What you are looking at is the key to the
future. This is what it can do to a 550 bhp Aston Martin in a straight line. We’ll come
back to the drag race in a moment, but for the time being consider this. The Tesla model
S has been on sale in the United States for about
one year now. And in the first three months of 2013, it outsold the Audi A8, the BMW 7
series, and the Mercedes S class. When it goes on sale in right hand drive in
the UK next year, it will cost around £80,000 for the top spec version you see here. Which
means that it will be cheaper than most of its conventional rivals. So what’s it like? I have to say that having spent just a day
with this car, the magazine has spent the thick end of a week with it, we’re just blown
away by it. It is extraordinary in its range of abilities. In this guise, the Model S is powered by an
85 kilowatt lithium ion battery pack. Which, via a three phase AC electric motor, produces
the equivalent of about 410 bhp and 443 pounds of torque. You put your foot down in this thing and you
go. And the reason why that is, is because that torque is available from nought revs.
And that is what gives this thing its unreal acceleration. Apart from the power and the
power delivery which is just nuts, I think what’s most impressive of all about the Model
S is that it does all the conventional stuff really well. You don’t need to make any excuses
up for it. I mean, I know it weighs a couple of tons, but all the weight of the batteries
is right down low in the car just where you want it. And it’s nicely balanced. It goes
around corners properly. Really, really properly. And it stops well. The Model S really has lovely suspension.
It’s kind of traditional in its suspension design in that there are double wishbones
at the front and multi link at the back. There’s nothing radical there. There’s nothing particularly
radical about the steering. It has a variable ratio rack but it still feels good, the steering.
There is some life that comes back at you through the rim. It doesn’t feel alien. The cabin is beautifully made as well. I really,
really like the interior of this car. And I think this big iPad -like screen, once you’ve
been mucking around with that for a couple of days, you’re not going to want anything
else. That is going to appear in many, many other road cars. You’ve got the nav up here.
You’re connected up to the internet at all times. You can find out exactly how much range
is left. One small complaint I do have concerns the seats. Considering how much performance
this car has got, the seats do not offer enough support. You kind of have to cling onto the
steering wheel like mad in order not to get chucked around the place. Okay, we’re going to find out just how fast
the Tesla Model S is compared with the Aston Martin Rapide S. I’m just going to wait for
him to put his foot down. He’s in second gear doing about 30 miles an hour. He’s gone, now
I go, and now I disappear. Oh, man. That’s it. Look. Bye, bye Aston Martin. That is just
incredible. It’s in, I cannot describe what that feels like. It just feels as if there’s
some higher force that just picks you up and thrusts you at the horizon. The Model S might have been in the same league
as the Rapide when it comes to interior luxury, or style, or pure quality. But it isn’t meant
to compete with a car like the Aston to be honest, on any level. We just wanted to show
you how fast it is in a straight line. Tesla claims nought to 60 in 4.2 seconds. Our road
testers figured it at 4.6 seconds. Either way, it is seriously rapid, up to three figures
and beyond. And in terms of its range and charge times, Tesla claims the Model S will
do 300 miles on one charge. After a weeks testing, we reckon it will do at least 260
miles in the real world. Which isn’t a lot less than the Aston can manage on a tank of
fuel. A full charge from the regular mains takes
about six hours. But from one of Tesla’s new super charge points, half a charge will take
about half an hour. Oh, yes and one full charge costs around £4.50 at standard off-peak rates.
Whereas in the V12 Aston, a full tank of unleaded costs about £120 a pop. The Tesla Model S is a landmark car. Absolutely
no mistake. This is incredible this car. This is the future, except it’s right now in the
present. And it makes the Aston seem really, really old fashioned. Wow.