Few vehicles in automotive history will forever remain all-time icons for their groundbreaking innovation. The Tesla Model S falls in this category as Tesla’s first fully in-house developed model. Even with newer and better EV models hitting the market every year, the Model S might go down as the most important electric car ever. It proved that EVs could be desirable and commercially viable, and its success helped put Tesla on the automotive map.
Since its launch in 2012, Tesla has constantly updated the popular four-door sedan. They have no intention of discontinuing The Model S, which keeps unlocking new levels of performance, battery range, and technology, with various models introduced in the lineup, including the Model S P100D and the 1020 horsepower Model S Plaid. As with any automotive product, the Model S isn’t perfect. It has many features to fall in love with, but it still comes with a few flaws you can’t overlook when in the market for a high-performance Tesla car.
10 Awesome Feature: 405-Mile Battery Range
Over the last decade, new technological developments have pushed EV battery capacities to new highs, and range anxiety is almost a thing of the past. Now you can travel more than 500 miles per charge thanks to the 1,000hp Lucid Air Dream Edition. The Tesla Model S has always been at the forefront in pushing the range limits, and the current model has an estimated range of 405 miles between recharges.
That is incredibly high for a performance-oriented vehicle powering its three motors from a 100kWh battery pack. Also, it has impressive supercharging and can recharge up to 200 mile-range in 15 minutes.
9 We’d Never Buy: The Yoke Steering
Tesla went for a futuristic cabin with the Tesla Model S, and while some will love it, others will lament the lack of a traditional steering wheel. This is one of the glaring changes implemented in the 2022 model, which saw the steering yoke replace the conventional wheel.
Tesla no longer offers a traditional wheel; you must learn to live with this futuristic steering. The Formula One style steering does well on good roads at high-speed maneuvers backed by Tesla’s autopilot feature, but it makes it much harder to complete low-speed maneuvers.
8 Awesome Feature: The Ludicrous Plus Mode
Musk and his Tesla engineers must have added a secret warp drive on the Model S. At least that is what we think they meant to unlock with the Ludicrous Plus Mode, which references the space opera parody “Spaceballs.” The mode to unleash the full potential of the Model S debuted back in 2016, and it makes a big difference in its current update.
You can activate the Ludicrous Plus mode by holding the Ludicrous option in the settings menu for 5 seconds. It triggers the screen’s hyperspace animation and turns the Tesla into a rapid beast capable of launching to 60 mph in under 2.3 seconds.
7 We’d Never Buy: Inconsistent Build Quality
Tesla cars are way ahead of the pack in packing the latest technological advancements and driver aids. They get full marks for innovation, but they leave plenty to desire when they get to build the car, and the Model S is a good example as it shows inconsistencies in build quality.
When you spend six figures on a car, you expect the best attention to detail across every inch of your car. But the Model S comes with panel gaps and other questionable quality issues. Edmunds notes that some Model S cars have crooked interior pieces and poorly aligned doors.
6 Awesome Feature: Auto-Raising Suspension
Tesla’s auto-raising suspension is another area you can’t fault the all-electric automaker with their tireless innovation. Yes, most luxury vehicles come with air suspension, which allows the vehicle to adjust seamlessly to changing surfaces and adjust the ride height accordingly. But these inputs need human input, and Tesla changes that with the Model S.
You can set the Model S suspension to automatically lower at high speeds for better aerodynamics and stability and rise back up at low speeds or through a neighborhood with rough roads. Also, it remembers routes where you previously adjusted the height manually and does it for you the next time you use the route.
5 We’d Never Buy: Expensive To Buy
In 2010, Musk promised that the Model S would offer a seven-seater EV, travel 300 miles per charge, launch to 60mph in 5.6 seconds, and start at less than $60k. He did keep most of the promises and more, but we are still waiting for the seven-seater Model S, and the car’s prices are through the roof.
The base Tesla Model S with the dual motor starts at $104 990, while the tri-motor Model S Plaid starts at $135,990.
4 Awesome Feature: Drag Coefficient Of Just .208
With a 0.208 drag coefficient, the Tesla Model S is one of the best at cheating the wind. It narrowly edges out another slippery beast in the Lucid Air, which claims a 0.21 drag coefficient. These numbers might not mean much for regular people, but they are great for bragging rights. These figures are more at home in an ultra-lightweight sports car than in a heavy-weight family sedan like the Model S.
Attention to detail on all surfaces results in optimized and superior aerodynamics, which aids the car’s speed, endurance, range, and handling performance.
3 We’d Never Buy: Falls In The Group 50 Insurance Group
Every new car falls into an insurance group rating, and there are fifty of them. Ratings depend on the level of safety and security equipment on the car. Group 1 is the cheapest to insure, while Group 50 is on the other end of the spectrum. The Tesla Model S is a high-performance luxury saloon that unsurprisingly falls in the Group 50 category.
It is in good company, including the Range Rover SUV, AMG GT, Ferrari 812 Superfast, Bentley Continental GT, etc. It only means more money spent on hefty insurance premiums.
2 Awesome Feature: 17” Center Screen Unit
Although some may consider the infotainment display on the new Model S cars intricate, we think it is one of the tasty features of the car. While learning the menu on the 17-inch touchscreen display takes some getting used to, you quickly realize that it is much easier to navigate than the older Model S cars.
It is the epitome of a tablet on a vehicle with high definition, bigger pictures, and a refined user interface. Also, you get streaming services, a web browser, and the power to play video games.
1 We’d Never Buy: Cabin Doesn’t Live Up To Price Tag
At first sight, the Model S minimalist and futuristic interior seems faultless. That is until you hop into the car and meet some questionably cheap materials. Even with the recent refresh seeking a massaged look, the Model leaves a lot to desire for a car deep into six figures.
It will impress you if you desperately want to feel part of a digital future. But it isn’t as luxurious as a Porsche Panamera, Volvo S90, or Mercedes E-Class. Some parts feel plasticky amid the leather and advanced tech.