Tesla’s flagship combines executive refinement with near-hypercar performance.
By Gaith Madadha
Having finally begun officially selling its cars in Jordan earlier this year, Tesla, the Silicon Valley upstart electric automaker, is likely to perform well in the Kingdom thanks to favorable electric car duties and a small but expanding charging network.
Competing with various luxury, super executive and hybrid cars, the P100D’s design and size is, however, closest to luxury coupe-like saloons such as the Aston Martin Rapide and Audi A7. The dramatically swooping, low-slung and broad shouldered Model S received a minor face-lift circa 2016, with a futuristic ultra-slim grille, replacing a more conventional design.
It is built from the ground up as an electric car and its extensive lightweight aluminum content offsets battery pack weight, which is positioned across the floor and within the wheelbase for a low center of gravity. Dual electric motors independently drive front and rear wheels through a single-speed automatic gearbox for seamlessly fluent delivery. Regenerative brakes meanwhile harness kinetic energy into electricity, improve braking response, and reduce mechanical brake wear.
The P100D is not just the flagship Tesla and longest range electric car, but is the most powerful saloon and among the quickest accelerating regular production cars ever. With some 259 BHP and 277 lb/ft torque developed by its front motor and 503 BHP and 525 lb/ft at the rear, its total output is—in the absence of published Tesla figures—is estimated at 762 BHP and 791 lb/ft, depending on battery temperature.
The P100D, characterized by the tsunami-like torque, is beguilingly violent but silent, accelerating from standstill at full tilt, and comparable to far more exotically-priced hypercars. Its 0-100 km/h time is conservatively rated at 2.7 seconds (0-97 km/h in 2.5 seconds).
Brutally effective at low and medium speeds, the P100D overtakes gathers speed at a phenomenal rate, even in default mode. Full output is, however, accessed in Ludicrous driving mode, which in turn accelerates drive-train wear and reduces its 507 km combined driving range. Driving range varies according to driving style, speed, and conditions. Similarly, recharging times vary depending on charger type, with the quickest being the high performance Tesla Supercharger system.
Progressively feeding power, rather than aggressively prodding the accelerator pedal, ensures better cornering traction, stability, and pace. Meanwhile, brakes work hard against a 2250kg weight, and are effectively aided by regenerative braking resistance. Yet, a lower resistance mode allows a more fluent driving style.
If it doesn’t exactly prove that electric cars are as engaging as some petrol-powered ones, the P100D’s effortlessly muscular approach is particularly well suited for service as a fast luxury segment commuter. And while electric charging isn’t yet as readily available or quick, Tesla does have charging points along the Amman-Aqaba route for extended touring. Meanwhile, its electric-only driveline proves more seamlessly integrated and fluent than many hybrids.
With big footprint and high-speed stability, the P100D is a comfortable, grand touring luxury car and is confidently agile through sweeping corners, where its low center of gravity seems particularly evident. Its electric-assisted steering is quick and precise, with tidily crisp turn-in. Meanwhile, optional adaptive air suspension provides taut body control through corners and a smooth ride despite wide low profile tires.
It soaks up imperfections well and is settled on rebound, but can feel somewhat firm over sharp low-speed bumps. And given its low roofline and wide body, the P100D’s large bird’s eye view, reversing monitors, and parking sensors with exact distance readouts, proved especially useful for maneuverability in narrow car parks. Its blindspot alert would have also been handy, but is integrated with its Autopilot system, which was disengaged during test drive.
Refined and luxurious with two-tone leather, carbon-fiber trim, supportive driving position, and well-equipped with entertainment, safety, and driver-assistance tech, the P100D’s various features and settings are accessed through a large, intuitive 17-inch touchscreen. Rear headroom could be better for tall adults owing to its low roofline, but it is nevertheless practical, with adjustable ride height, large rear hatch, optional rear-facing five-point harness third-row child seats, and 894-liter front/rear luggage room.
- Engine: Dual front/rear electric motors
- Battery: 100kwh lithium-ion
- Gearbox: 1-speed automatic
- Driveline: four-wheel-drive
- Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 762 (772) *
- Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 791 (1072)*
- 0-100 km/h: 2.7 seconds
- Top speed: 250 km/h
- Energy consumption, city/highway: 37/32kW-hrs/160 km*
- Range, combined, 21-inch wheels: 507km**
- Charging (Supercharger): 6.3-9.5 hours (75 minutes)*
- Width: 1964 mm
- Length: 4978 mm
- Wheelbase: 2960 mm
- Tires, F/R: 245/35R21 / 265/35R21
**US Environmental Protection Agency