Numerous drag-race videos have proven that the Tesla Model S P85D can take on just any challenger in a straight line.

But what about other forms of automotive hooliganism?

Drifting is a sport in which drivers purposely break the traction of a car's rear tires and slide through corners. The bigger the slide, the better.

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It requires a car that is rear-wheel drive, and has enough power to keep those rear wheels spinning no matter what the conditions.

The rear-wheel-drive versions of the Model S meet both of those criteria, so can a Model S drift?

Apparently, yes.

2013 Tesla Model S [photo by owner Gene Rubin]

2013 Tesla Model S [photo by owner Gene Rubin]

At a recent event in Japan, professional drifter Nobuteru Taniguchi took a Model S for a spin around the course--and got plenty of sideways action.

The Tesla doesn't pull off the most elegant drift, but it manages to stay sideways and produce plenty of tire smoke in the process.

Taniguchi has had one of the longest professional careers of any drifter.

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What did he think of the Model S?

In an interview after the run, he said the stock Tesla lacked the steering angle to be a proper drift car, but was more fun than he expected, according to Motor Trend.

The Tesla's lack of a manual handbrake could have been a handicap as well. Drifters use the handbrake to induce slides by locking up the rear wheels.

2015 Tesla Model S P85D vs Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG at drag strip [photo: George Parrott]

2015 Tesla Model S P85D vs Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG at drag strip [photo: George Parrott]

The car's electronic systems may have also fought Taniguchi.

Software for the steering, traction control, and other systems is meant to prevent slides and other wayward behavior. Tesla probably didn't have this kind of use in mind when designing the systems.

Drifting also can't be done with any of the dual-motor all-wheel drive Model S "D" variants.

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They have superior performance to comparable rear-wheel drive versions in other respects, but too much grip for getting sideways.

Yet the fact that a Model S can drift at all says a lot about the performance potential of electric cars.

Many people view electric cars as weak and boring, a stereotype not helped by the un-sporty character of most production electric cars.

2014 BMW i3 hits the race track

2014 BMW i3 hits the race track

But whether it's smoking rear tires or dusting off supercars in a drag race, the Model S proves that doesn't have to be the case.

Regrettably for drivers of every other battery-electric car except the BMW i3, however, you're out of luck.

BMW i3 drifting? Hmmmmmmmmm. Now there's an idea ....

[hat tip: Randall Hamlet]


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