Sunday, October 19, 2014

Can The Tesla Model S P85D Really Outperform the McLaren F1?

Having considered how legendary luxury brands can both be challenged and learn from Tesla and its continued drive for improvement let's take a closer look at what the dual motor P85D can do against its competition. And perhaps more importantly can it really outperform the legendary McLaren F1? Officially Tesla quotes the P85D and its combined  691 all wheel drive horsepower as  needing only 3.2 seconds to reach 60 mph and 11.8 for the quarter mile. Given the right conditions we can see someone dip under 3 seconds in the signature test, once though to be an almost unbreakable performance barrier.

This essentially puts the P85D slimly ahead of its closest competition, 3.2 seconds is coincidentally the best times recorded by the all wheel drive Audi RS7 and Mercedes CLS/E 63 AMG S models. Given that the P85D will do these numbers "mash and go" versus the launch control and brake torquing gives Tesla the advantage here. Things should stay close through the quarter mile as the RS7 and AMG S models have posted 1/4 times as quick as 11.5 seconds with most tests showing a tenth or two advantage to the Audi and Mercedes, still that's close enough to call it even with the driver's reaction time making the bigger difference. Looking at the trap speed things begin to change as the RS7 and AMG models have a trap speed of around 123. Tesla didn't provide a trap speed estimate but it should come in under 118. For reference the Tesla will be about half a second quicker to 60 than everyone's favorite 707 horsepower Dodge Challenger Hellcat and post an almost identical quarter mile time. The Hellcat does dominate with an unbelievable 126 trap speed. The gas powered cars should pull ahead past the quarter mile towards their higher eventual top speeds but you need an airfield to have that kind of fun. The AMG, M, and RS competition will trounce the Tesla around the track and not overheat after one lap, but the Model S wasn't really made for that.

In its marketing materials Tesla claims that the P85D's goal was to outperform the McLaren F1, one of the greatest supercars of all time according to Tesla. According to this test the P85D will in fact match the McLaren F1 to 60 as both do it in 3.2 seconds, the F1 though will obliterate it going forward making the comparison very short lived if technically true.

*Update: Motor Trend ran the numbers and 0-60 was in 3.1 seconds and 1/4 in 11.6. Kudos to Tesla for being spot on in its estimates. As predicted trap speed was below 118 @ 115.2 (115 was my internal thought all along!) which does mean that the quickest gas competition will pull ahead above 100. Still the dual motor upgrade would certainly qualify the P85D for a spot in our seriously dramatic in generation powertrain updates list.

1 comment:

  1. Nice write up! I like how you were spot on with your predictions.

    The P85D does have the lowest trap speed, but the starting acceleration makes up for it resulting in identical 1/4 times with the rest.

    I do like that all the Tesla needs is a good stomp and driver ability than launch control.
    It should be pretty close will the Hellcat with its hit or miss launch, which would probably end up in the P85Ds win, at least 2/3 times. And at higher altitudes the P85D should have a significant advantage, not having to worry about low air density.