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Tesla Model S P85D Breaks Consumer Reports' Rating System

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 8/27/2015 Jason Udy

When it first went on sale, the Tesla Model S earned 99 out of 100 points in Consumer Reports ' initial evaluation -- the highest score awarded to any car by the non-profit organization. Now, the new dual-motor Tesla Model S P85D has topped the original score earning 103 out of 100 points using the same score card.

2015 Tesla Model S P85D© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Tesla Model S P85D

With the new score, Consumer Reports is looking to reevaluate its scoring process. In their testing, the new Model S P85D reached 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, with evaluators saying "its thrust is forceful and immediate. Its near-instant g-forces can otherwise be achieved only by leaping off a building -- literally." (In Motor Trend testing, the P85D hit 60 mph in 3.1 seconds.)

Tesla Model S P85D Breaks Consumer Reports' Rating System

Despite a base price starting just north of $100,000, the Model S P85D was praised for its performance as well as its fuel efficiency and the fact that it comes from an American startup company. Consumer Reports noted that the P85D has better braking and handling than the standard Model S while still being more fuel-efficient. The Model S P85D earns an EPA-rated 87 mpge.

Although not as luxurious as similarly priced luxury sedans, the Model S P85D still scored high in practicality and luxury. Despite its high score, Consumer Reports said the P85D isn’t perfect, noting that the high-performance EV has a firmer ride and is louder than the base Model S. The relatively short range compared to gas-powered vehicles could "be a logistical hurdle" for some long-distance drives, especially if there are no supercharger locations along the route. The rating system also doesn’t include reliability, noting the Model S earns an average score in owner surveys.

The Model S P85D isn’t the first vehicle to make the magazine reevaluate its scoring process: about 10 years ago the Porsche Boxster caused the magazine to change its scale for sports cars, while about 10 years before that the Lexus LS sedan caused an upset in the luxury car ratings.

Source: Consumer Reports, Automotive News (Subscription required)

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