2016 Tesla Model S P90D Review: Long-term report one

Rating: 9.5
$197,738 Mrlp
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It's the latest and fastest Tesla Model S ever. We take possession of a Tesla Model S P90D with Ludicrous Mode to see what it's like to live with everyday...
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Owning a car is more than just about the feeling you get following a test drive. While our week-long reviews with the Tesla Model S have given us some insight into what the car is like to live with, how does it fare over a longer period?

To find out, we snagged Tesla's top-shelf model to see how it would go when shared around the CarAdvice Melbourne office. The 2016 Tesla Model S P90D (our car also has the optional 'Ludicrous mode' fitted) is arguably the most technologically advanced car on the market at the moment.

Our plan is to test everything from range, through to using 'Summon mode' to retrieve it from the depths of our garage.

So buckle up as we hit the road in the world's quickest four-door sedan.

With a starting price of $169,500 (before LCT and on-road costs), it's pretty easy for Model S prices to skyrocket when a few options boxes are ticked. For example, our test car has the following options fitted:

  • Ludicrous Mode - $15,000
  • Red Multi-coat Paint - $2300
  • Smart Air Suspension - $3800
  • Subzero Weather Package - $1500
  • Ultra High Fidelity Sound - $3800
  • Next Generation Leather Seats - $3800
  • Premium Interior and Lighting Package - $4500
  • Autopilot Convenience Features - $3800
  • Carbon Fibre Spoiler - $1500
  • Panoramic Glass Sunroof - $2300
  • 21 inch Turbine Alloy Wheels - $6800
  • Carbon Fibre Decor - $1500
  • Total options: $50,600

With the addition of these options, the price is pushed up to $220,100 (before on-road costs, which for a vehicle registered in Victoria places the car at a price of $277,545). Immediately, it becomes strange to see that some technology, such as the Autopilot features, aren't standard. This set of features is the whole basis of Tesla as a company — high-end technology like this shouldn't be optional.

Anyway, this gripe aside, we would absolutely get all of these options. Ludicrous Mode is a no brainer — it reduces the 0-100km/h sprint time from 3.3 seconds to a staggering 3.0s flat.

The Smart Air Suspension not only offers an incredibly luscious ride, but it uses geocaching to remember locations where you may have raised the suspension to clear a driveway entrance, for example. So, as you approach that location again, it will automatically raise once more.

The Subzero Package adds heating elements to the windscreen, a heated steering wheel and also individual seat heating to all three seats in the second row.

It's also worth forking out for the high-end sound system. It's a ripper unit that features 12 speakers and a larger amplifier and subwoofer. Tesla claims it's 'audiophile' quality, and we agree.

During our time with the car, we're planning to drive it as much as possible and collate feedback between the team. Our first few days with the car have so far included a tutorial for all the Melbourne office staff.

While it drives like any other car, we thought it was important to make sure everybody knew how all the features work and when to use them.

Surprisingly (and I mean this in the nicest way), everybody, from our youngest members (such as our new cadet James Wong), through to our oldest staff members, had no issues getting the hang of operating the car.

As a final resort, we also had the car added to the Tesla phone application. The application allows you to see where the car is located, remotely lock and unlock, remotely activate climate controls, check charge status and use the Summon feature. The application will prove handy for checking when the car is fully charged and how long it has left to charge.

Things we've noticed immediately about the interior are things like the high-quality feeling dashboard (finished in Alcantara) and the comfortable seats. But, these things are offset by strange items like the Mercedes-Benz sourced window controls, indicator and cruise control stalk.

During our initial 'initiation' session inside the car, we also noticed that while legroom was great, toe room was compromised by low-sitting driver and front passenger seats. This means there is plenty of knee room, but toes tend to get caught between the carpet and the base of the seat in front.

Keep your eye on the site for our next two long-term reports and also a comparison, where we will pit the Tesla Model S P90D against one of its high-end German competitors... Stay tuned.

In the meantime, we've had a charging station installed at our office. It's attached to a three phase switchboard and uses a 32A circuit breaker, meaning we should be able to get around faster charging times than using a single phase charger. You can have the same unit installed at home on a single-phase connection also. We paid around $700 for our installation due to the age of the switchboard (it's an old clunker).

Click on the Photos tab to see more images of the 2016 Tesla Model S P90D by Tom Fraser.

2016 Tesla Model S P90D with Ludicrous Mode
Date acquired – March 2016
Odometer reading – 6219kms
Travel since previous – N/A
Consumption since previous – N/A