Tesla Model S P85D test results

Performance tests—acceleration, braking, and handling—are complete, and we have numbers

Published: August 20, 2015 06:00 AM

On August 27, we will release the full results of our multiweek Tesla Model S P85D test, but we wanted to share some Tesla Model S P85D test results. (Watch the video above to go behind the scenes of the testing.)

You may have seen Model S P85D tests before, but we do things a little different at Consumer Reports. We bought a Tesla Model S P85D—our test car is not on loan from Tesla. And all the testing is done in a precisely controlled environment—our 327-acre auto test facility in Connecticut. Like every car we purchase, the Model S P85D was put through an extensive gauntlet of more than 50 tests and evaluations, after a significant break-in period.

Below are a few highlights of the Tesla Model S P85D test results:

Accident avoidance maneuver

Our accident avoidance maneuver is similar to the European "elk" or "moose" tests. (Not to worry, no wildlife is involved.) This is a part of our emergency handling tests that simulates swerving out of your lane to avoid hitting an obstacle in the road, and then swerving back into your lane to avoid oncoming traffic. We use two drivers and average their fastest time through the course without hitting a cone. We're not relying on the speedometer or a stopwatch; we use a laser to measure the car's speed. And a judge watches the test to make sure the cones escape untouched. Our car made it through at 55.5 miles per hour. That's really good, putting the P85D in performance car territory, despite being a big luxury car.


We did multiple acceleration runs on a full charge and averaged times in both directions at our track. To measure speed, we use a GPS data acquisition system with position accuracy to as tight as two centimeters. Our P85D took 1.4 seconds to reach 30 mph and a scant 3.5 seconds to get to 60 mph in "Insane" mode—a bit short of the advertised 3.1 seconds. Tesla promises the new “Ludicrous” mode will lower that to 2.8 seconds, but based on our testing, we're not convinced. The quarter-mile mark blew by in 12.1 seconds at 111.9 mph. Interestingly, we didn't see a drop off in acceleration times after multiple runs.


No track testing is done before the vehicle hits 2,000 miles, and we perform a brake seating procedure the day before we take measurements. The test procedure is done on special areas of our test track that are monitored for consistent friction and involves over a dozen stops, with cool-down laps in between to ensure accurate results. We begin measurement as soon as the driver hits the pedal, and the distances are adjusted for temperature. The P85D stopping distances were very short, like a high-performance sports car at 118 feet in the dry and 129 feet in the wet with the optional 21-inch wheel and tire package. 

We’ll post our complete road test, including all Tesla Model S P85D test results, on August 27 at The page will be available to all visitors.

Jake Fisher


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