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car review

The Tesla Model S is no ordinary car. We drove it to find out how it's different

We put the Tesla Model S through its paces on Irish roads.

Last week, we drove the Tesla Model X crossover on Irish roads. This week, we put the Model S sportback to the test. 

THE TESLA MODEL S stands out from the crowd in many ways. First off, it doesn’t look like an electric car. This is a very sleek and sexy sportback.

Its smooth shape concentrates on aerodynamic efficiency and those powerful rear haunches give it a very athletic appearance. It has no front grille, again something that makes it different from most other cars out there.

But it is when you sit inside the car that you realise you aren’t in Kansas anymore, mainly because of that glorious tinted all-glass roof and huge 17-inch portrait tablet smack bang in the middle of the dash area.

Tesla Tesla

It is from this tablet that you operate almost all of the car’s settings and functions including the steering wheel feel, ride height and its famous Ludicrous Mode.

Melanie May Melanie May

The wide rear bench seat takes three child seats and you’ll fit three adults back there too. There is a very large boot which can be fitted with an optional two seats, meaning this can be a seven-seater (but those two seats are for small children only).

Because there is no engine there is also a frunk (front trunk) meaning the Model S has plenty of room to carry all your gear.

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For me though, the cabin looked a little lacklustre in its standard black attire. It’s a tad dated and the switchgear is actually borrowed from Mercedes – you’ll find it in an A-Class.

Melanie May Melanie May

But out on the road the Tesla Model S really shines. It glides effortlessly along and because the there is instant torque available the car accelerates rapidly (0-100km/h in 5.8 seconds for the 75Kwh model and a jaw-dropping 2.7 seconds in the P100D) with even just the slightest touch of the accelerator.

You can overtake anything and you really feel like the king of the road behind the wheel. It is exhilarating knowing how much power you have just under your right foot.

Nick Dimbleby Nick Dimbleby

The car is super wide and heavy because of all those batteries, but that weight is less obvious when it comes to driving. The batteries are married to the underside of the body creating a lower centre of gravity meaning it doesn’t roll about in the corners.

There is vice-like grip thanks to an all-wheel drive system created by two motors, one in the front and one in the rear, that digitally and independently control torque to the front and rear wheels. It’s hard to believe that Tesla has only been making cars for about 14 years.

Tesla Tesla

Of course, no car is perfect.

Because there is no engine the powertrain is virtually silent – but that does mean that you pick up on other noises and with the Model S tyre noise is noticeable, especially with the 22-inch low profile tyres fitted to the test car.

The A-pillar causes a bit of a blind spot when pulling out at junctions and visibility out the back window isn’t the best either but there is a really good back-up camera to help you reverse.  Also, because the car is so wide, our tight multi-storey carparks may be a bit tricky to negotiate… and might cause a lot of alloy-curbing anxiety.

Nick Dimbleby Nick Dimbleby

Being an electric vehicle the motor tax is cheap and running costs are low. But the Model S 75 costs from €86,102 and the P100D model costs from €178,499.

That said, for what you get in terms of technology, customer service, and drivability, the 75 and 75D (€92,828) are totally worth the investment. You are getting a car unlike any that has gone before.

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READ: These cars are increasing the most in popularity on DoneDeal >

READ: The Tesla Model X has finally arrived in Ireland. We took it for a drive. >

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