2012 Tesla Model S: Yes, It Really Does Perform That Well

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Tesla Model S Inside Line

Tesla Model S Inside Line

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The 2012 Tesla Model S is the most anticipated all-electric car of 2012, but it is also the most enigmatic. 

That’s because even though it launched back in late June, access to -- and time behind the wheel of -- the Model S has been strictly controlled by Tesla. 

Our own 1-hour test-drive proved to us that the Tesla Model S was a viable, impressive car, but because of our location -- the busy streets of Manhattan -- we were unable to push the luxury sports sedan to its limits. 

Edmund’s Inside Line was a little luckier, persuading Tesla to ship a Model S to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California so it could put Tesla’s claimed Model S performance specifications to the test. 

The results? 

With a clear, clean test track, the Model S Performance romped to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds, a 0.1 seconds faster than Tesla’s official time. 

The $94,350 Model S Performance then went on to 75 mph in 6.1 seconds, posting a quarter mile of 12.6 seconds at 108.3 mph. 

Braking was similarly good, with Inside Line’s test driver Mike Monticello reporting consistent, firm braking. 

2012 Tesla Model S Signature

2012 Tesla Model S Signature

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On the handling tests, Inside Line reports the Model S managed 0.86g on the skid pad, impressive for a car of its size. 

Meanwhile, the full slalom course was handled at a speed of 66.8 mph, illustrating excellent weight distribution and suspension. 

LIke us, Inside Line admits it has only had limited time behind the wheel of the 2012 Model S. 

But with impressive handling and speed tests confirming Tesla’s own specs, it continues to look as if Tesla’s Model S is a very special electric car. 

Of course, with a race driver on staff who’s most eager to get the Model S on a test track, we’d like to offer our own race-track skills to Tesla, just in case it wants a second opinion. 


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Comments (8)
  1. Yes, some special treatment from Tesla would be nice but is that realistic to expect for a blog which reporting on Tesla routinely goes beyond critical into destructive scepticism to the point that it feels like an all out anti Tesla FUD campaign at times? Usually special treats are for the friendlies.

  2. Good job Tesla.

    Now, I need a $30k version midsize sedan.

  3. Okay, I am willing to pay $45k for it before the $10k rebates... :)

    Or if I win some kind of lottery...

  4. Tesla doesn't NEED to build a $30,000 car. The are an upper-class car company building super-cool, fast, fun, useful, long-range electric vehicles. However, for those who don't make that much, they are going to build a $30,000 car in the next 3 years or so. There is also the fact that Elon Musk wants live to see an electric car in every driveway.

    I recently ran the numbers for monthly cost of ownership, and I found that the monthly costs of a Model S are similar to cars nearly $20,000 cheaper. So if you think you can't afford a Model S, check again. Maybe you can. I'm saving up for one because I really, really want one.

    P.S. I watched the Inside Line Video and they clocked a 4.0 sec. 0-60 run with 1 ft. of rollout.

  5. Ok, the decent range Tesla S still cost about $65k. Even with the $20K saving, you are still talking about $45k here. My Volt was only $41k. I seriously doubt that cost of ownership of Tesla S is $20k cheaper than my Volt. Of course, Tesla S is much better in looks, handling, performance and gets more rebates. But with sales tax of 8.5%, $65k is another $5.2k on top.

    That is about $35k out of my price range.

  6. In terms of TCO, I expect that most Tesla buyers will pay quite a bit more than a Chevy Volt, mainly because a Volt is gets most of the benefits of being an EV.

    But to get a sense of what how favorable an EV like Tesla is compared to a conventional ICE vehicle just look at your Volt. MSRP of your Volt is ~$40k. The MSRP of a Toyota Camry is ~$22k.

    But the 5 year TCO of your Volt is $46,200 vs $41,580 for Camry. That's the actual cost to own those vehicles for 5 years, including depreciation, taxes, insurance, finance fees, fuel, repairs, maintenance, etc.

    Not a huge difference considering you start off costing ~$18k more. Model S costs the same as its competition already. Over a 7 or 8 year TCO it easily is competitive with $30k cars

  7. I agree. I just wish Tesla can make a car in the sub $40k range. I konw there is one coming... I just can't wait... :)

  8. Nikki writes "But with impressive handling and speed tests confirming Tesla’s own specs, it continues to look as if Tesla’s Model S is a very special electric car."

    I think you need to broaden your horizons Nikki. Model S Performance is not just a "very special" EV, it's a very special car. Period.

    The list of luxury performance sedans in the world which can match the performance of MSP is exceedingly small. Most of them actually have a higher MSRP than MSP. All will cost tens of thousands more to own over 5 years. And none are even remotely as quiet or practical as a family vehicle.

    It just makes zero sense to pigeonhole it. That's just a form of not so soft EV bigotry :)

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