With any tech device, once the early adopters have adopted, lower prices and more choices usually follow. Well around here, the Tesla Model S still ranks as the ultimate mobile high tech device. And, while prices have hardly moderated, there are now more options in choosing one. And none more appealing than the high achiever P90D.
We grabbed the keys for our P90D at Bethesda, Maryland’s Tesla-Montgomery Mall showroom. Now, Tesla is certainly not your typical carmaker. And our 2016 Model S P90D is definitely not your typical EV, as you might expect with any vehicle that boasts optional “Ludicrous Speed”.
More on that later, as that’s just the tip of what’s going on with this Model S. It also has Autopilot for semi-autonomous driving, over 250-miles of EV range, and over 750-horsepower worth of output when all of its motors are firing away at full blast.
As per Tesla nomenclature, the P stands for performance, 90 for the 90-kWh battery capacity, and D for Dual Motor all-wheel-drive by way of one big electric motor in the rear axle, and a smaller one for the front wheels.
Theoretically, range is up slightly over the P85 that it’s based on; but trust us, you probably won’t see anything extra as you’ll be hammering down on this thing any chance you get.
The real magic comes not from the bigger battery itself; but from the upgraded Inconel alloy battery contacts that come as part of the Ludicrous Speed upgrade. They not only allow more power to flow, but for that power to flow more quickly; thus making the car much, much faster.
By now, we’re all familiar with the Model S; no start button to speak of, just hop in, put it in drive, and off you go. Power delivery is electric car immediate, yet smooth; and here there’s plenty of it.
So, with visions of sub 3.0-second 0-60’s and 10.0-second ¼-miles in our heads, it was off to the track.
With Ludicrous Speed engaged, this car nearly gives you whiplash as it launches off the line. But we also had a serious struggle with our track and the cars traction control system.
So while our dreams did not come true, we achieved a still quick 4.0-seconds to 60, and 12.4 in the ¼ at 114 miles-per-hour. Short of the 2.6-second 0-60 that it’s supposedly capable of, but maybe it’s a good thing it’s not that easy to do.
Being a true sport sedan however, it’s not all about straight-line speed. It shot through our cones like a TRON light cycle as well, with almost no body roll and steering that was both brisk and direct.
We even had plenty of range left for some braking runs, averaging an excellent 111-feet in stops from 60.
There’s still ample amounts of uniqueness to the Model S’s interior, the chief component of which is of course the large 17-inch touchscreen for controlling everything.
There’s also Mercedes and BMW levels of quality to be found, as well as plenty of space due to the flat cabin floor.
We’d need more time with the car to have an official opinion on the autonomous driving feature, but it sure was fun to play around with.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings put the P90D at 89-City, 98-Highway, and 93-Combined MPGe, with total range of 253 miles. So naturally the Energy Impact Score is almost perfect, with use of just 0.2-barrels of oil every year and zero CO2 emissions.
After adding the 90-kWh battery and the Ludicrous Speed upgrades, you’re looking at $119,200 for the P90D.
So while EVs and even the Tesla brand continue their march to the mainstream, vehicles like this 2016 Model S P90D are pushing in an entirely different direction; taking on high performance sport sedans, and boasting exotic car levels of acceleration. Further proof that the best in automotive performance is yet to come!
0-60 mph: 4.0 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.4 seconds @ 114 mph
EPA: 89 mpge city/ 98 mpge highway
Energy Impact: 0.2 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: zero