Tesla Model S Review

Gumtree Rating

4.5 rating

Tesla has built its reputation on proving that electric vehicles can go toe-to-toe with the meanest performance cars out there. The Model S does that job effortlessly. Beyond the jaw-dropping performance, it’s also known for having an interior and infotainment system that’s bristling with stunning tech. With head-turning looks to boot, it all adds up to a package built to impress – and to help Tesla maintain its position in the face of competition from the likes of the Audi e-tron and Porsche Taycan.

Check out the Tesla Model S page to learn more and explore available cars.

What we think about the Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S delivers performance on every front, along with luxury and style.

Pros

+

Incredible speed

+

Very quiet

+

Outstanding tech

+

Impressive range

Cons

High list price

Rivals feel better screwed-together inside

Weight affects the handling

Tesla launched the Model S in 2012 as a four-door follow-up to its successful Roadster. It was updated in 2016, with the redesign doing away with the faux-grille black panel at the front and embracing the car’s electric identity. This generation also brought in the P90D with Ludicrous Mode, featuring a warp-speed animation to accompany the absurd acceleration. The Model S is currently available in two versions. The Performance, can take on the world’s fastest supercars. The Long Range, the relative tortoise to the Performance’s hare, will go a bit further on a single charge. A new overhauled version is due to hit these shores in 2022.

Driving performance of the Tesla Model S

Our Driving Rating9 / 10

It’s difficult to quibble with a car that will take you from 0 to 60 in 2.3 seconds – and do that pretty much silently. That’s the Performance version, but the entry-level Long Range isn’t much slower, doing it in 3.7 seconds. The acceleration is immediate when you put your foot down – this is a feature it shares with all electric vehicles, but few cars of any kind can beat those numbers. Electric rival the Porsche Taycan is a possible exception. The air suspension delivers a comfortable ride on the motorway, although less so on bumpy surfaces. The combination of the soft suspension and the car’s weight do affect the handling somewhat, and it’s not as agile as some of its rivals.

Safety and reliability of the Tesla Model S

Our Safety Rating10 / 10

Back in 2014, the Model S was awarded the full five stars by Euro NCAP. And in the US in 2018, it was even named the second-safest car ever made, judging by the US National Highway Safety Administration’s crash tests (and was only pipped to the title by Tesla’s Model 3). The Model S is kitted out with stability and traction controls, along with rollover sensors and emergency power disconnect, along with six airbags and three Isofix points. Active cruise mode will change lanes and overtake for you.

Under the bonnet of the Tesla Model S

Our Engine Rating10 / 10

Rather than an engine, the Model S is powered by two massive electric motors with a combined output estimated at 671 brake horsepower. The Ludicrous Mode that enables the Performance version’s lightning acceleration entails not only software but also a higher-capacity fuse, allowing more power to be drawn from the batteries. Using this mode will wear the car out more quickly, we’re warned.

What you'll find in the Tesla Model S

Our Design Rating9 / 10

The Model S shares its clean minimalist looks with the other two Tesla models on sale, the Model 3 and the Model X. Of the three, it’s the Model S that will turn heads, with its swept-back roofline and low-slung stance. Considering the pace discussed above though, it’s pretty unassuming-looking, with understated style cloaking a whole lot of substance.

Comfort and interiors in the Tesla Model S

Our Comfort Rating7 / 10

Like the other Teslas, the Model S has done away with traditional switches and buttons, replacing them with a huge 17.0-inch touchscreen that controls everything. This is one area where it definitely beats the Porsche Taycan and its fiddly smaller screen. The minimalist look creates a futuristic feel. Rival premium rides do feel higher-quality inside though, and the ‘vegan’ leather doesn’t feel as plush as the real thing. Rear seat passengers will enjoy the flat floor – the independent motors mean there’s no need for a transmission tuner to accommodate a crankshaft.

tesla model s dashboard

What features you'll find in the Tesla Model S

Our Features Rating8 / 10

In addition to controlling the mirrors, windscreen wipers and everything else you need to drive, that massive touchscreen is also your gateway to the Model S infotainment system. Google Maps, Netflix, computer games and a web browser are all incorporated. There’s keyless entry and start, a digital dashboard and a seven-speaker stereo system as standard. The Model S is meant for around town, the idea being that you tell the car the address you want to go to and it takes you there. For the past few years, all Teslas have been pre-loaded with the hardware for Full Self-Driving mode in future.

What fuel efficiency to expect from the Tesla Model S

Our Fuel Consumption Rating10 / 10

The Model S’s fuel consumption is zero, so full marks for fuel economy here. The various versions will get you anywhere between 208 miles and 393 miles on a single charge. If your Model S was built before January 2017, you can charge it for free at a Tesla supercharger site. Charging at home will take a lot longer, but you’ll pay maybe half what you would for petrol to cover the same distance.

Running costs of the Tesla Model S

Our Cost Rating7 / 10

For starters, if your Model S was registered before 1 April 2017, you won’t have to pay road tax. It will need a service annually or every 125,000 miles, but with few moving parts, it shouldn’t require too much in the way of regular maintenance. But be aware that what repairs it does need may cost more than rivals, due to the aluminium construction and some parts needing to be shipped from the US. The sports car-like performance means this isn’t a cheap car to insure, sitting in the highest insurance group 50.

Our verdict of the Tesla Model S

4.5 rating

4.5 / 5 Gumtree rating

The Tesla model S delivers the performance of a supercar with none of the noise and smoke, and with a raft of futuristic tech to boot.