the pano-roof, but will get it anyways.

Volker.Berlin | 13 december 2012

petero +1.

lajollan, no, not in this case. :-) To the contrary, I cannot think of any sports car that comes with adjustable headrests (although I have to admit that I haven't driven many). Now, the real question is: Is the Model S more in the sports car, or more in the sedan camp? All cars you mentioned (and I would add Aston Martin to the list) are firmly in the sports car camp, and even the Panamera is certainly there, even though it shares some traits with a four-door coupe. The Model S is much more versatile: Some will certainly buy it in place of a Panamera, Quattroporte (anybody here knows the Maserati-flavor of headrests?) or Rapide, but for others it is going to replace a more traditional sedan like a GS/LS, 5-series, E-class, A6. I guess your expectations depend on where you come from.

Brian H | 13 december 2012

Roll bar?

hyjyljyj | 14 december 2012

Volker: + eins

I wouldn't think a Model S in the running if I were looking at Porsche, Aston, McLaren, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, etc. Maybe the Roadster but not the S, which seems more in line for consideration among the models Volker mentions, sport luxury sedans like GS/LS, 5-series, E-class, A6, etc. Those do not qualify as outliers.

I view this as an opportunity for Tesla to fine-tune their market segmentation for their prospective clientele, placing the expected integrated sports-car seat/headrest in the sports car, and the expected articulated luxury sedan seat/headrest in the luxury sedan.

Few issues are so readily resolved

hyjyljyj | 14 december 2012

As to headrests blocking the view...

It would seemingly be legitimate, even preferable, to consider any rear-seat passengers' (if and when they are ever present) having an unobstructed line of sight for the purpose of gazing at scenery out the front windshield as a concern secondary to the adjustability, protective functionality and overall comfort of the headrest for the DRIVER, who presumably is seated in the car nearly 100% of the time it is traveling. Moreover, it has not been established, to any generally satisfactory degree, that passengers in the rear actually have any significantly better "view" when trying to gaze past an integrated seat/headrest than when the headrest is articulated and adjustable. Even if they did, they are fortunate in that the designers of the Model S did not overlook the inclusion of totally transparent rear windows.

Volker.Berlin | 14 december 2012

hyjyljyj, your post is funny to read but besides the point. jat's argument related to the driver's rear view, not to the passengers unobstructed view of the scenery.

However, your conclusion remains valid, IMO: With regard to the rear view in the Model S, there isn't much of it, anyway. As with any coupe or sports car, where the body line and aerodynamics take priority over, well, a lot of things, there's not much to see in the Model S' (beautiful, frameless) central mirror. Yes, the (practically non-existent) rear bench headrests further obstruct the view, but it can't get much worse, anyway. Forget about the central mirror, you'll need to use the side mirrors (or the backup camera -- there's a reason why it comes standard on the Model S!).

As a side note, I love MB's option of (adjustable and) collapsible rear bench headrests. Hit a button on the dash, and the headrests fall backwards to lie flat on the parcel shelf, completely out of sight. You don't even have to lift your butt from the driver's seat for that. On the other hand, the MB E-class (wagon as well as sedan) does offer an actually useful view through the rear window.

jat | 14 december 2012

@Volker - yes, I was talking about the driver's view out the rear window. I agree rear visibility is poor already, and I was arguing that putting big adjustable headrests in the back would render the rear-view mirror essentially useless (as opposed to the current "somewhat useless").

Hatchbacks have always had relatively poor rear visibility, but the Model S, following the recent trend of a high rear-end for aerodynamics, has even worse.

lajollan | 14 december 2012


I consider those cars Volker and I mentioned to be comparable to the Model S to an extent based on performance and cost. It is a personal thing. For example I have seriously considered a Porsche Panamera and was within $1,500 price differential of buying one. Fortunately the dealer was greedy and wouldn't meet my price even tho I had an email from another dealer 1000 miles away offering me the car at my price. I had last laugh. They emailed me offering me my price 2 weeks later. Sorry buddy, I got a Model S!

GreenMachine13 | 14 december 2012

I'm 6' tall. When I sat in the back seat I was fine until I sat all the way back and tried to lay my head on the rear headrest. My head hit the headliner before it could reach the headrest. This was in a car with pano. The headliner makes a significant entry into the cabin behind the pano roof.

lajollan | 14 december 2012

I think all you tall people should take a shrinking pill and get a Model S!

hyjyljyj | 15 december 2012

"yes, I was talking about the driver's view out the rear window."

OK, never mind then. My error

I remember that button on the Benz dash Volker mentioned to flip those down. Very convenient, like the button to put the exterior rearview mirrors close against the body for parking and car washes

TikiMan | 16 december 2012

I am 6' 1", and I feel very comfortable in my MS. Headrest is more than perfect, and I love the feel of the leather.
Also, the adjustable lumbar support is far better than my last Infinity, as I can adjust in up and down, for just the right sweet-spot.

The only thing I would change (if I could) would be to make the center touch-screen display adjustable (telescopic like the steering wheel). As I tend to have to lean forward to touch the top part of the display.