2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5. Taken in Bristol U.K.Enlarge Photo
The Tesla Roadster is known among gearheads and electric car advocates as being the sports car that smashes all preconceptions about electric vehicles. So when Tesla announced its aptly-named revision to the iconic all-electric car we just had to see if the Californian-based automaker could beat the iconic first and second generation models.
And we’ve just had our first chance. Courtesy of Tesla UK, we were loaned a 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5, in Lightning Green, a new color for the 2.5 models.
For a weekend, we threw everything at the Tesla Roadster from freeway jaunts to twisty country lanes, steep hills and even a shopping trip. Has the Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5 broken the mold again?
In a resplendent Lightning Green, the 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5 creates an air of luxury from the outset. With a revised grille, redesigned wheel arches and sporty new black alloy wheels, the 2.5 revision of the Roadster Sport looks more aggressive. Set off by a contrasting black carbon-fiber hood it begs to be driven hard and fast.
2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5Enlarge Photo
The difference? Only a few inches of extra space, but it confidently swallowed up camera equipment, laptop bag and motorcycle gear from earlier on in the day.
Low, Low, Low
As one of the Tesla London employees reversed the loan car into the street, its front spoiler ground a little on the gentle slope out onto the sidewalk. If that isn’t enough to remind you that this car sits a scant few inches above the ground then getting in will. Just like so many sports cars, gaining access to the passenger seat is entertaining. Sliding in behind the wheel should be an olympic sport for the uninitiated.
2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5Enlarge Photo
Don’t think this is a small person’s car, however. While the art of getting in and out takes some practice to be accomplished gracefully once inside the Roadster has plenty of room, even for our six-foot-four cameraman.
Mild-Mannered Around Town
Easing out of the London showroom into a congested Friday afternoon rush-hour isn’t the most ideal of environments to get aquainted with the $128,500 two-seater, but thanks to the 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5’s new satellite navigation system the car was soon out of the congested streets of the exclusive west-end and on the freeway heading west.
Unlike many high-performance cars, the 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5 is mild-mannered around town. Thanks to a single-gear, the car drives like an automatic, complete with creep function, making stop-start driving easy. At higher speeds, the Tesla’s regenerative braking mimics engine braking, makes it possible to drive around the city using just the accelerator to control the car. Our John Voelcker affectionately calls this single-pedal driving.
At low speed, the Roadster is beautifully quiet. While there’s an ample sound system fitted as standard, the noise of the 185 215 kilowatt motor somewhere behind the driver is a sound most will not tire of and driving without the stereo on will become common among even the most avid of music-fans.