Tesla Model S 70D Review

JAN 25 2016 BY MARK KANE 53

Production Of The Tesla 70D Kicks Off This Month (Demo shown here in new "Warm Silver" shade)

Tesla Model S 70D

Base Tesla Model S 70D with double-motor AWD was highly appreciated in the latest Autocar review.

Turns out Tesla fits the Darwinism model fairly well, as every new version become better than the previous one – both in terms of hardware on the production line and software due to over the air updates.

Hardware changes like AWD in the still relatively new 70D, slightly larger battery (70 versus 60 kWh in the base model) also makes for a much-improved car.

The car, with its 5.2 seconds for 0-60 mph (97 km/h), can’t be considered a competitor to the Insane P85D, but it’s still more than quick enough.

“So what about the rest of the car? Well, it just gets better and better. The ride is much improved over the early cars we tried. It’s firm in a sporty way, but feels beautifully engineered to keep a decent level of compliance with no crashy moments to ruffle your feathers.

For a big saloon that’s capable of transporting five people in comfort – or seven if you get a third row of seats fitted – it handles and steers beautifully. Yes, you can feel there’s considerable mass around you as you carve between apexes, but the body stays superbly controlled with next to no roll. The steering is quick and accurate with lovely weighting, even if it doesn’t exude oodles of feel.

The airy cabin is also a great place in which to spend some time, and not just because of the endless fun you can have playing with that big iPad-style screen. The current generation car’s front seats fit like a tailored glove and mark a huge improvement over the narrow and unsupportive perches fitted to the early cars. And you can’t argue with the space on offer either, whether in the front, back, or in either the two generously proportioned boots.

It feels much better built these days, too. The materials look smarter than ever, and even if it’s not quite an equivalent to today’s Audis for perceived quality, it’s certainly heading in the right direction.”

Source: Autocar

Categories: Tesla, Test Drives

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53 Comments on "Tesla Model S 70D Review"

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I want A 100D model 3…425 to 465 mile range …

Prepare to be very disappointed. Unless they severely cripple the cargo area a 100 battery system wont fir in any smaller car with the current makeup of batteries.

Maybe in another cycle or two in improvements, but as of now… even the MS is barely getting that upgrade in the next year or two.

I heard the M3 will 80% the size of the S ..I hope not smaller …too much smaller than that & I’d be 0ut of that market..& With any luck battery Capacity with improve, so that they can put More juice in a smaller package..

I like small. Small with AWD, like an Impreza; yes. An electric Impreza.. That is happiness.

Sign me up for a small EV with AWD also.

I want small and convertible. I dont need awd.

Brian said:

“Unless they severely cripple the cargo area a 100 battery system wont fir in any smaller car with the current makeup of batteries.”

Not at all. Tesla will be using battery cells in the Model ≡ which are only 10-20% larger in all dimensions than the 18650 cells it’s currently using. So if they put in a second layer on top of the first, it would only raise the floor by three inches or so. That would result in a relatively tall car, like the i3, but that’s certainly not a show stopper.

Of course, Tesla will do no such thing; a 100 kWh battery pack would put the price of the Model ≡ beyond the market segment it’s aimed at. But it’s certainly possible to build it that way from an engineering perspective.

The battery pack would weigh over 1500 pounds, you are hauling that around town.

I want a Model3 40D for 200 miles range using 40 kWh battery and lower price and weight than Bolt with D being optional.

Musk is a magician, not a genie. Not even he could grant that wish.

Tesla can achieve longer range with smaller battery if they can improve on aerodynamics. If Model3 can achieve 5.33 mi/kWh battery to wheels at 65 MPH (SparkEV is 5 to 5.5 mi/kWh at 55 MPH), that’ll do it. See my blog on hoping for tesla for details of what I’m talking about.


There is only so much you can do with aerodynamics if you want the vehicle to be practical as well.

You should read my blog post to see why it’s not such a difficult problem for Tesla to achieve better efficiency. SparkEV is 0.33 drag coefficient, Tesla S is 0.24. In fact, Tesla S has smaller drag area than SparkEV!

Even just making Model3 90% as wide as S, they would achieve close to the goal. In fact, I’m going to add to my blog with these details.

It is much easier to go from .33 to .24 than .24 to .22 and keep it functional. Model S had the lowest Cd of any production car in 2012 (new Prius may have tied that).

Physics will prevent the drag from reducing significantly. So the only knob to turn is frontal area. And most people are not interested in an F1 driving position.

Before Tesla S, people said the same about going from 0.28 to 0.26 that it has to look like Prius (or Aztek). After Tesla S, I have far more confidence in them to pull off something better.

Also, S is wide; simply reducing width would reduce area, and it doesn’t need F1 seating style. But even more importantly, I think Tesla is already there; I’ll update with my findings in my blog post later.

Nothing prevents good looks in an aero car, EV.
Fact is it is the details like door seems, flush windows, wheelwells, etc that count more.
And .20 wouldn’t be that hard to get even on a shorter EV.
I’m working on a small EV sportvan now doing just that, like the Burbaker Box size and gull wing doors.

The Tesla Model S can have a lower Cd because it is low and long. Building a smaller car actually really hinders aerodynamics because you can’t have a long frontend and backend that are both tapered smoothly to reduce drag. And thus you end up with short little vehicles like the Smart car which has TERRIBLE aerodynamics.

If you went with an Aptera type of design, that might be possible. But 200 miles on only 40KWH is not going to be possible with today’s technology and a conventional looking car.


The Bolt needs 60 kWh to go slightly over 200 miles (estimated), but SparkEV thinks the Model ≡ could do nearly the same with only 40 kWh?

SparkEV needs a reality check.

I expect the Model ≡ to be slightly more energy efficient than the Bolt, but only slightly.

Pupu, just like Corvette beating Tesla P90D by destroying the clutch, you will eat your words! 🙂

The more I look into Tesla, the more impressive they are (except for fast charge taper). If they wanted to have “mass market EV” like Leaf and SparkEV 3 years ago, they could’ve done it. As weird as it sounds, it’s almost like they’re holding back to have others catch up.

Still on business trip. Will update my blog in coming days/weeks.

If he can land A Rocket “upright”, after successfully delivering 11 satalites into Space ….This should Be child’s play for Elon

So 85D would mean 450 miles too cool! I could live wi that!

People used to driving gas cars think they need all that range. Then you buy an electric car and you realize you usually don’t. A 100D will be more expensive than a 60, maybe 8-20k usd more, use more energy even driving, have worse handling in the corners and be worse for the environment. Fast charging is being built every day so all you will need to do in the future is to stop for another ten minutes the few times you travel 500 miles. Is it worth it?

Yes but people don’t “need” a $100k car either. If you buy an expensive product you want value for money. You want it to be comfortable and easy to use. Part of that is not having to supercharge multiple times per day when doing long trips, even if you don’t make long trips very often.

You are correct, but human psychology and emotion doesn’t place even weight on these facts.

Not the model 3 but I expect that Tesla breaks 100 on the S once the 3 is out the door. If the Bolt, the 3 and the next LEAF can all go 200+ on a charge, why pay 3 times more for just 50 miles longer range? Sure, it’s overall a more luxurious car but it kind of lands in the VOLT vs ELR territory, why pay a huge premium for a marginally better car?
I would like to see the S reach 350 miles soon-ish, that would put it right back in the spotlight. I guess it would need around 110-130 kWh to do that.

“Someone out there” said:

“…it’s overall a more luxurious car but it kind of lands in the VOLT vs ELR territory, why pay a huge premium for a marginally better car?”

If the Model S was only “marginally better”, then it wouldn’t have received more “Best car of the year” awards than any other car in history, it wouldn’t have “broken” the Consumer Reports test drive rating system, and it wouldn’t have outsold every other plug-in EV in North America last year.

There are a lot of Model S owners who say they paid much more for the Model S than they ever have before for any car, because the Model S really does offer a much better driving experience.

A 100D will be between 300-370miles (EPA) if you assume between i3 and Leaf efficiency. Musk can’t make it less consuming than the i3 i think.

For a range of 450 miles you would need around 120kWh at least.

You really don’t, or you won’t have it for quite some time.

Ideally, the 300 real world miles is more than enough… more than that you pay weight and cost penalties. Weight affects efficiency and driving dynamics. For most people, real 200 miles is enough to use the Supercharger network and is more than good enough.

Model 3 is likely 55 kWh and 65 kWh packs.

Yes, 300 miles is the “sweet spot” that plug-in EV makers should aim for, once the price of batteries comes down sufficiently. Gasmobile makers put gas tanks in their cars big enough to take their cars a minimum of 300 miles, so clearly that’s what consumers prefer.

We see a lot of comments, including ones in this very comment thread, claiming that EVs don’t really need that long a range. Well, those who prefer short-range cars are of course entitled to their opinion, but if you’re gonna make a best selling car, then you need to aim at the broadest possible market segment, not the tiny niche of buyers who actually prefer to settle for less.

When Tesla comes out with a 100kWh, 400+ mile range vehicle, SOMEONE will complain, asking for a 150kWh, 600+ mile vehicle.

Then Tesla will make that and SOMEONE will complain, asking for a 200kWh, 800+ mile vehicle.

When will enough be enough?

It is more than enough for me right now. 200+ miles is fine. OK, 250 to 300 is even better.

But over 300 just seems stupid to me. That just means extra weight for extra batteries that you will use less than 0.6% of the time.

Please People Buy More of These. We need more in the used car market. Thanks

with used 85’s at 58K it’s almost as good to just buy the bigger battery in a used S. Most have less than 25K miles.


If the motor & powertrains last the predicted 1M-miles they talk about . You may not see many on the used market

That doesn’t follow at all. Cars don’t go onto the used market because they’re worn out — they’d not be worth buying if so. They get sold because the owners crave the newest and best.

So true.

Or this site for a better overview


Yes, this. The used Tesla market is still so high priced that used ones cost only very slightly less than buying new and getting the tax-credit.

I think this one of the hallmarks of Tesla as opposed to legacy car companies, i.e. their continued striving to improve the product they produce.

Agreed. The software upgrades are an obvious departure from the typical car company mindset. GM could be offering things like the software update for charge-hold, but they just don’t seem to get it. Amazing how much more forward thinking the Silicon Valley companies are.

Corporate Culture directly shapes and influences the products consumers can buy.

If you want great products– vote with your wallet what kind of mindset you want to support, in the marketplace.

Simple questions can lead to easier purchasing decisions. For example:

Q: Why does Tesla make Cars?

A: To accelerate the mass adoption of BEVs for cleaner, sustainable transport.

Q: Why does Tesla want cleaner vehicles?

A: To Improve Humanity’s Future.

Then, do the same thing with another company… For example:

Q: Why does GM make cars?

A: To make money.

Q: Why does GM want cleaner vehicles?

A: To obtain CARB credits so they can continue to sell cars, and make money.

The outcome of such exercises, will likely influence my choice of product…

Very well said Anon!


Well said

Ford is the worst. The number 1 selling auto in America is the ford fseries truck. Ford sells 60-68,000 ftrucks a month. And still, Ford sells no electric trucks. Ford made an electric Ranger in the late 90’s before recalling them and killing then all. It was awesome for a small truck.

Until Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, and Nissan start selling all electric Trucks and SUV’s, their EV programs are not solving the problems that need to be solved. I would never buy from them nor recommend doing bussiness with them. The only exception would be to support innovation and buy a Leaf, Volt or Bolt. Buying their EV’s supports real world research into solving the problems we face as a world like auto pollution, wars for oil and environmental destruction for oil and gas.

Tesla is a public company. As such, the board and CEO is obliged by law to serve the interests of shareholders first, and their primary goal is… to make money.

Much as I love Tesla and think the world needs it, and much as I would love to think that at least Elon’s *personal* reasons really have to do with a sustainable future, it is incredibly naïve to think Tesla as a company is a bunch of do-gooders. The capitalist system precludes that from even being a possibility.

Sure, at the end of the day Tesla needs to be a profitable company or they will go bankrupt.

However, “profit at any cost” is not necessarily the best way of doing business. There is something to be said about having a “progressive” or “green” image, that will attract a certain clientele. It certainly seems to be working for Tesla seeing as they sell more than they can produce. If shareholders don’t like this strategy they are free to sell their shares anytime, or try to change it at their shareholder’s meetings.

“There is a common belief that corporate directors have a legal duty to maximize corporate profits and “shareholder value” — even if this means skirting ethical rules, damaging the environment or harming employees. But this belief is utterly false. To quote the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in the recent Hobby Lobby case: “Modern corporate law does not require for-profit corporations to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and many do not.””


Realist said:

“…it is incredibly naïve to think Tesla as a company is a bunch of do-gooders. The capitalist system precludes that from even being a possibility.”

This isn’t a binary, either/or situation. For instance: Too many companies, and far to many corporate executives, focus on short-term goals, maximizing short-term profits at the expense of the long-term benefit of the company, its employees, and its stockholders. That, too, is being “capitalist”… but it’s not good business.

Is making a profit Tesla’s #1 goal? Sure. That doesn’t mean there’s no flexibility in how to go about making a profit. For example, Tesla offered to give its patents to anyone who wanted to use them, for free. Did the heavens fall? Did the stockholders vote Elon off the island? Did the stock price collapse? No, no, and no.

Profitability and altruism do not have to be adversaries. They can, sometimes, cooperate.

I’m all for what Tesla is doing and I believe that Elon has the best of intentions but if anyone thinks for a moment that he’s not in this for the money…

Money, for him, seems to be just an enabler. He clearly expected to lose all or most of it in Tesla and SpaceX. Now it is about changing things and one needs money to do that.


Money ABSOLUTELY is an enabler. It’s also the carrot at the end of the stick, that keeps investors in the game, while Tesla sets up the Chess Board and changes the rules.

Can’t wait for Model 3!!!

I’m a proud owner of a 70D. Regarding to the autonomy, I live in Europe and with the Superchargers I can travel for everyplace, sometimes with some chademo in the middle. 70D is enough for me, off course bigger battery we will need to stop less times to charge. But in my case Is even fine to stop between every 2-3hours.
Day by day in the city is more than enough, I charge my one maybe once a week, in a supercharger when I’m drinking a coffee. 🙂