As if Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S didn't already have enough accolades, Consumer Reports is now awarding the P85D variant with a perfect score of 100. This beats the previous record score in CR's autos category of 99, which was given to the P85 Model S. Following the news, Tesla stock jumped as much as 9% Thursday morning.
What's behind a perfect score?
"It actually broke our rating system," CR said in the road test video for the P85D. "It initially scored 103 in a system that, by definition, doesn't go past 100. This is a car that set new benchmarks, and we had to make changes to our scoring to account for it. "
This is the first road test score CR has done with a dual-motor version of the Model S -- hence the D in P85D (The P, of course, is for performance). Tesla's dual-motor vehicles sport both a front and rear motor, each attached to the axles. Introduced in October of last year, dual motor gives the Model S all-wheel drive.
Here are some excerpts referencing the P85Ds most notable features from CR's report:
- Catapult acceleration
- Giant touchscreen is responsive and easy to read, and it does a good job of integrating advanced technology and connectivity
- Comprehensive standard advanced safety equipment, plus upcoming self-driving capability
- Free charging is available at Tesla Supercharger stations
- Blends impressively agile handling and braking with a comfortable ride
But a perfect score doesn't mean everything was perfect about the car. CR cited less range in cold weather, price, and a shortage of "comfort gadget -- like ventilated or massaging seats -- that you'd expect in a car at this price."
I'd certainly side with CR's glowing sentiment about the vehicle. After spending three days with the P85D earlier this year, it's clear Tesla entered completely new territory when it launched the vehicle.
Learn more about my experience with the P85D in the video below:
Acknowledging the $127,820 price attached to this fully loaded P85D is far more than most people would ever consider spending on a car, CR noted that "most buyers would be plenty happy with a standard Model S." But Tesla's entry-level Model S, while priced much lower, still starts at an expensive $70,000.
Raising the bar
CR literally had to adjust its rating scale to accommodate the P85D. This higher-standard scale will affect new vehicle ratings going forward.
While the P85D was once Tesla's flagship vehicle, the electric-car maker has since introduced an improved version of Model S with even better performance -- the P90D. Announced in July, the vehicle has an acceleration mode called "Ludicrous." The vehicle can accelerate from zero to 60 in just 2.8 seconds. A fully loaded P90D costs about $145,000.
One thing is becoming increasingly clear: If Tesla can bring this sort of performance to lower-cost models, as it plans to with its 2017-aimed Model 3, electric cars are looking like they will eventually represent more than a small niche. Or, as CR puts it, "this fully electric car is a glimpse into the future of the automotive industry."