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The Charging Point

Your one-stop destination for electric and hybrid cars

The Tesla Model S P100D in red speeds along the open road

Tesla Model S P100D

Why does this car matter?

There aren't very many cars that can claim to have changed the automotive industry, but the Tesla Model S is certainly one of them. Apart from being the poster child of the EV revolution it is the car that caught the motor industry napping. It proved to a doubtful sector that there was indeed a market for luxury, high-end electric vehicles.

This P100D is the fastest and most expensive Model S yet. With two barrel-sized electric motors, which between them produce 751bhp and 723lb ft of torque, it can rocket itself to 62mph in just 2.5 seconds. Don't be fooled by its three-box saloon car proportions; the P100D monsters supercars on the drag strip for laughs.

It's no EV of the people, though. Costing £126,230 - around twice the price of the entry-level Model S - the P100D is staggeringly expensive.

Is it good to drive?

With the batteries spread out across the floor like paving slabs and the motors nestled within each axle the P100D's powertrain is very compact, much more so than a comparable combustion engine and transmission would be. Dropping into the car's cabin is like walking into a Tardis; there's so much more space inside than you expected. The cockpit is dominated by the vast central touchscreen, which houses all of the car's information, entertainment and ventilation functions.

Mostly the cabin quality is very good, but when you factor in that monstrous list price you can't help but think it should be better appointed still. If you spent the same money on a Mercedes saloon, for instance, you would find more to be delighted by. The Model S is incredibly quiet, though, making it so much more relaxing to travel in than most conventional cars. The ride quality is composed and fluid, too, all of which adds up to one of the least demanding cars on sale. Little wonder they're proving so popular among commuters.

Tesla quotes a range of almost 400 miles, although so much depends on how gentle you are with the accelerator, whether or not you're using the air conditioning and even how hot it is outside. At 2241kg the Model S is far too heavy to be fun to drive on a back road the way a lighter sports saloon might be. What really stands out about the P100D driving experience, however, is the way the car accelerates away from standstill in near silence, as though it's been picked up and swept along by some external force. Once you've sampled that gravitational rush of acceleration you never want to give it up.

Engage the much-hyped Ludicrous mode and allow the battery to ready itself, which can take several minutes, and the P100D will slingshot to three-figure speeds with the sort of brutality only fighter pilots had experienced before now. You can actually feel your cheeks being pulled back towards your ears as the Model S leaps off the line.

The Tesla Model S P100D in red parked in a Tesla car garage

What's the verdict?

One of the most accelerative cars on the road is also among the most relaxing. Who saw that coming? The P100D is a remarkable machine, as well as being a game changer. That six-figure list price is so hard to overlook, though. The Model S 75D is a fast car in its own right - it'll hit 62mph in 4.2 seconds - and it's close to £60,000 cheaper than the P100D.

Score 8

Data

Engine/power unit Twin electric motors
Transmission Four-wheel drive
Power 751bhp
Torque 723lb ft
0-62mph 2.5 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Weight 2,241kg
Fuel economy n/a
Emissions n/a
Electric range 389 miles
Price £126,230

One of the most accelerative cars on the road is also among the most relaxing. Who saw that coming?"

Read more Portrait of writer Dan Prosser