Calling the Model S “the electric car that shatters every myth,” Consumer Reports (CR) magazine recently posted that of its staffers evaluating the top-of-the-range Signature Performance on loan from Tesla, “everyone has come out of it impressed.”
CR’s first impressions seem reaffirming of the formal accolades the Model S has received recently.
Notable among the Web article’s observations on the all-electric luxury sedan is that testers are getting 200 miles out of a single charge from the Signature’s 85 kilowatt-hour battery.
A 60-kwh and 40-kwh battery will power two other trim levels yet to be released by Tesla.
“We’ve been getting about 200 miles of mixed driving – including expressways –without babying the car at all. Treating the Model S like any other car,” writes Gabe Shenar. “I had no problem covering my 160-mile round-trip daily commute with heat, seat heaters, and lights blazing, plus I arrived back at the office with enough leftover range for ample peace of mind.”
Tesla says the largest of the three batteries has a range of 300 miles – and has also said a hyper miler may be able to squeeze out 400 – while the EPA rates it at 265 miles.
The advertising-free magazine also has mostly favorable driving impressions and remarks on the car’s aesthetics.
“Takeoff from a standing start is smooth and effortless; 416 horsepower never felt so cultured … Acceleration stats put it in Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 911 territory, but the sensation makes it feel faster absent the engine and exhaust noise.
The cabin is well finished and nicely detailed, especially the dash and door trim. The electronic shifter, stalks and window switches are sourced from Mercedes-Benz.”
On the Model S’s prominently placed 17-inch touch-screen/info display CR mentions the center console-placed unit is easy to use, with “large landing areas for your fingers and quick response,” while also noting the display’s layout is well organized.
Like so many electric cars that rely on large banks of batteries to store energy, the Model S posts portly numbers in the weight column on its specs sheet.
However, CR’s experience with the car’s handling is reflective of what various other magazine testers have noted: that the Model S is surprisingly nimble, paralleling it with venerable car brands known for sport performance.
“Despite the car’s hefty 4,700-pound curb weight, it is agile, tied down, and light on its feet,” says CR’s reviewer. “The ride is firm yet supple, even with the optional 21-inch summer tires—not quite Mercedes E-Class plush, but more compliant than a Porsche Panamera.”
Overall, Consumer Reports gives the car that lists in excess of $100, 000 as equipped a decidedly positive preliminary review. But a few elements are pegged as mild annoyances if not outright shortcomings.
“The retractable door handles impressed everyone, but there are moments when you want them to be more readily available, especially when it’s cold outside,” and “the front cabin has lots of storage but, oddly, there are no map pockets anywhere. (Tesla did this intentionally for a clean interior look, but it’s still nice to have places for stuff).”
For now CR is using a loaner test unit as noted, but as is CR’s practice of providing readers with as unbiased as possible product evaluations, the magazine is planning to purchase a Model S for comprehensive review.