New Tesla Model S Long Range 2019 review
The all-electric Tesla Model S has been updated for 2019, gaining boosted efficiency and dynamics
Tesla’s constant push to improve its products is working. The latest Model S is fundamentally similar to the car that was launched more than five years ago, yet in many ways it is substantially better. With greater range and efficiency, improved comfort and sharper dynamics than before, it remains an accomplished electric car. The Model S’s stiffest competition comes from within; the smaller Model 3 offers 95 per cent of what the S does, but for a fraction of the price.
As production of Tesla’s Model 3 has ramped up, the maker has not neglected its big-selling Model S – the car that put the brand on the map back in 2012. The most recent round of updates was announced in April, and feature a more efficient motor, faster charging capability and new adaptive suspension.
Unlike many of Tesla’s periodic enhancements, most of the new car’s changes relate to hardware, rather than software. So while the new suspension will accept over-the-air updates in the future (we experienced one during our time with the car, in fact), it’s available only on new cars for the time being.
Tesla claims the revised set-up makes the Model S more comfortable on the motorway, yet more agile on winding roads. As with many rival systems, the configuration is predictive, meaning it can anticipate surface conditions and adjust itself accordingly.
This Model S is the most comfortable example we’ve tried. The ride is relatively smooth given its 19-inch wheels, and the adaptive suspension seems to have reduced tyre roar, with a more compliant ride over bumps. It smothers them better, rather than being knocked off line.
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The car is a little more agile, too, but this is less obvious. The steering is a good speed and weight (nicer than the Model 3’s, in fact), but still very little sensation is relayed back, limiting the car-to-driver connection. However, with 469bhp, it’s ridiculously fast, delivering instant oomph for a 3.7-second 0-60mph time.
The revised Model S Long Range also boasts a longer range and faster charge times, with the additional mileage due to a more efficient drive unit and 10 per cent more usable electric range.
Plugged into the company’s latest Superchargers, an 80 per cent battery top-up is 50 per cent quicker than before – taking fewer than 45 minutes to add 260 miles. The car’s WLTP-rated range, meanwhile, has now grown to an impressive 375 miles.
Inside, it keeps the same 17-inch portrait touchscreen, with the iPad-like functionality you’d expect. It’s arguably less distracting than the Model 3’s design, with the digital dials showing speed, efficiency and trip info.
Autopilot remains one of the finest semi-autonomous drive systems around, offering features you'd otherwise be charged for on an equivalent BMW 5 Series. For £5,800 you can add what Tesla calls 'Full Self Driving', which includes Autopark and Summon, as well as and Navigate on Autopilot.