After holding everyone in suspense and sending the Internet into a speculation frenzy, Tesla has revealed “the D and something else” as tweeted last week by CEO Elon Musk.
As we reported last week was believed about the first half of his tweet, the “D” is a Model S P85D with dual motors, 691 horsepower and 687 pounds-feet of torque.
A Model S with 60-kwh battery will be called 60D and a mid-level 85D with dual motors will be available in addition to the quickest P85D.
According to a Tesla rep on a drive last night in Hawthorne, prices quoted are $4,000 extra for the standard 60D and mid-level 85D and the highest-performance P85D model will “start at $120,000.”
The AWD system uses an additional 221-horsepower motor up front adding to the 470 horsepower motor out back to claw out better traction. For the P85D this is claimed at 0-60 time in about 3.2 seconds, and efficiencies allow for an extra 10 miles range, or 275 miles total.
Quarter mile time is estimated now at 11.8 seconds instead of the former 12.6 and lateral acceleration is 1g for the 291-pound heavier car, weighing 4,936 pounds.
But don’t expect both max range and to be testing the 0-60 times overly much on the same charge, as that energy will take a toll on the AWD Model S – a concept at least generally suspected was coming well before Musk’s tweet, if not with all this extra performance.
The P85D’s estimated 3.2-second sprint compares to the current quickest P85 Performance rated at 4.2 seconds. This and other rear-wheel-drive variants have all been timed a few tenths quicker by various testers, however, and it’s believed Tesla is conservative with its estimates.
And, more certain is AWD helps with wet and snow acceleration – not braking, so to say improved “traction” can be somewhat misleading – but AWD should otherwise be a benefit for those who drive in snow.
The Model X SUV will also be provided with all-wheel drive when released next year, but no news was given about it or the Model 3.
Musk called the AWD system for the Model S “a huge improvement” and said it is “taking the technology to the next level.” Other automakers, such as Lexus with its RX SUV, have employed a similar AWD system.
As for “something else,” new safety tech will also help Tesla compete with other automakers which are moving towards autonomous driving with sophisticated systems.
On of Tesla’s innovations includes lane departure warning, and new Model S sedans will have 12 sensors that can see 16 feet to help the new system move the car over a lane when the driver uses the turn signal. It will also read speed-limit signs and be able to adjust the vehicle to the speed seen.
The system is not able to be retrofitted on previous Model S sedans.
As a backdrop to the revelation, Tesla also threw one of its big parties, and while it was at it launched a new line of leather goods with the Tesla logo made of the same leather as used in the Model S.