Tesla Model S Review 2024
Tesla Model S At A Glance
Insurance Group 50
Being backed by one of the world’s richest men hasn’t hurt Tesla’s growth, nor has not being wedded to a traditional way of doing things, Tesla being among the most disruptive forces to hit the automotive industry in recent times. The Model S has been around since 2014 and still the traditional manufacturers are scrambling to catch up. Not cheap, and there are other compromises, but the Model S is the poster car for a plug-in future, and rightly so.
We used to be asked if we’d driven a *(insert supercar of choice here) whenever mentioning our work testing cars here at Honest John. That’s changed since Tesla arrived, and not just because the Model S has the ability to smoke most supercars when it comes to its accelerative performance, with plenty of YouTube videos to prove it, because everyone wants to know about it.
Smoke’s technically wrong, too, as the Tesla does its wild acceleration party-trick without producing any emissions, or at least from any tailpipe. Batteries power electric motors, with the Model S genuinely catching the traditional car makers unaware in relation to both its performance, and, crucially, range.
Tesla has become an almost cultish brand as a result, with dedicated followers unable to see past some of the company’s failings – build quality can be sub-par, and its proclamations of self-driving tech is somewhat worrisome – but that aside it’s impossible not to be impressed with what Tesla’s achieved in a very short space of time.
With the Model S Tesla hasn’t just produced a car, but it’s created a charging network to power it, which allied to the useful real-world range the Model S (and Tesla’s other models) makes the Model S a car that’s genuinely useable, even over long distances.
That’s key to its success, early adopters of the Model S also benefitting from Teslas’s offer of free charging via its Supercharger network, which covers most of the UK, Europe and beyond.
Model S sales might have slowed now Tesla offers a cheaper, smaller choice with its Model 3, but it still offers the Model S in either Long Range or Performance models, with the Long Range able to eke out as much as 370 miles – that an official WLTP tested figure – and the Performance model only losing about 12 miles off that. Those are numbers that no plug-in electric vehicle from any rival has been able to come close to matching yet, with most struggling to achieve about half of that.
Throw in the Model S’s mind-altering accelerative potential, with the Performance model able to reach 60mph in an organ-rearranging 2.3 seconds when set to Ludicrous Mode – seriously – that better than most hypercars, and even the Model S’s closest rival, Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S. Entirely unhindered by convention, then, the Model S underlines that with an interior that’s almost entirely controlled by a huge touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard.
It’s not perfect in its operation, but it’s arguably more user-friendly than rival manufacturers’ systems, and its size does help distract you from the otherwise less than perfect materials that can be found in the Model S’s interior.
Still, it feels like you’re driving the future when you’re in one, which you are, all of which makes the fact it’s actually been around now for nigh on a decade – it arriving in the US in 2012 – even more remarkable.