2017 Tesla Model S 100D Review

These days when you think electric cars you think Tesla. The company has managed to establish itself thanks to its Superstar CEO, Elon Musk, and it’s most popular and successful car to date, the Model S. I’ve personally been a fan of Tesla since they first released the Roadster and I’ve even had the chance to check out their head office in Palo Alto, California a few years ago. But it was only recently that I had the opportunity to drive one.

I got behind the wheel of the version with the longest travelling range of the Model S series, the 100D. What Tesla has done here is take the insanely fast P100D, which can officially do 507 KM, and basically detuned it a bit. This gives a range of 539 KM for the 100D on a single charge.

What you end up with is a car that is almost half as fast as the other, from 0-100 Km/h, (4.3sec for the 100D vs. 2.3sec P100D). Mind you, the 100D will still accelerate faster than some high-end sports cars with gasoline engines, and has a top speed of 250Km/h.

The most significant difference that consumers may notice between the two is the price tag ($133,600 for the 100D and $193,900 for the P100D). With savings of over $60,000 the 100D seems like a “fair” trade-off.

The design of the car looks cleaner than when it first launched, with a simpler, flatter nose that brings out the headlights better. As I walked around the 100D I realised that whichever angle I stared from, the lines simply looked stunning. It definitely has that sport executive style.

On the inside it’s like stepping into a spaceship of a not so distant future. The design is very clean and minimalist but the beautiful steering wheel, digital dashboard and 17 inch portrait touchscreen really stand out. There are loads of functionalities such as; a seven-speaker stereo, leather-like trim, 19-inch alloys, reversing camera, keyless entry and start, forward collision warning, electric front seats, sat nav, auto LED headlights, auto wipers, internet connectivity via included SIM card, power mirrors and windows and air suspension. The ability to search for destinations and have them mapped out with charging stations along the way, and even consider charging time makes navigation with a Tesla incredibly easy. The “famous” Autopilot remains a functionality to use and takes the strain on longer motorway trips, but the quality – especially that of the buttons on the steering wheel – is still a little shy of the best in the luxury class vehicles.

Mechanically, the new Tesla Model S 100D is impressive. Thanks to its all-wheel-drive powertrain powered by dual electric motors, press the throttle out of roundabouts or corners and the instant surge is thrilling, and overtaking is no trouble at all. The sensation of instant torque mixed with a silent electric “whizzing” sound as you thrust forward never gets old. One thing that caught my attention was the regenerative braking, as soon as you let off the throttle you could feel the brake pressure being applied, it almost felt like engine braking in a manual gasoline car executed by downshifting to slow down.  Basically this Tesla drives like a sports car but feels as smooth as any other luxury sedan.

All that being said, let’s take a step back and look at the big picture here, we now have on the market a car that has over 500 KM electric range and because of that the 100D is a dominant force in the electric car market. Yes it is ridiculously expensive, but the fact that buyers will be able to use this Model S every day without experiencing range anxiety is significant progress in the push for EV domination. If Tesla put’s a similar setup in the upcoming (much, much cheaper) Model 3, then we will witness a real significant rise in EV on the roads.