Tesla Model S review

Category: Electric car

Section: Performance & drive

Tesla Model S 2021 rear cornering
  • Tesla Model S 2021 front cornering
  • Tesla Model S 2021 rear cornering
  • Tesla Model S 2021 interior dashboard
  • Tesla Model S 2021 interior rear seats
  • Tesla Model S 2021 interior infotainment
  • Tesla Model S 2021 right tracking
  • Tesla Model S 2021 front cornering
  • Tesla Model S 2021 interior front seats
  • Tesla Model S 2021 boot open
  • Tesla Model S 2021 front cornering
  • Tesla Model S 2021 rear cornering
  • Tesla Model S 2021 interior dashboard
  • Tesla Model S 2021 interior rear seats
  • Tesla Model S 2021 interior infotainment
  • Tesla Model S 2021 right tracking
  • Tesla Model S 2021 front cornering
  • Tesla Model S 2021 interior front seats
  • Tesla Model S 2021 boot open
What Car?’s Model S deals
New car deals
Target Price from £95,980
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Used car deals
From £43,995
In this section:
  • Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
  • Suspension and ride comfort
  • Handling
  • Noise and vibration

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

As with all electric cars, you get instant and seamless acceleration the millisecond you put your foot down. What comes afterwards is what marks the Tesla Model S out, though, because its rate of acceleration is way beyond what most electric cars (and most cars, for that matter) can manage. The entry-level Long Range model officially blasts from 0-60mph in just 3.7sec, while the pricier Performance model lives up to its name, posting an official time of 2.3sec.

The Performance comes with various modes to enable that, including Ludicrous Plus mode, which gives it maximum power, and Cheetah Stance, which angles the car's nose to the ground and raises its haunches to help traction off the line. When we tested it on a damp track, it managed 0-60mph in 2.8sec and went on to hit 100mph in 7.2sec. Believe it or not, though, its electric rival the Porsche Taycan beat that last figure in the same conditions, recording a time of 6.9sec, and that wasn't the fastest version, either – the Turbo S might have been even quicker. 

Suspension and ride comfort

Air suspension is fitted to the Tesla Model S as standard and is superb at keeping you comfortable on motorway trips, as long as you avoid the optional 21in wheels.

The news isn’t quite so good on beaten-up town roads, which unsettle the car at times and cause it to thud. However, it stays on the right side of compliant and is significantly more forgiving than the Model 3.

If you want better all-round comfort, try the Taycan. Despite being more of a sports car, it rides really well, no matter what the surface or what speed you're doing.

New car deals
Target Price from £95,980
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Used car deals
From £43,995