Last week, Tesla pulled the wraps off a new model after last-minute event invites were sent out. While immediate reactions thought it would be the production model of the Model X SUV, but it became apparent that it was Model S-related news. Luckily, it didn’t disappoint.
The news focused on a new, 90 kWh battery pack upgrade for the sedan, or five kilowatts above the range-topping 85 kWh model. For a culture that’s so used to automotive stats being spoken in horsepower, that may not sound like a whole lot. But in the Performance P90D trim, the results of that bump are astronomical.
The 90D — that is, dual motor — now brings range to an even 300 miles. In what has been dubbed (appropriately) Ludicrous Mode, the Tesla Model S — a nearly 5,000-pound sedan that can seat seven — will do zero to 60 in 2.8 seconds. Though it’s not going to be the fastest sedan in the world, it’s an immediate contender for the quickest.
To put that kind of power — 762, to be exact (torque figures were withheld, but we’re guessing in the ballpark of 900-1,000 pound-feet based on the Model S’s existing 864) — in perspective, we’ve cobbled together a list of cars to illustrate just how immensely powerful and impressive the P90D really is.
1. Audi RS7
Though it’s not the fastest, the Audi RS7 is probably the closest competitor to the Tesla P85D and P90D that exists. Not only do the cars bear physical similarities — the raked rear window, the shoulder line, and the general profile — but the two are fairly similar in price and stature as well. The Audi produces 560 horsepower (measly in comparison to the P90D’s 762) and can hustle to 60 in 3.7 seconds, making it among the fastest four-door cars on the road — albeit one that’ll get trounced by the latest from Fremont.
2. Nissan GTR Nismo
The Nissan GT-R Nismo’s 600 horsepower is an engineering marvel, as it’s sourced from a twin-turbo V6 (a setup that commonly produces about half that). The standard 545 horsepower GT-R can manage 60 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds, which is brought to 2.8 with the Nismo additions. However, given the Tesla’s dual-motor setup and instantaneous torque, we’re betting that the P90D will have the edge if the two are ever paired up (which we’re betting they will be).
3. Ferrari 488 GTB
Ferrari’s 488 GTB is the follow-up to the ever popular 458 Italia. Like the 458, it looks similar — that is, like a Ferrari should. Unlike the 458, it’s turbocharged. That extra forced induction — something Ferrari has been wary of implementing — won’t help it against the P90D, though, which will best the 488 by about two-tenths of a second to 60, and possibly beyond.
4. Lamborghini Aventador
It’ll do zero to 62 in 2.9 seconds, and it costs the better part of $400,000. It’s hands-down on of the most impressive cars on the road, but on the drag strip, there’s a certain electric family sedan that can show it up for about a quarter of the cost. The race was absurdly close when the Aventador took on the P85D, so we imagine it’ll be even tighter with those five extra kilowatts.
5. Audi R8 V10
Fresh for 2016, the Audi R8 V10 brings a new angular and a 610 horsepower beating heart. Equipped with Audi’s legendary Quattro all-wheel drive, it has the ingredients to become one of the finest drivers’ cars out there. But given a choice between an R8 and a P90D in a drag race, you’ll want to be in the Tesla; even in Plus trim, the R8 takes 3.2 seconds to reach 60. There is no substitute for that V10 howl, though.
6. Dodge Hellcat
On a horse-for-horse basis, the Dodge Charger Hellcat is probably the closest competition that the P85D faces. Big to-dos were made of the drag race between the 5,000 pound luxury sedan and the Challenger Hellcat (which sports the same 707 horsepower engine), and the inevitable rematch is going to be a spectacle that we can’t wait for.
7. McLaren F1
The McLaren F1 is a rather symbolic car on this list. This is partially because it’s been the gold standard of high performance automotive engineering since its debut, but also because Elon Musk actually owned one. The fact that his electric super sedan beats the F1 — the Tesla’s 2.8 to the McLaren’s 3.2 — is nothing short of amazing. The McLaren will still have the trophy by top speed, but that doesn’t make Tesla’s feat any less impressive.
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