Tesla Model S is fast, and chic.
In P100D guise, super car performance is wrapped in a paired-back-luxury glove. It is a brick wrapped in silk.Subtly minimalist, it belies the cutting-edge ecosystem which supports it. The “100” tells people how much you paid, and how many hours you can stay on the road between charges.
We drove last year’s model HERE.
On first inspection, the big Tesla is a handsome, but unremarkable execu-hatch. The market is lousy with them. So, what makes the Model S special?
Is it the 21” wheels? They look even more enormous on such a low-slung jalopy, but they’re now commonplace.
Is it the sensuous body? As you look quizzically at the façade, you notice there is no grille, and the uniqueness begins to reveal itself.
The exterior is uncluttered to the point of OCD fervour. Chrome door handles are flush with the doors, and there is not a key hole to be seen.
Everything is controlled by the “Tesla Model S”-shaped key fob, or an app on your smart phone. As you approach the muscular hatch, it sits in a defined microcosm of smugness, as if to mock you. It awakes from its self-aware slumber, unfolds its mirrors, and moves the doors handles out just far enough for a hand to grasp them. You see, as long as the battery isn’t flat, a Tesla is never really asleep, merely napping, waiting to coaxed into life.
Lights front and back are power-saving LEDs, and they too can be controlled from your phone, anywhere in the world. Once on the move, the headlights monitor conditions ahead and will always keep the road fully lit. Never do you touch anything as sordid as a high-beam lever.
Touch the boot on the mini Tesla twice and the hatch swings up. Touch the “frunk” on the fob twice and the bonnet pops up, but don’t let Tesla owners hear you calling it anything as pedestrian as a bonnet. You still have to schlep round the front to close it.
You open the doors and they feel as light as a feather. The frameless windows look like shards of glass from a MOMA sculpture.
Then, you’re inside, having gone through a portal to another world.
The cabin has a touch of Blake’s 7 about it. Carbon fibre and leather look like futuristic interpretations of 22nd century self-driving pod, because, that is what it is. But more about that later.
You can’t help but be swept away in an overwhelming wave of lust.
There is nothing to distract you from your experience. The seats look like delicately sculptured works of art. Even the door handles feel organic and are molded into the door itself rather than being glued on as an afterthought.
The only buttons are for windows, and the auxiliary controls on the steering wheel. Except for the hazard flashers and glove box buttons, the dash utterly bereft of anything to spoil the flowing lines which trace around the graceful cockpit.
There are no instruments either. There is a discrete LCD screen placed where the driver’s dials would once have been. A massive tablet stands guard, portrait-style, over a centre stack unsullied by clutter.
Model S is designed by geeks with good taste, but at the end of the day, a nerd is a nerd, and the tablet bristles with deliciously nerdy goodness.
All functions, including the sunroof, can be