Tesla Roadster Sport

Upgrade gives green pioneer even more muscle

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Nearly two years after its launch, the Tesla is still a stunning engineering feat. Combining the agility of a Lotus and pace of a Ferrari with zero environmental impact is some achievement – and the Sport has raised the bar further. A lower price would be more tempting still, which is why we can’t wait for the cheaper four-door Model S, due in 2012.

The battery-driven Tesla Roadster has been given a boost – and Auto Express got the chance to put the new car through its paces. But is the performance as electric as the figures suggest?

The bhp and torque increase has been achieved via upgrades to the electric motor, which is mounted sideways at the rear axle. Also tweaked are the lithium-ion battery stack, the single-speed transmission and the Power Electronics Module – effectively the Tesla’s brain.

The result is a 40bhp power hike, taking output to a storming 288bhp. Importantly, 400Nm of torque is available from zero rpm, too. There’s no exhaust noise; only the whine as the electric motor’s rotor spins all the way to 14,000rpm.

You’re squashed into your seat by the surge of acceleration, which doesn’t relent until the limited top speed of 125mph.

A 0-62mph time of 3.7 seconds – the same as in a Ferrari 599 – gives some idea of the pace.

As with any electric car, the Tesla’s practicality is limited by its battery life. A claimed 200-mile range can be achieved only with a light right foot. Exploit the newcomer’s full potential and this will drop dramatically.

Sport trim adds 10-setting adjustable dampers, lightweight forged aluminium wheels and ultra-high-performance tyres. The resulting ride is far more civilised than that of the Lotus Elise on which the Tesla is based, while additional soundproofing boosts high-speed refinement, too. Best of all, the Lotus chassis still sparkles through corners.

The eye-watering price will put off many buyers, but there’s nothing quite like the Tesla on sale today – and the new Sport version is the best of the breed.

Most Popular

Kia Sportage 1.6T GDi GT-Line S: Deal of the Week
Kia Sportage deal of the week - front
Sponsored

Kia Sportage 1.6T GDi GT-Line S: Deal of the Week

The ever-popular Kia Sportage is this week’s deal of the week, brought to you by our sister site BuyaCar with a free 12-month warranty worth £299
26 Feb 2021
Jaguar platform sharing talks and upmarket move revealed
Jaguar F-Type V6S badge
Jaguar

Jaguar platform sharing talks and upmarket move revealed

Jaguar is set to move upmarket, while sharing tech with another car maker
27 Feb 2021
Volvo XC40 Recharge gets extra range in first over-the-air update
Volvo XC40
News

Volvo XC40 Recharge gets extra range in first over-the-air update

The software update brings minor improvements to the electric SUV’s driving range and charging time
26 Feb 2021