The Tesla Model S, now into its sixth model year, just keeps getting quicker.

When Tesla introduced the current P100D version, it quoted a 0-to-60-mph time of 2.5 seconds.

But then it released a "Ludicrous Plus" software upgrade, cutting that time to 2.4 seconds.

DON'T MISS: Tesla P100D 'Ludicrous Plus' mode makes electric car even faster

Then Motor Trend recorded a 0 to 60 mph time of 2.28 seconds, making the P100D the quickest-accelerating car the magazine has ever tested over its decades of publishing.

That's an impressive result for any road car, let alone one with four doors and a curb weight of around 4,600 pounds.

A video from the ever-informative Engineering Explained shows how the Model S P100D overcomes that weight to reach 60 mph from a standstill in under 3.0 seconds.

2017 Tesla Model S

2017 Tesla Model S

The P100D has plenty of power to move all of that weight, and an all-wheel drive system to maximize traction, but the really important factor is grip, host Jason Fenske argues.

Taking grip as the theoretical limit of a car's ability to accelerate quickly, Fenske calculates maximum grip using 60-to-0-mph braking distances and times.

The comparison demonstrates the importance of the P100D's relatively wide 265-series rear tires and its slightly rearward weight bias in maximizing grip.

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That level of grip, along with a calculated 680 horsepower and the all-wheel drive system, are what allow the Model S to accelerate the way it does.

Fenske actually decided to investigate Model S P100D acceleration after becoming aware of online debates over whether a Tesla Roadster with the same P100D powertrain would be quicker than the Model S.

Arguments centered around two theories: that the Roadster's lighter weight would allow it to accelerate more quickly, or alternatively, that the Model S' heavier weight would give it more grip.

2011 Tesla Roadster Sport. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.

2011 Tesla Roadster Sport. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.

Watch the video to see which side wins out, on paper at least.

Mathematical estimates are the only way to settle that debate, after all ... at least until someone stuffs a P100D powertrain in a Tesla Roadster for real.

Wouldn't that be something?


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