I recently had the great pleasure to take a P85D loaner while having my car serviced. Actually I was just getting the center consoled installed! While they installed the console, I drove the P85D for 125 miles. One trip over the mountains to the coast and back, and the second morning finding some errands to run around town. During the extended test drive, I found a number of small things about the D that I was not expecting.
As has been reported many times, the acceleration is insane and very reminiscent of my four year Roadster experience. Super fun and smooth from a dead stop. In 2013, I had driven a P85+ loaner and was not overly impressed with it. I did not like the car’s reaction to full acceleration from a dead stop as the front lurched up and the wheels squealed a bit. The D was very fun; I kept it in insane mode for the day and never tried the sport mode. I definitely used a higher rate of kWh/mile than normal while enjoying this faster acceleration.
Interestingly enough the motor noise was substantially different. At first I felt like a small jet was flying by. The volume was definitely louder than my S85. But after the first 30 minutes of driving I no longer noticed the noise difference.
The P85D loaner seemed to handle exactly like my S85; both cars are equipped with air suspension. I couldn’t really tell a difference. I did take a good drive over and back to the coast on some really fun twisty mountain roads.
During my Roadster driving days, I had horrible radio reception. I still listen to some AM and FM radio on a somewhat regular basis. The FM signal was not as crisp as in my car, but the AM station was completely inaudible. I suspect with two motors, the electromagnetic interference is worse. I easily showed this to the valet that picked up my car as we listened to an AM and an FM station side by side in the loaner and in my car and the difference was very noticeable.
While driving, the car indicated several times that I was quite close to some mysterious objects in the road. I have driven several loaners in the past with parking sensors and do not recall ever getting these warnings. The camera screen warned me more than once that I was close to a physical object. Also twice the dash flashed a warning in red graphics that I was about to hit a car or person in front of me. I like to drive away from all traffic and am by no means a tailgater. I did not have enough hours with the loaner to determine the true cause of these warnings.
When I first got into the car, I noticed an astringent strong smell. This smell was so distracting, I rolled down the windows for a long period. I spent most of the 125 miles with the sunroof and windows down in one configuration or another. The weather varied between 60 and 75 degrees, so driving in this top down fashion was appropriate, but that smell took about 24 hours to not be noticeable.
I don’t know if this car smell is because of some new surfaces in the manufacturing process, unusual behavior by another driver, or a chemical in the mysterious spray bottle I saw being used on the car before I picked it up. I can’t quite identify the nature of the smell other than unpleasant; my nose and sense of taste can’t determine the list of spices in restaurant food either. I know whoever that I am quite sensitive to the smell of cleaning agents.
Higher Rear Headrests
The newer rear headrests are so high, I almost wonder why there is even a rear window! At this point I largely depend upon the cameras, side windows and rear view mirrors. Only when changing lanes in dicey situations do I use the rear window, But with the new seat backs, the rear window almost useless.
I think Tesla now has a wonderful option for folks who feel the need for speed. I was not fond of the P85+ but the P85D characteristics are really nice. My area is in a big economic boom with more and more people and traffic. It is getting harder and hard to find places where I could really enjoy the insane acceleration. To trade in my 39,000 mile S85 to a P85D at this point would be a large outlay in dollars that I could not justify.
However if I were buying my first Model S right now, the P85D would be in serious contention. The dual motors would work both for having a lot of fun and the occasional trips to the snow. I could potentially no longer keep the Toyota Highlander Hybrid that spends most of the time in the garage. Unfortunately with climate change, the California Sierra Nevada mountains have had so little snow in recent years, I almost don’t even need a 4WD vehicle anymore.