I’m really eager to test the Model S 70, 70D, 85, 85D, P85D, 90, 90D, and P90D back to back in one day… but that is clearly a fantasy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if not a single individual has ever done that. With so many variations, I’m sure my senses would turn to mush anyway… and the ludicrous torque wouldn’t help. At the least, it was nice to compare the 70D to the P85D, even with several months in between the test drives.
Most of the things that are wonderful about the P85D/P90D are also present in the 70D. You’ve got world-shattering safety, incomparable electric range, an industry-leading touchscreen for navigation and controls, excellent autopilot capabilities (side collision avoidance, lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, and automatic parking), a ton of space, beautiful design inside and outside, super-fast charging (both “Level 4” Supercharging and much quicker Level 2 charging), and, of course… power.
No doubt about it, you can tell the difference between the 70D and the P85D. If you couldn’t, I imagine a lot more people would be buying the 70D. But the 70D is still out of this world in that category. As I stated before, the Cadillac ELR may actually have the 70D beat off the line (even though it’s 0–60 mph time is considerably lower) — it is a smaller vehicle, after all. Maybe my judgement was way off, but it felt like it might be quicker. I’d really need to test drive them back to back to provide more insight on that (two days, the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, the Chevy Volt, and a gasmobile in between leaves a lot of room for poor comparison). Nonetheless, nothing else I’ve driven (and I think nothing else on the market) offers such smooth, powerful, and stable acceleration as the Model S and the ELR.
All of that said, I think it’s worth bringing up the i3 again. Similar to the ELR, due to the i3’s smaller size and much lighter weight, combined with a healthy serving of fully electric instant torque, the i3 provides a very fun and exhilarating feeling when stepping on the pedal. Again, I would need to test these out back to back, but I venture to say that the i3 actually felt more fun in some ways. But it certainly didn’t compare with the smoothness, stability, and overall power of the 70D… not to mention the space, range, supercharging capability, interior tech and comfort, and safety. The i3 did have stronger (preferable) regenerative braking, but the Model S had stronger regen braking than all the other high-end, high-performance cars I tested.
- overall acceleration
- fuel costs
- energy independence
- electric range
- environmental cleanliness and stability (air + climate)
- infotainment & navigation
- regenerative braking
The places where it loses points to most others in this comparison:
- absolute range and convenience of charging on long-distance trips
- Official 0–60 mph acceleration = 5.5 seconds
- Base MSRP = $75,000
- Electric miles = 230