Tesla Model S P85+ Review, Part 1, (At a standstill, in Park)

Last week I wrote how the most exciting part about driving a BMW M6 was putting it in reverse. This week I’d like to review a Tesla Model S in Park.

Most car blog review start with this phrase:

(Full disclosure: Kia wanted me to drive the K900 so bad they flew me out to Santa Barbara..)

Which means the reviewer is as unbiased toward the vehicle as a golden retriever is towards a bacon-drenched tennis ball.

They choose their words carefully, or else, they’ll never get another Kia review model unit again.

So, am I as biased as the above-reference reviewer? Of course. Possible worse. this Tesla Model S review unit is mine. I paid for it. Dearly, in fact. I could have purchased two 2014 BMW M3s instead. Or one M6. I’ve driven both, and stand by my decision.

First category: Sex Appeal. This car creates a scene wherever it goes. If Madonna was standing out of the sunroof topless I doubt it’d get any more attention. I’ve had people one lane over shout at me to roll my window down so they could fire questions at me. I can count on two hands the number of people who have asked for rides, and I haven’t even owned it one week. I’ve owned 3 BMW convertibles, one of which was an M3, and the number of people who have requested rides my first week of ownership has been, well, zero.

First category: tech goodies. The Tesla Model S comes with an unlimited, always on 3G Internet connection. So that means I can display any website on my center console while I’m driving. (History of the World, part 1, on YouTube?! ) There’s a hands-free feature that lets me say something like, “Play Jimmy Eat World, The Middle” and it will find that song, and start playing it. There’s a Slacker Radio account, which has music, sports, and comedy channels, and in my opinion, it’s as good as Satellite Radio.

The center console has an LCD screen that’s the size of three iPads stacked side-by-side. It’s kind of spooky seeing a Google map showing the same square footage of the fold-out maps mom and dad used to wrestle with.

iPhone synchronization? It downloads all contacts, plus received and missed calls via Bluetooth. It will also stream audio output via Bluetooth. Cars have been doing this for 5 years now. However, available with the 6.0 Software update is the ability to download your Calendar appointment for the day. How cool is that? Every morning when I start the car, my appointments for the day flash on the screen. It can be configured to show once in the morning, every time the car starts, or only in the evening.

If you love technology, the Tesla Model S has no equal. They’ve built an iPhone app that lets you:

– lock or unlock all doors (then again, I can set it to lock the doors automatically when I walk away)

– honk the horn

– flash the headlights

– turn on the climate control

– see how much range is left on the battery.

You don’t even need your key to drive your Model S – just your iPhone. It’s like have Apple Pay, for your car.

Next week – I’ll put it in Drive.

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