The ‘D’ teased by Tesla Motors boss Elon Musk is finally official. It’s the D variant of the Model S sedan, with twin electric motors and all-wheel drive. It’s an especially high-tech car, but one particular number in the specifications caught my eye — hitting 100km/h in 3.2 seconds, the Model S P85D can out-pace a Ferrari F430 or a V10 Dodge Viper.
Image via Adelman / Tesla Motors Club
Announced mere minutes ago at the Hawthorne Airport in Los Angeles, California, the P85D is the top of three new Tesla variants — it’ll be more expensive than the lesser, but still dual motor, 60kWh 60D and 85kWh 85D. While the standard performance variant of the Model S is good for a 4.2-second 0-100km/h sprint, outperforming Australia’s comparatively sluggish benchmark Commodore SS and Falcon GTs, the P85D’s 3.2-second figure makes it one of the fastest ever sedans — and faster in a standing race than the Dodge Viper SRT-10, Ferrari F430 Scuderia, Audi TT-RS and a whole bunch of other super-performance sports cars. That’s quick, and it’s a testament to the fact that electric cars don’t all have to be boring.
Also introduced by Musk was a suite of 12 new sensors that will be making their way onto new Model S cars built at the manufacturer’s California factory, enabling autonomous driving features. The Model S’s new front-facing cameras can read speed limit signs on (likely just American, for now) highways and adjust the vehicle’s speed to suit, and assisted steering can change lanes when the indicator lever is flicked by the driver. Being an all-electric car, with a big ol’ central touchscreen computer in the dashboard, means the Model S has the potential to do a lot of cool and new and exciting things. We can’t wait. [Tesla Motors]