2016 Tesla Model S

2016 Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S P85D electric car is breathtakingly quick, and quietly forceful in a way that makes it simultaneously a tailpipe-free counterpoint and a serious rival to some of the world’s top performance cars.

You won’t need to search hard to find video footage of this top-performance model embarrassing high-performance V-8 sedans, and even some far pricier sports cars (it's even led one of our contributors to take up drag racing). And several publications with a well-established reputation for credibility in performance numbers have already managed to meet Tesla’s claimed 3.1-second 0-60 mph time.

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Now the test crew at Consumer Reports, which purchased a P85D for nearly $128,000 (unlike other outlets, which borrowed a Tesla test car) have run performance numbers on their own P85D.

So far, they haven’t quite managed to match those official Tesla numbers. In “Insane” mode, CR found the P85D to accelerate to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds—a few tenths short of the official 3.1 seconds.

And they note that it’s especially impressive in a car that achieves 87 MPGe.

CR testers, however, are skeptical that the new top-performance, 762-horsepower P90D model—Ludicrous Mode and all—that’s emerged recently can meet its claimed time.

“Tesla promises the new ‘Ludicrous’ mode will lower that to 2.8 seconds, but based on our testing, we're not convinced,” CR said in a summary of test results, although it didn’t cite a test number for that mode.

The Tesla P85D that Consumer Reports tested has the optional 21-inch tire-and-wheel package.

This is the same car, by the way, that staffers were locked out of due to a failure of the Tesla’s retractable door handles. That’s one of the few areas that are a consistent problem in this model, which has been one of the top-ranked by Consumer Reports.

They found the P85D to have excellent braking however. And in the avoidance maneuver, they note that the P85D made it through at 55.5 mph, noting that’s a performance-car number, in this case for a large luxury sedan.

See the video below for their take so far and how they conducted the tests; and they promise to release full test results next week.


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