2015 P85D review

My first week of P85+ ownership was absolute bliss. My second week, however, was marred by anxiety and regret, thanks to the unexpected 10-10-14 P85D release. Like everyone else, I salivated over the dual motors, autopilot and next-gen seats I couldn’t have, and spent way too much time on the forums, getting lectured how I’d purchased a smartphone-like device, and needed to get over myself. I agonized whether to sell my week-old P85+, and take a big financial hit.

So, today, I got to put all that to rest, and test drive the new P85D – at my wife’s insistence. She had hopelessly fallen in love with my P85+, and wants one too, for she confided in me she enjoys driving it more than her old AMG convertible. My other clue – every single morning, she playfully asks if she can borrow it for the day. My previous car was an M3 convertible, and she never asked for the keys once. On the days I’d lovingly let her take my P85+, I’d miss it terribly, for the exhaust fumes in her ICE vehicle now annoyed me, I’d often forget to turn off her engine, it takes several minutes to warm up on cold mornings (no iPhone pre-warming app!), along with the ice-age acceleration, and, once I had my wallet stolen out of her car, because I assumed it would lock itself after I walked away.

Here are my initial impressions:
– The P85D doors close with a cheap rattly clank, just like my P85+. Had they closed with that satisfying S-Class thunk, I would have traded mine in right on the spot.
– Speaking of the doors, the rear doors now open wider, which is nice, for my 75-year-old parents sometimes struggle to get in the back seat.
– The top of the dashboard had the same alcantara as my roof, which is a nice touch.
– The next-gen seats? WOW. I love my P85+ seats, but the side bolsters reminded me of strapping into my old M3. I gave the Service Manager my card, and asked him to call me if he hears anything about a retrofit possibility.

Driving Impressions:
– The 0-30 acceleration. Wow. Yes, it’s terrifying the first couple times. After 30mph, though, I really couldn’t tell it apart from my P85+. Even my wife agreed. That being said, a couple things annoyed me. One, it felt like the hood rose 5 or 6 inches on a hard launch. To me, that’s behavior suited to Buicks and SUVs, for my P85+ doesn’t paw at the sky on a hard launch. Next, the front motor makes a sci-fi kind of whine. I only heard it on the hard launches, but it did detract from that silent spaceship experience I love in my P85+. My wife’s hearing is better than mine, and she heard the whine all the time. And yes, it was in Insane more.
– The steering felt a little heavier than the standard mode of my P85+.
– The brakes were grabby, making it difficult to brake smoothly at low speeds. The Service Manager explained to us later that these are the next-gen brakes, which are software-controlled, as opposed to mechanical.
– The lane-departure warning vibrated the steering wheel when you crossed a lane marker. I immediately turned it off.
– The speed limit sign in the dash only appears for a few seconds, which was cool, because a big white sign in the center of the dash is distracting. The curved speedometer-trail color changes to gray after the virtual needle passes the speed limit, so you can glance down and see the mix of blue and gray to see how far over you’re driving.
– Did not get to test any Autopilot features, for the 6.1 update hadn’t installed yet.

I love my beautiful P85+ even more than I did this morning! So happy I didn’t trade it in. If I had $7500 to spend, and had to pick between getting a retrofitted dual-motor, or the next-gen seats, I’d pick the seats. If the P85D’s acceleration took my breath away from 30-70 as it did from 0-30, I’d pick the dual-motors of course. Maybe I can get Recaro aftermarket seats installed in my Tesla. I’ve already emailed Recaro – I’ll let you know what they say.

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