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Top Features of Base Model
- Still fast, sleek, stylish, practical
- Lineup cut to two versions
- Both versions rated over 300 miles of battery range
- Only Teslas offer 30-minute highway recharging today
- Tesla will take back the car within seven days or 1,000 miles for a full refund
Tesla Model S: Everything You Need to Know
About the Tesla Model S:
The Tesla Model S is a sleek, all-electric five-seat luxury hatchback that was the first long-range electric car on the market. It’s been sold for eight years and was the car that put Tesla on the map. It’s expensive, and always has been.
But even in 2019, no other car delivers its combination of style, battery range, performance, and fast charging. German luxury makers are scrambling to catch up now, and will. But as an all-round practical way to travel exclusively on electric power—and fast—the Model S will go down in history.
What’s New in the Current 2019 Tesla Model S?
Model years don’t really apply to Tesla. The company updates its cars as soon as new features are ready, and model years only indicate the build date. A Tesla built in December can differ a lot from one built the previous January.
In January 2019, Tesla discontinued the Model S 75D version with 259 miles of range. That reduced the lineup to two versions:
- Model S Long Range (née 100D): This car’s 100-kilowatt-hour battery has more rated range, at 335 miles, than any other Tesla. Its front and rear drive motors are each rated at 193 kilowatts (259 horsepower). That means 0-to-60-mph acceleration in as little as 4.1 seconds.
- Model S Performance (née P100D): 315 miles. Its more powerful rear drive motor is rated at 375 kilowatts (503 horsepower), while the front motor stays the same. With a fully charged battery in “Ludicrous+” mode, Tesla says it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 2.4 seconds—at 1.1G, or faster than falling. That puts supercars to shame. Top speed is quoted at 155 mph, though sustaining that speed indefinitely will drop range to double digits.
Both cars carry an onboard charger for Tesla Supercharger stations. It takes roughly 30 minutes to add 170 miles of range.
What Does the 2019 Tesla Model S Compete With?
The Tesla Model S was unique when it launched in 2012, and only now are other long-range luxury electric cars coming on the market. So some of its competitors haven’t quite hit showrooms yet:
Exterior Design of the 2019 Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S was a stunning design when it debuted, and it remains as stylish as it was in 2012. The lines have aged well. It’s classic, far from trendy. The shape is a fastback sedan, but the Model S actually has a huge hatch to allow larger items to be carried in the load bay.
The Tesla extends its chrome door handles when the driver approaches with the key. They retract on the road to cut wind drag. The car is low, but surprisingly wide and long. It’s also one of the most aerodynamic designs on the road, with a drag coefficient of just 0.23. All Model S versions come with a standard glass roof and LED lights.
Interior Style in the 2019 Tesla Model S
The interior of the Model S is dominated by the huge vertical 17-inch touchscreen display in the center of the dash. Radical in 2012, it’s still among the largest today. Crisp, high-resolution graphics and instant response make it pleasant and intuitive to use.
The rest of the interior borders on stark for a car costing six figures. You won’t find 30-function seats or small refrigerators in a Tesla as you do in high-end German luxury cars. Plastics are soft-touch but plain, and later Teslas have designs and materials that feel more premium.
Four people can ride comfortably in a Model S. The low roof and the battery under the floor mean front occupants’ legs stretch out ahead of them, while rear-seat riders sit knees-up. Rear passengers sit slightly inboard, because the window line tilts in at the top. A fifth person in the rear is possible, but no one will be happy. Given the low roof, cargo space in the rear (plus a small front trunk) is ample at 30 cubic feet.
What Technology Comes in the 2019 Tesla Model S?
The technology in a Tesla Model S is the electric drivetrain, the evolving suite of “Autopilot” active-safety functions, and the fast-charging capability. Every Model S offers web access via a permanent cellular connection.
The size of the touchscreen means high-res maps can be shown in one window while a web page occupies the rest of the screen. Tesla’s built-in navigation routes drivers on long trips via Supercharger sites, telling them how long to charge to reach their destination without wasting time. No other electric car does that.
Tesla also updates the car’s operating software over the air. The Model S has now had half a dozen major upgrades since its launch, each adding new features it didn’t previously have.
What Kind of Safety Features are in the 2019 Tesla Model S?
To get active-safety features on a Model S, you must add the optional “Autopilot” package. Despite its name, it does not provide autonomous driving. Drivers must always keep their hands on the wheel as the car steers, accelerates, and brakes automatically in its lane. The package bundles adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic emergency braking for vehicles and pedestrians.
A further “Full Self-Driving Capability” option offers self-parking in parallel and perpendicular spaces. Tesla promises to add additional features to it in the current year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t rated the Model S since 2016, when it received the top five-star rating in every test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2017 Model S its top rating of “Good” in all but its small-overlap front crash test, where it was rated “Acceptable.” Its headlights were “Poor.”
What is the 2019 Tesla Model S Like to Drive?
The Tesla Model S provides smooth, continuous acceleration. It’s a solid car weighing almost 5,000 pounds. But the battery weight sits low in the chassis, so it corners predictably. It’s a big, wide car, and far from lithe. But it holds the road well and can keep up even with sports cars when driven aggressively.
The regenerative braking is aggressive, so the Model S slows notably when you lift off the pedal. It’s possible to drive mostly by modulating just the accelerator. Only hard stops require use of the brake pedal. Drivers who want a more conventional feel, including long-distance coasting and idle creep, can choose that setting in the touchscreen controls.
Should I Buy a Current 2019 Tesla Model S?
The Model S is the oldest Tesla still sold. It’s a known quantity with more than 200,000 on the road. New models offer higher range and more active-safety features. It’s not a cheap car, but for up to four people who want to travel on electric power under all circumstances, it remains the best choice. Its sole competition is its smaller, less expensive sibling, the Tesla Model 3.
Should I buy a Used 2019 Tesla Model S? Are There Any I Should Avoid?
So far, used Tesla Model S cars from all years have held their value as well or better than other luxury cars—which tend to depreciate fast. That’s likely due to data showing Tesla battery packs degrade only slowly, even at more than 100,000 miles.
While all Model S cars look pretty much the same, the challenge is that they vary considerably over eight model years. Tesla fitted several battery sizes, from 60 to 100 kilowatt-hours, with various range ratings. The “D” suffix indicates all-wheel drive, a desirable feature for winter climates. The “P” prefix denotes a performance version, with faster acceleration from more powerful electric motors. (But those cars may have been driven harder, which stresses their batteries more.)
Another issue is Supercharging: several earlier years of Model S come with free Supercharging for life. That’s a very desirable feature for buyers planning more highway travel. The best advice for used Model S buyers: Do your homework!
How Much Does the New 2019 Tesla Model S Cost?
Tesla frequently adjusts versions, prices, and features throughout the year, so the only reliable guide is the company’s own website.
The 2019 Tesla Model S Long Range starts at $85,000, and can go as high as $101,500 with every option. The Autopilot package of active-safety features is $3,000, while “Full Self-Driving Capability” to be added at some future date is another $5,000.
The Model S Performance starts at $99,000. It has an additional option, the “Ludicrous+” mode for even faster acceleration (0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds). That costs a stiff $20,000, meaning a top Performance version can reach $134,000.
With the 75D version gone, the Tesla Model S is a very pricey car. Its interior and features don’t compete with other $90,000-plus vehicles. The better value in Tesla sedans now is its smaller but less expensive Model 3 sibling. Federal income-tax credit for all Tesla cars has been cut to $3,750 through June 30, 2019. From July 1 through December 31, 2019, it will be $1,875. Then it ends altogether.
Pros and Cons of the 2019 Tesla Model S
- Sleek style, excellent performance, good handling
- Smooth, calm, vibration-free electric drive
- Tesla fast-charging network on highways still unequaled
- Most versions now over $90,000
- Interior, features far more basic than other luxury cars at the same price
- Buyers need to consider charging availability where they park
- Tesla’s financial survival as an independent maker not assured
The History of the Tesla Model S: Eight Years of Model S
The Tesla Model S will go down in history as the electric car that shocked the auto industry. Few carmakers took Tesla seriously until they got their hands on a Model S, and it reset their thinking in a way only a handful of cars in history have. The large, sleek, long-range electric car struggled into production in mid-2012, but the company didn’t start producing it in meaningful volume until 2013.
Since then, it has had a dizzying array of variants. The company updated the capacity and power of its battery packs, and sent over-the-air updates to add features to the car’s operating system. Various interior details have changed, and more active-safety features have been added. Tesla has now cut the range to only its highest-spec versions.
The Model S had one styling upgrade in April 2016. That replaced an oval blanking plate that simulated a front grille with a blunt, body-color nose panel below a small horizontal slit. The change brought the earlier car into line with the new Model X design. Otherwise, all eight years of Model S look essentially identical—though they’re far from similar in detail.
Specs & Key Features of the 2019 Tesla Model S
- Body Style
- 3-Phase/4-Pole Electric
- 1-Speed Automatic
- Passenger Doors
- Passenger Seating
- All Wheel Drive
- City MPG
- Hwy MPG
- Air Conditioning
- Back Up Camera
- Blind Spot Sensor
- Cruise Control
- Heated Seats
- LCD Monitor
- LED Lights
- Lane Departure Warning
- Leather Steering Wheel
- Remote Keyless Entry
- Sat Nav
- Satellite Navigation
- Tinted Glass
- Engine: 3-Phase/4-Pole Electric
- Transmission: 1-Speed Automatic
- Automatic Full-Time All-Wheel Drive
- 9.73 Axle Ratio
- 33-Amp/Hr Maintenance-Free Battery
- 3 Skid Plates
- Gas-Pressurized Shock Absorbers
- 4-Corner Auto-Leveling Suspension
- Front And Rear Anti-Roll Bars
- Automatic w/Driver Control Height Adjustable Automatic w/Driver Control Ride Control Adaptive Suspension
- Electric Power-Assist Speed-Sensing Steering
- Double Wishbone Front Suspension w/Air Springs
- Multi-Link Rear Suspension w/Air Springs
- Regenerative 4-Wheel Disc Brakes w/4-Wheel ABS, Front And Rear Vented Discs, Brake Assist, Hill Hold Control and Electric Parking Brake
- Lithium Ion Traction Battery w/12 kW Onboard Charger
- Wheels: 8.0J x 19" Silver
- Tires: P245/45R19 AS
- Clearcoat Paint
- Fixed Glass 1st And 2nd Row Sunroof
- Body-Colored Front Bumper
- Body-Colored Rear Bumper w/Chrome Rub Strip/Fascia Accent
- Chrome Bodyside Insert
- Chrome Side Windows Trim
- Chrome Door Handles
- Body-Colored Power w/Tilt Down Heated Auto Dimming Side Mirrors w/Power Folding
- Fixed Rear Window w/Defroster
- Light Tinted Glass
- Speed Sensitive Rain Detecting Variable Intermittent Wipers w/Heated Jets And Wiper Park
- Aluminum Panels
- Lip Spoiler
- Black Grille w/Chrome Surround
- Power Liftgate Rear Cargo Access
- Tailgate/Rear Door Lock Included w/Power Door Locks
- Fully Automatic Projector Beam Led Low/High Beam Daytime Running Auto-Leveling Directionally Adaptive Auto High-Beam Headlamps w/Delay-Off
- Front Fog Lamps
- Perimeter/Approach Lights
- LED Brakelights
- Radio: FM w/Custom Audio System -inc: 17" touchscreen display, 11 speakers, XM satellite radio capability, Bluetooth connectivity, on-demand and internet radio capability, 2 USB ports for media and power, onboard maps and navigation, WiFi and cellular internet capability and Bluetooth hands-free calling and media streaming
- Radio w/Seek-Scan, Clock, Aux Audio Input Jack, Steering Wheel Controls, Radio Data System and Internal Memory
- 200w Regular Amplifier
- Window Grid Antenna
- 1 LCD Monitor In The Front
- Real-Time Traffic Display
- Heated Front Bucket Seats -inc: 12-way power adjustable front seats w/memory and driver profile
- Front Seats w/Cloth Back Material and Power 4-Way Driver Lumbar
- 8-Way Driver Seat -inc: Power 4-Way Lumbar Support
- 8-Way Passenger Seat -inc: Power 4-Way Lumbar Support
- 60-40 Folding Bench Front Facing Heated Fold Forward Seatback Rear Seat
- Power Tilt/Telescoping Steering Column
- Gauges -inc: Speedometer, Odometer, Traction Battery Level, Power/Regen, Trip Odometer and Trip Computer
- Power Rear Windows
- Heated Leather Steering Wheel w/Auto Tilt-Away
- Front Cupholder
- Rear Cupholder
- Proximity Key For Doors And Push Button Start
- Valet Function
- Remote Keyless Entry w/Integrated Key Transmitter, 4 Door Curb/Courtesy and Illuminated Entry
- Remote Releases -Inc: Power Cargo Access and Power Charge Port Door
- Cruise Control w/Steering Wheel Controls
- Distance Pacing w/Traffic Stop-Go
- Dual Zone Front Automatic Air Conditioning w/Steering Wheel Controls
- HVAC -inc: Console Ducts
- Illuminated Glove Box
- Driver Foot Rest
- Interior Trim -inc: Deluxe Sound Insulation, Genuine Wood/Metal-Look Instrument Panel Insert, Metal-Look Door Panel Insert, Genuine Wood Console Insert and Metal-Look Interior Accents
- Full Cloth Headliner
- Synthetic Leather Seat Trim
- Day-Night Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror
- Driver And Passenger Visor Vanity Mirrors w/Driver And Passenger Illumination
- Full Floor Console w/Covered Storage and 1 12V DC Power Outlet
- Front And Rear Map Lights
- Fade-To-Off Interior Lighting
- Full Carpet Floor Covering -inc: Carpet Front Floor Mats
- Carpet Floor Trim, Carpet Trunk Lid/Rear Cargo Door Trim and Carpet Mat
- Cargo Area Concealed Storage
- Cargo Net
- Memory Settings -inc: Door Mirrors and Steering Wheel
- FOB Controls -inc: Trunk/Hatch/Tailgate, Windows and Remote Engine Start
- Tracker System
- Smart Device Integration
- Instrument Panel Bin
- Power 1st Row Windows w/Front And Rear 1-Touch Up/Down
- Delayed Accessory Power
- Power Door Locks w/Autolock Feature
- Systems Monitor
- Trip Computer
- Outside Temp Gauge
- Digital/Analog Display
- Fixed Front Head Restraints and Fixed Rear Head Restraints
- Front Center Armrest
- Engine Immobilizer
- 1 12V DC Power Outlet
- Air Filtration
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
- ABS And Driveline Traction Control
- Side Impact Beams
- Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
- Front And Rear Parking Sensors
- Blind Spot Sensor
- Forward Collision Mitigation and Rear Collision Warning
- Lane Keeping Assist
- Lane Departure Warning
- Tire Specific Low Tire Pressure Warning
- Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
- Curtain 1st And 2nd Row Airbags
- Airbag Occupancy Sensor
- Driver And Passenger Knee Airbag
- Restricted Driving Mode
- Power Rear Child Safety Locks
- Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Rear Center 3 Point and Pretensioners
- Back-Up Camera
- Front Camera
- Left Side Camera
- Right Side Camera