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      11-27-2011, 09:11 PM   #1
pinmagic
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Drives: 135i Convertible
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Arlington, VA

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Checked Out the Tesla S This Weekend

Tesla is showing off a "90%" final proto of its new S model. The tour started at the DC showroom this weekend. There was a line of about 50 people - took nearly an hour to get our chance at sitting in the car. First impressions:

- It's fast! 0-60 in 5.6 seconds. Or so they say - we never left the showroom.

- It's big! Big as a 5 or 6 series. Seats 7 (with the 2 optional rear-facing kiddy seats). It's a hatchback, so it has a huge amount of storage.

- Nice looking car, tho not gorgeous. Has a lot of the Porsche Panamera look to it.

- Pretty impressive quality, for a first effort. (The Roadster was based on a Lotus - as far as I can tell, the S is a Tesla design.) In fact, pretty impressive, period.

- Has a FRIGGING HUGE LED SCREEN in the middle of the dash - 17", portrait orientation. This in addition to the full-LED dashboard. The center screen was almost too much - kind of overwhelmed the dash. But it was cool, and nicely designed with a modern, clean interface. Not like the crummy iDrive interface BMW foists on us.

- With the optional extended battery pack, you can go 300 miles. But the battery pack adds something like $30K to the price. OUCH! So a car that starts at $50K (after tax credit) can quickly rise to $80-$100K.

It's a unique car, and definitely a competitor. In some ways, it's in a class by itself.

The first year's production of the standard S model is sold out. (I think they said they'll be making about 20,000 a year.) But you can still cut in front of the line by purchasing a "Signature Edition" - the first 1,000 will be designated as such. They'll get a nicer interior, the extended battery pack and all other options, and a special exterior color option (if you want it). But most importantly, they're the first ones being produced. Just $100K - with a $40K (refundable) deposit down.

There are only 10 Tesla dealers in the country now, but if the car comes to your area, it's definitely worth checking out. Who knows when you'll actually get to see another.
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