Never before in the 80-year history of testing by Consumer Reports has an automotive vehicle scored so high. Likely, most would have thought the outcome impossible. But the 103 score that resulted from editors’ testing of the Tesla Model S P85D – the all-wheel drive version of the Tesla Model S – literally blew the publication’s staffers away.

Make that the rest of us as well.

We already love the hot styling of this speedy electric vehicle. In fact, the Tesla Model S – and even more so in the Model S P85D version – hits all the right high points except for its price tag. With starting prices in the vicinity of $101,000 (the one tested by Consumer Reports topped out at $127,820), this Tesla is out of reach for a vast majority of consumers.

Tesla Model S P85D Breaks Consumer Reports Rating System 

In a review published August 27, 2015, Consumer Reports editor Mark Rechtin said that the Tesla Model S P85D broke the publication’s rating system by performing better than any other vehicle ever has. They had to reconfigure their rating system to accommodate the high-scoring electric sports car.

Here are some of the blazing stats:

  • 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds – without the roar of an engine
  • Better braking and handling than the standard Model S
  • More energy-efficient than the standard Model S as well, getting the equivalent of 87 mpg
  • 200-mile+ range on electricity


Huge Turnaround From Last Summer’s Harsh Critique 

Just a little over a year ago, Consumer Reports issued a harsh critique of the $89,650 Tesla Model S luxury sedan. Complaints included the lamentable fact that the electric car died after 12,000 miles of a 15,000+ miles test, requiring a “hard reset” to restore most of the vehicle’s functionality, trim panels were so noisy they had to be replaced, and multiple parts needed replacement. This caused Tesla stock to tumble right after the announcement by the respected publication. The Consumer Report criticism followed similar comments from Edmunds in late July.

Fast-forward to August 2015 and Tesla’s fortunes – and its outlook – have brightened considerably due to the most recent test scores of the all-wheel-drive version of the Model S, the P85D.

Rechtin called the Tesla Model S P85D an automotive milestone. “It’s a remarkable car that paves a new, unorthodox course,” adding that it’s “a powerful statement of American startup ingenuity.”

Granted, the six-figure price tag will give many consumers pause. But the significance of this breakthrough model is that it pushes performance and fuel-efficiency boundaries in an exciting and dramatic fashion.

As Rechtin observed, this is even more dramatic “because it is coming from the factory of an American startup company.”

We’d get in line to nab one of the Tesla Model S P85D models, but we’re probably going to hold off on this luxury electric car purchase for the time being. For those consumers who have the wherewithal, however, now may be exactly the right time to slip behind the wheel of this eerily silent and awesomely performing American-made luxury electric sedan.



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