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2020 Tesla Model S Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 9.5

The 2020 Tesla Model S has blistering acceleration, dynamic handling, and excellent driving range.

  • "The Model S rides comfortably, carves corners with precision, accelerates like a catapult, stops on a dime, and glides in a whisper quiet manner." -- Consumer Reports
  • "As much fun as the Model S is rocketing to 60 mph in under three seconds, it can also be quite entertaining on twisting roads." -- Autotrader
  • "Under normal driving conditions, a lack of engine noise imbues the Model S with a serene demeanor, supported by good ride quality." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The Tesla Model S comes standard with two electric motors and a 100-kilowatt-hours lithium-ion battery pack. All variants of the car have insanely quick acceleration. The Long Range Plus can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. The Model S Performance can make the same sprint in 2.4 seconds.

According to Tesla, the Model S Long Range Plus has an all-electric driving range of up to 390 miles. It also gets an EPA-estimated 111 MPGe combined city/highway. The Model S Performance has a range of up to 348 miles and gets an EPA-estimated 97 to 104 MPGe.

  • "The Model S' straight-line acceleration is the stuff of legend, made even more insanely fast when placed into Ludicrous mode." -- Autotrader
  • "Acceleration is snappy and immediate. …  The acceleration thrust feels quite forceful, and with no sound nor build-up of torque, the experience is almost eerie. But drivers will definitely feel pinned to their seat." -- Consumer Reports
  • "The Long Range zips to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds while the Performance blasts to that same velocity in a downright ludicrous 2.4 seconds. That makes the Model S faster than just about any car on the road. Given the obscene thrust in either version of the car, a Model S is a real thrill ride." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

You can count on the all-wheel-drive Model S for composed handling around turns and great road grip. While some critics write that steering feels vague, others note that it provides a good amount of feedback. The Model S' ride is on the firmer side, but it still feels comfortable.

  • "The steering can feel a bit vague at times, but the overall handling is really quite good. The ride is firm, although the adjustable shock absorbers help smooth things out when the pavement gets choppy." -- Autotrader
  • "Even though the Tesla is a wide and heavy car, the Model S is fun to drive. It feels hunkered down, taut and agile. Without a heavy engine over the front axle it corners eagerly. Its steering is linear and direct, transmits decent feedback, and requires just the right amount of effort. … Riding on the car's standard 19-inch wheels, and with the standard air suspension, the Model S delivers a taut but steady ride." -- Consumer Reports
  • "Thanks to sharp steering and incredibly sticky summer performance tires, the grip available with this car is impressive. Corner-carving is also aided by immediate pedal response. It's far more fun than such a heavy vehicle should be. … The ride remains on the firm side even in our Model S test car with 21-inch wheels and an air suspension. That's not a real complaint because it's never coarse, but it's far from cushy." -- Edmunds (2019)
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2020 Tesla Model S

MSRP: $79,990 - $99,990

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