The Tesla Model S P85D uses two electric motors rather than just one, and sends 165kW of power to the front wheels in addition to a 365kW motor that powers the rears. Combined, it churns 515kW and 930Nm of torque.
The resulting performance from the Model S P85D is claimed to include a 0-100km/h time of 3.4 seconds - faster than the likes of the Audi RS7 Sportback by 0.5sec, the Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG S by 0.7sec and the BMW M6 Gran Coupe by 0.8sec.
Its top speed isn't as eye-watering as those German models, though, with the high-output 85kWh battery pack only allowing a maximum velocity of 250km/h. In comparison, the recently facelifted RS7 (not on sale here yet) has a top speed of 305km/h, as does the M6 Gran Coupe. The CLS 63 AMG S hits a maximum of 300km/h.
Despite its impressive performance, the Model S P85D undercuts those rival cars significantly in terms of price. The RS7 is priced from $236,500 (plus on-road costs), the CLS from $262,645 (plus costs) and the M6 from $299,500 (plus costs). The P85D hits the market from just $133,500 plus on-roads.
The range-topping P85+ will remain available for the time being, with its 310kW/600Nm electric drivetrain enabling that model to a 4.4sec 0-100km/h time. That model has a top speed of 210km/h. Tesla Australia marketing and communications manager Heath Walker told us this flagship model "is the main vehicle we are launching and delivering over the coming months".
The other Tesla Model S variants remain the same.
The entry-level 60 (with a 60kWh battery pack) starts at $91,400. It has 285kW of power, and a claimed 345km of range. This base model is no slouch, with a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.2sec and a top speed of 190km/h.
The mid-level 85 kicks off at $103,400. This model has the same 285kW of power, but because of its larger 85kWh battery pack, it can hit 100km/h from rest in just 5.6sec. Top speed is governed at 225km/h, and its range is 460km - the same as the P85D.
The Tesla Model S will be available with Supercharger capability. This means the car can be recharged at a high-output charge station to 80 per cent in 40 minutes, or to full in 75 minutes. Locations for the charging network are yet to be confirmed.
Supercharger access is free for 85 and P85D models, though the entry model 60 asks extra for the option of charging at these stations. It costs $2700.
Buyers can also opt for a dual-charger onboard system that allows 110km of charge per hour from a single-phase 80 amp wallbox (also available in three-phase, 32 amp output). This option costs $1800.
The 60 receives a lesser warranty than the 85 and P85 models: eight years and 200,000 kilometres as opposed to the eight-year, infinite km coverage of the dearer variants.
Options include the Tech Package with Autopilot, which includes hardware such as a forward radar for cruise control, a forward looking camera and electric brake assist unit. Tesla says it will rollout software updates including "digital control of motors, brakes, and steering to avoid collisions from the front, sides or from leaving the road.
"Model S will be able to steer to stay within a lane, change lanes with the simple tap of a turn signal, and manage speed by reading road signs and using active, traffic aware cruise control. It will take several months for all Autopilot features to be completed and uploaded to the cars," the company says.
The Tesla Model S is scheduled to be launched locally in December. Stay tuned for more.