2018 Tesla Model S Review

Model S

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2018 Tesla Model S Overview

Tesla broke the luxury car market wide-open with its Model S in 2012, the first electric mass-market car able to comfortably seat five people and get a decent amount of range between recharges. Last year, the Model S got an extensive refresh, so there are fewer changes for 2018.

The biggest change is to the ownership experience. Tesla has officially ended free-for-all Supercharger network use on all Model S units purchased after 2017. The new program allots 400 free kilowatt-hours to each car;beyond that, there’s a per-kWh charge. Drivers who don’t live near a Supercharger and plan to use the Model S for in-town driving aren’t missing much—the free bank of charging credit amounts to about 1,000 miles. Tesla cites infrequent Supercharger use as the reason for discontinuing the free program. Owners who trade in a 2017-or-older Model S toward a new one retain free charging, as will up to five people they refer.

Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot function, which allows for near-autonomous driving on freeways, has been upgraded with better sensors, cameras, and processors. Enhanced Autopilot comes as a $5,000 option from the factory on all models. Every unit comes equipped with the hardware, so Enhanced Autopilot can be activated after purchase for $6,000. Tesla pushes software updates to the Enhanced Autopilot over the Internet, like a computer or smartphone, so drivers can skip the service center. On top of that, Tesla is allowing Model S shoppers to pre-pay for a Full Self-Driving Capability package, which allows the car to completely operate without intervention from the driver, including interactions with stop signs, traffic lights, roundabouts, and parking lots. It even has the ability to self-charge. Currently, Tesla is waiting until it has enough driving data and regulatory approval before it activates the Full Self-Driving Capability, but as of now, the package costs an additional $3,000 from the factory or $4,000 after the car is built and delivered.

Trims and powertrain packages remain largely unchanged for 2018. The base 60D has been discontinued, leaving the 75D as the entry point. The 75D employs a 75-kwH battery good for 259 miles of range, a 140-mph top speed, and a 0-to-60 time of 4.2 seconds. Next up is the 100D, with a 100-kWh that manages up to 335 miles of range, a top speed of 155 mph, and a 4.1-second run to 60. Lastly, there’s the top tier P100D. In exchange for a slightly lowered range of 315 miles, the P100D gets a interior upgrades and a special Ludicrous Speed Upgrade that shoots the Model S to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds. All models come with all-wheel drive (AWD) made possible by a single motor for each axle.

Fewer options are available because they have been made standard for 2018. An air-suspension system, which raises and lowers the car according to GPS coordinates and a power liftgate now come in every configuration. Add-ons include XM Radio, a premium audio system, heated wiper nozzles, and heated rear seats. One remarkable package is the Bioweapon Defense Mode. It utilizes HEPA filtration to rid incoming cabin air of harmful bacteria, pollen, and pollution. Another uncommon feature, the Model S comes with a seating package that adds two rear-facing child jump seats in the cargo area to effectively make the car a seven-seater.

The Model S—with a noteworthy powertrain, gorgeous styling inside and out, and futuristic technologies—continues to be a singular choice for anyone shopping in the near-$100K league. The 4-year, 50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and 8-year, unlimited-mile battery warranties should put drivers minds at ease. The Tesla Model S qualifies for the full $7,500 zero-emissions tax credit as well as additional state-specific incentives.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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