February 22, 2013
Elon Musk is either a genius visionary or a complete fool. And we just paid him $110,000 to find out which.HT: Kedrosky
We bought a 2013 Tesla Model S. It's ours and, unlike most other newspapers, magazines and Web sites, we're going to test it without Mr. Musk loaning us the vehicle and tracking our every move.
We've tested the Model S before. Several times. And it has consistently impressed us with its abilities and technology. But as with the rest of America's media, Tesla, which is based in Palo Alto, California and builds the cars in nearby Fremont, loaned us those sedans for evaluation. We would drive the car for a week or two and return it to Elon. In fact, the first Model S we tested was the man's personal car.
But this time it's different. There are no time limits. And no scary big brother black boxes watching over us. It's our car. We paid for it. We picked it up at the Fremont factory with 50 Tesla-test-track miles on the odometer. And our plan is simple. We're going to drive the hell out of it for a year. We're going to drive it as much as possible. Where we want. When we want. And Mr. Musk can only sit back and read about it like everybody else.
What We Bought
The 2013 Tesla Model S is available in two trim levels, Base and Performance, starting at a totally reasonable $59,900. For your nearly $60 grand, you get 19-inch wheels, keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, cloth seats and a 40kWh battery pack producing 235 horsepower, 310 pound-feet of torque and a range of about 100 miles. But we've had EVs with a hundred-mile range before. That's no fun anymore and while you can get a base Model S with more juice, we decided to step up our game and get the Model S Performance.
The 2013 Tesla Model S Performance starts off where the base leaves off, but leaves behind the boring 40kWh batteries in exchange for an 85kWh pack. This power plant delivers 416 hp, 443 lb-ft of torque and an estimated range of 265 miles. Last time we tested a Tesla Model S with the Performance pack, it hit 60 in 4.3 seconds (4.2 with 1 foot of rollout) and cleared the quarter-mile in 12.6 seconds at 108.3 mph.
Beyond the upgraded powertrain that will give us real-car range and sports car speed, the Tesla Model S performance brings active air suspension with sport-tuned traction control and Napa leather. The cost? $93,750, including $990 for Tesla Personal Delivery (its words for destination and delivery) and $180 for "Final inspection, prep, and coordination" (its words for "give us more money").
Even though we were already over $90,000, we didn't stop spending....MUCH MORE