Five years ago today, we pressed the Go pedal of a P85 for the first time...How did your test drive affect you? (LOL)

Five years ago today, we pressed the Go pedal of a P85 for the first time...How did your test drive affect you? (LOL)

Our road to buying the Model S85 had surprising twists and turns. Our Mark VIII was 17 years old, so we asked “if a meteorite fell on it, which car would we buy to replace it?

We heard a Dodge Challenger’s throaty 5.7 liter Hemi roar, and arranged a test drive. It was powerful, but had treacherous blind spots. As long time owners of American V-8s, we wanted to test out German diesel sedans. After driving the high-efficiency Mercedes Blu-TEC E350 and the BMW 328d, we talked about the good aspects (45 mpg and tight handling, nice interior comforts). And the bad: after studying the 35 page shop manual for the complex MB diesel/twin turbo system with urea cleaner fluid, Steve looked up at me, shook his head and said “As a mechanical engineer, I can see that this system has way too many moving parts”.

A neighbor had to cancel his test drive of a Tesla. We told him, it’s too far to go to LA for a test drive; we didn’t know San Diego even had a store. Five minutes later we were home on the computer booking a test drive for October 23, 2013. Steve made the left onto Nobel Drive and floored the P85. In the back seat, for the first time, I lost my equilibrium, and became dizzy. That’s never happened before, even driving in my boss’ Porsche.

We spent 2 hours in the store poring over the skateboard’s robust aluminum fabrication. As both of us worked in aerospace, we were drawn to the finely cast AlSi10MgMn parts, and went home to research the alloy. We read this forum and met with Tesla people to be sure that our concerns (12V battery, replacement of drive motor/inverter due to 65+ hum) had been resolved by redesign/procurement.

We hadn’t planned to replace our V-8 Lincoln (65,000 miles). But before pressing the confirm button in December, I asked Steve when did you know we would have to buy the Model S? “The moment my foot hit the go pedal and it took off”. And my moment was, “when you floored it and I was floating.”

The road we traveled originated in brawny American V-8s, to the refinement and efficiency of German sedans, to Tesla. How did Tesla win us over to purchase the Model S? Exhilarating power, stable center of gravity, equal weight distribution, solid Al construction, excellent range, interior spaciousness, few moving parts to fail, quiet, beauty of design, commitment to making the car right, supercharging, large display, flat torque curve, hauling capability, safety. It’s a travel car par excellence. A green car that made us see stars.

As I filed all the documents collected during the process, I came upon 10 pages from Tesla’s site that we had printed July 16, 2012. At that point, we realized, we’d actually been thinking about this since it came into production. Back then, we didn’t foresee that on March 12, 2014, a blue Model S85 would be arriving in our garage.

This was what we wrote before…reflections on how we feel now…coming up.

lilbean | 23 oktober 2017

I never did a test drive. My first drive was after I paid for one. I just knew it would be awesome. :)

carlk | 23 oktober 2017

Four years ago I already decided that I want to buy the car before I took the test drive. That was only to convince wife and to start the process. You know instead of we need to buy this car it's let's take a test drive to see how the car is like. I can't even explain what made me to want the car, I had a pretty nice car that I had no intention of replacing at that time, but it's the general feeling that this is what future car is like. Everything else is antiqued.

bishoppeak | 23 oktober 2017

I've always driven powerful sports cars, so the acceleration was nice but not startling. Once I felt the regen I lost interest in every other car out there.

Bighorn | 23 oktober 2017

No test drive, but curious, on average, how many times a day does Steve remind you that he’s a mechanical engineer? :)

gridley1950 | 23 oktober 2017

Always loved them, but last February I made the mistake (not!) of driving my neighbours model S. In May I took delivery of my P85D!!

PhillyGal | 23 oktober 2017

I love that the materials used were such a unique part of your test drive experience. Ours was far less technical, but ended the same way of course :)

sbeggs | 23 oktober 2017

You crack me up! Good thing I wasn't drinking coffee. How can you guess that when you only spent an hour with him???

diegoPasadena | 23 oktober 2017

I also bought it without test drive. Well: I put a deposit on one at least.

Now, I tell anyone interested in the car: Test drive one only with the full awareness that you'll want one afterward. I have yet to meet someone who test drove a Tesla and then said "Meh, I'll go with something else". A couple of years ago I read that Tesla had the highest test-drive to sale conversion rate. It was not surprising to me.

But beyond all of that, there is an intangible quality to the Model S that lets it shine in a way that makes a test drive almost a secondary confirmation:
When I convinced my wife to come look at one at the Santa Monica Tesla showroom in 2012, she came along basically to humor me. There was no way in *HELL* we'd spend 80 or 90k on a car. Even for me, the visit was more to satisfy my curiosity in that new thing than an actual shopping trip.
That status flipped soon after we stepped into the showroom and saw the beautiful black car. I was helplessly being dragged, like standing in a rip tide, from "Not for us" to "probably not" to "I don't think so" to "maybe some day" to "perhaps" to "could we?" within a couple of minutes.
My wife went from "No way" to "We gotta have one of these!" - even before I got to "Could we?"

Sam_S | 23 oktober 2017

We were looking for a Mercedes SUV replacement, so Spring of 2014 I went to a Tesla store to ask when the X would be released.

I had no interest in a sedan but reluctantly, I gave in to thie salespersons insistence to test drive an S.

Came back from the exhilirating drive completely blown away and reserved a P85 on the spot!

Spetember 30th I took delivery of the car in San Diego with AP1 hardware, which was a feature unknown to anyone when I ordered. What a bonus that was and continues to be.

It was only after I ordered that I discovered this forum and what a great source of info that has been!

Rocky_H | 23 oktober 2017

My test drive was April of 2013. I was all set up with my wife, daughter, and daughter's boyfriend to go with me. They all bailed on the day of it. What the heck?! This is a chance to ride in a Tesla! You have never seen one before, and probably won't for another couple of years, since there is no Tesla presence in the state. (Still isn't over four years later.) At the time, my wife said she didn't want to go, since it wasn't a car we were going to buy.

Well, most of a year later, daughter's car died, and we were in the market, so started thinking about it again, and decided to order one in January 2014.

I won't say the test drive did anything in particular for me, since I was already obsessed and had been reading this forum for a while, so I knew beforehand I would love it no matter what.

TranzNDance | 23 oktober 2017

I wanted a Tesla since I saw the Model S announcement. I couldn't justify it since I didn't need a car. Finally, this year, I had a valid excuse, er reason, to get a car. I had my heart set on the Model X ever since it was announced but it didn't fit in our garage. Our sales guy suggested the Model S, which I was hesitant about after the let down of the X not fitting in our lives. I went for a test drive of the Model S and the moment of no return for me was when I accelerated onto a freeway and it pushed me back against my seat and did not hesitate.

Things that used to annoy or anger me while driving are now brushed aside with, "whatever, I'm in a Tesla". Although I enjoy launching up to speed, I don't feel the need to speed because it gives me more time in the car.

kerryglittle | 23 oktober 2017

I've owned many muscle, import, exotic cars over the years. Loved looking at every Tesla that drove by me and my eyes were like magnets to its lines. My good friend who has been with Tesla for many years dropped by my house this year and said " I know you like special cars and want to show you something" I thought wow this is cool so jumped in. Took me on a back road and proceeded to put it in launch mode. Asked me if I want to take a video with my iPhone? I said ok thinking well it will be an experience I want to capture. I had no idea the G force that would accompany it. So my iPhone flew into the back seat. Was not prepared to be in a rocket. Wish I could show the video here because its hilarious seeing my phone fly through the air. He let me drive it home and it was like I was on my first drivers test. Nervous as hell thinking this beast might buck me off. Returned home and told my wife I just bought a very expensive iPad. She said ok.Did the math after and figured that 20 minute test drive cost me $7,000.00 a minute And we all lived happily ever after. LOL.

Mike83 | 23 oktober 2017

We went to Santana Row from the airport in San Jose about 5 years ago and got to test drive a P85. The large screen was really awesome and the sound system great using voice command. And it had a front trunk. I punched the car and knew we had to have this futuristic vehicle. The only problem was I burned a set of tires having too much fun. Bought another Tesla D 4 years later and have a Model 3 coming. I am sticking with the best car ever made. ;-)
It has made life fun.

muddy | 23 oktober 2017

We once drove a marvelous Jag XJ8. But on our 1st baseball trip down the west coast August 2014 (in that Jag), on a lark we scheduled a test drive at the Walnut Creek store. I was blown away, hooked, and couldn't shut up about it. When we returned home, Mrs. Muddy did the math and scheduled her own test drive on Sept 23 at the Seattle store. "Where do we sign?" was her statement upon exiting the Model S.
Sold the Jag with pangs in my heart. But have never looked back. We took delivery of a midnight blue S85 in Dec. 2014.
"What country is that Tesla made in? Was a common question. OOOO-SA (USA). No Shit! Really?
Promptly put 72,000 miles on it. Sold some real estate. Mrs. M had already figured out the next move to a 2017 MS100D. Christened it with a 7,000 mile baseball trip in Sept of this year.
We are very happy.

muddy | 23 oktober 2017

I almost forgot: Happy anniversary SBeggs!

NKYTA | 23 oktober 2017

@Muddy, awesome!

Muzzman1 | 23 oktober 2017

I have a client has a VIn 2000ish Model S. Back in Feb 2014 I mentioned I was interested in Model S. He threw me his fob and said, "Go drive it for the day" I don't need it until 5. And so I did.
That night I ordered my 1st model S and took delivery in March 2014 VIN 34k.
Since then I have purchased 1 more Model S and a Model X. I sold the 34k VIN car to a friend because of AP. I had to have it.
I have not looked back.

HADRON COLLIDER | 23 oktober 2017

In the short space of the past three weeks I finally decided to do some preliminary research on Tesla; I scheduled a test drive and, last Saturday, drove a 75D. My previous daily driver was a Porsche Turbo (which I drove almost always in "Sport" mode).

Even before taking a "launch" I was aware of the virtually linear power available to the wheels; the 75D's launch was very nice--and reminiscent of the Turbo.

On to a P100D three days later....wherein, in less than three seconds of elapsed time, the P100D exposed the Porsche Turbo for the anachronistic sluggard that it is! Meaning, as I compared my sensation of a Turbo launch vs the Tesla, I would have to say that the Tesla was GONE at least one second before the Turbo "decided" to take a gulp of liquid dinosaur, spin up the turbos and finally (an eternity of milliseconds later) kick in and go. Exhilarating in its own right but sad. Or, sadly exhilarating?

I will never go back to a Porsche. The Model S - P100D - has ruined me for the foreseeable future. Now I must wait till mid-December for its arrival. Truly, by purchasing this vehicle I feel that I am a generation ahead of the curve in personal transportation. The Future arrives on Dec. 15.

Allanf | 24 oktober 2017

@lilbean +1

sbeggs | 24 oktober 2017

I can't believe we didn't mention regenerative braking as one of the car's advantages. It has become one of our two favorite things about the T!

iTesla | 24 oktober 2017

I knew I was going to buy the moment I silently pulled out of the parking space on a test drive in 2013. Hummingbird turned four this month. | 24 oktober 2017

Ordered my first Model S (P85+) over the internet and without a test drive.

yanyan | 24 oktober 2017

Have wanted a tesla for years, and without even a test drive, put down a deposit on a CPO P85D. Absolutely amazing car, and even if I own it for 10 years, it'll still be the fastest thing on the road then.

Mike83 | 24 oktober 2017

the regenerative braking is also one of my favorites. I don't think the brakes will ever need replacement and so much easier relaxing my left leg.
I think I need to pick up some milk. Summon.

nwfan | 25 oktober 2017

@sbeggs thanks for starting this lovely post. My Tesla was ordered online without test drive. Only regret I waited too long to purchase. I was reflecting on my drive home from work yesterday. Standard DFW stop and go, and noticed I had a Tesla grin. Do I need to say anything else? Extended my life by 2 years.

sbeggs | 25 oktober 2017

Thanks, @mr and mrs Muddy!

Run4Waffles | 25 oktober 2017

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to a wonderful forum member!!!!

And is this a trick question?


SbMD | 25 oktober 2017

Happy Anniversary, @sbeggs!

I did get a test drive from one of my friends. Honestly, I was sold on the car before I drove one, and the one I drove was not as fast as the car I bought; that was a nice realization when I picked up my car :)

sbeggs | 26 oktober 2017

My pleasure!

sbeggs | 28 oktober 2017

Thanks, @Run4Waffles!

From @Run4Wine

evsisson | 28 oktober 2017

I took a test drive only because it was the responsible thing to do. I didn't even schedule it until I was certain, and I had my checkbook with me when I went.

My motivation was not just that it's a great car, but that Tesla is symbolic of a special movement I wanted to be part of. I was going to get an EV anyway, and I had been thinking Nissan Leaf, until I realized I could do much better.


Mathew98 | 28 oktober 2017

I was not in a market for a new car in 2012 as I just traded in a 3 years old hybrid for another just six months prior. Then the missus noticed a gallery near a Tiffany's at in the mall. She told me to take a look with the kids. No way was I gonna drop some serious dough to get this EV, as gorgeous as it was. A test drive around Christmas ruined it for me. Now I had to obsessed over every details to justify the purchase over the next six months. Why would I need a third car as the only driver in the house?

I got one just so I could get some indecent proposals... I received two so far. Perhaps I should go on more road trips!

Mathew98 | 28 oktober 2017

Steve and Claudia - How much commission did we earn for pushing Tesla to friends, family members, and total strangers?

Run4Waffles | 28 oktober 2017
sentabo | 28 oktober 2017

Long story short: I committed to an Audi A6. Test drove a Tesla just for fun. Got home, went online and configured my Tesla that day. Called the nice Audi salesman and thanked him for his time.

SO | 28 oktober 2017

@sentabo - did you tell him you were buying a Tesla?

KP in NPT | 28 oktober 2017

Great post, sbeggs!

I was sold on the car when I saw an article about the Model S after the prototype was revealed. But it wasn't realistic at that point given our commutes and no supercharger network was even discussed. I tend to be into new tech in general. But hubby is more practical than I and the price was twice as much as we'd ever spent on a car.

We started to see Tesla in person in the mall, just walking by, and I'd gush over what a beautiful car it was. When superchargers started popping up on our route, I causally mentioned it. More like, "Isn't that cool?" not thinking I'd ever actually talk him into it.

When we started thinking about replacing one of our aging ICEs, the model 3 was still an idea - but it was out there. The thought was we'd try to wait for that.

Unbeknownst to me, hubs decided to test drive a Model S without me, while I was away on vacation. He knows me...and knew if I knew I'd start putting on the hard sell. :) Well for him, that was it. Practical shmactical.

So I came home from vacation, and literally not 10 minutes in the door he said "So we have to talk about something." I thought in my 3 weeks away without him in China, he'd decided he could live without me. ;) He said he thought we should get a Tesla. I told him to order it right then and there! but he insisted I test drive it too, so we did. It was more amazing than I had imagined. The was 2.5 years ago and we've loved every minute. I'm dying for my Model 3. :)

sentabo | 28 oktober 2017

SO | October 28, 2017
@sentabo - did you tell him you were buying a Tesla?

I did, and though disappointed, he seemed to understand.

SO | 28 oktober 2017

When I had to help my grandfather at the jeep dealership, I took the manager and 3 sales people for rides. They all said now they understand why Tesla is so popular.

sbeggs | 9 december 2017

For our upcoming reservation for Model 3, we have maintained a position that we would like to test drive first.

After the electrifying experience we had test driving Model S, it will probably impress us just as much. I could press Configure without test driving, however, would like to do so if our invitation to configure arrives in the next month or two.

Tesla-David | 9 december 2017

Two and a half years after we put our $5k deposit down on our MS, we were able to get a test drive at the Westlake Tesla location in Seattle during June 2012. It was an absolutely thrilling experience for my wife and I, and everyone I saw that day getting out of their respective MS's after their drives had a Tesla Grin on their faces. It reinforced my decision that this car was the one, and five years on and on my second MS with M3 on order I have loved every minute of our Tesla experience.

gowansd | 9 december 2017

Test drive, who does that?

Seriously, my wife and I bought our MS70D having never even sat in a Tesla. We're located in Michigan, so a test drive was inconvenient to say the least. Like many others, we have a Model 3 reservation but opted to buy a CPO Model S. As the delays in the M3 production became all too real, it was obvious that the M3 availability was not going to fit with our needs for a new vehicle as our current leases ended.

We've had the car almost a month. Needless to say, we love it. A part of me is jealous that my wife gets to head off to work in the Tesla every day (I work at home). Of course, now that we're Tesla owners, the M3 may be available by the time our remaining lease ends. I don't think we'll end up using the reservation, but we're holding it just the same.

lolachampcar | 9 december 2017

Yea, that 2012 test drive cost me roughly $480K and counting (three MS for my wife and three for me so far). I probably should have declined the drive :)

EVRider | 9 december 2017

I was sold before the first test drive, but I did 4 separate test drives anyway, partly to help decide between the standard and next gen seats. The first test drive was in a P85D, even though I was planning to (and did) buy an S85 RWD; I'm glad insane mode didn't spoil the S85 for me. :-)

nwfan | 10 december 2017

@Iolachampcar, I'm on my 2nd Tesla S.
Couldn't resist upgrading to the 100D.

Now wondering when the top secret and new 200D will be released?

sbeggs | 20 december 2017

Well, now we're thinking, let's just configure our Model 3 when we receive an invite! No test drive!

Very funny, @lolachampcar!

SamO | 20 december 2017


2020 for the roadster


I'll be down with our Model 3 in SD for New Years . . . let me know if you want any seat time.

Bighorn | 20 december 2017

You got it or anticipated?

ssarker | 20 december 2017

I honestly don't remember much of my "15 minute from the time you press the Go pedal" test drive during the Amped Up Tour in 2012! Next time in a Model S was when I picked up my own in 4/2013.

renwo S alset | 20 december 2017

I'm all in for a Tesla semi. Coming to a stop-light near you. Also, from so high you can see chick's legs better.