Ever wondered what the automotive equivalent of an Apple iPhone would be, then look no further than the Tesla Model S.
Manufactured in California and funded by the PayPal billionaire Elon Musk, this all-electric 5-door coupe is not so much a glance into the future, this is a taste of the future.
First launched in the States three years ago and now conforming to European specifications, including right hand drive, there’s a familiarity to its exterior styling, as if it’s an acknowledgement that history still has something to offer to these Silicone Valley upstarts.
The cabin, however, is as the designer envisioned it; unfettered and revolutionary.
Dials and counters have been replaced with a neat digital instrument binnacle, while a 17” touchscreen becomes the nerve centre for air-conditioning, audio and functions such as regeneration braking, air suspension height, even the charge-port hatch, sunroof and demisters. There’s no starter button, either. The car knows the key is onboard and activates itself.
Rear wheel driven by a 416bhp AC motor, power comes in the form of 85kWh battery, which is good for 250-odd miles between charges. At a 32-amp UK public charging point, the Tesla needs 15 hours for a full charge, half that for a high-output Tesla home charger. A network of 80kW superchargers are planned, which will pump half a charge in 20 minutes, a full charge in 70 minutes.
Instant torque catapults it from 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds, maxing out at 130mph, all with zero emissions. And apart from any road noise, it does so in complete silence, with every handling confidence of a thoroughbred sports GT.
This brilliant technology isn’t particularly cheap; prices range from £59,500 to £84,100, but then again, neither is an Apple iPhone.
Model tested: Tesla Model S 85
Power: 416bhp 85kWh A/C Motor
Torque: 443lb ft
Top Speed: 130mph
0-60mph: 4.2 seconds
Price: from £59,500