6. Tesla Model S – Getting amped up
Base price range $70,000 – $115,000 (estimated)
Already the darling of the auto industry, this technologically advanced all-electric luxury sedan from Silicon Valley startup Tesla Motors goes over the top with its latest performance upgrade called “Ludicrous.” It’s not a cheap option, at around $10,000, but it allows the sleekly cast Model S to make the run from zero to 60 mph in a mere 2.8 seconds, which is solidly in Ferrari/Lamborghini territory. Tesla is also offering an upgraded 90-kWh battery pack for $3,000 (the largest pack was previously 85 kWh), and while final numbers were not available as of this writing, the company expects the larger cells to warrant a five-to-six percent increase in range that otherwise tops out at 270 miles on a charge.
Also, a lower-cost Model S 70 RWD is added to the line that comes powered by only a single electric motor (the rest of the line features two motors) for $70,000. As before, the Model S is stunner inside and out, with sleek sports car-like exterior styling and a handsome interior that features a large tablet-like touchscreen display for its high-tech infotainment array. It affords a lively driving experience even in its base model, with peppy acceleration and adept handling, with the latter further benefitting from an optional air suspension that self-adjusts to maximize its ride and handling over changing road conditions, and to lower the vehicle at higher speeds for improved aerodynamics/operating range. While 2016 fuel economy figures were not available as of this writing, for 2015 the EPA estimated it would obtain the electric equivalent of 94/97/95 mpg city/highway/combined with the standard 60 kW-hr battery pack, 88/90/89 with the available 85 kW-hr pack. The car can be charged overnight via a standard 110-volt receptacle, but it’s a lot quicker via a dedicated 240-volt circuit. An optional high-powered charger, like any of the so-called superchargers the company is installing across the U.S., can replenish the batteries up to a half-charge in as little as 20 minutes. As befits a top-shelf model of any kind, the Tesla sedan can be fitted with a wide range of posh amenities.