Tesla Model S P85D vs Ferrari 458 Italia – Race Video


Tesla Model S P85D goes up against a Ferrari 458 Italia in a quarter-mile drag race.

Ready for take off… Into another dimension, or something.

Ready for take off… Into another dimension, or something.

Recently, Rego Apps (Model S P85D owner) went up against a Ferrari 575 in a drag race.  Comments were made that the race wasn’t fair, as the P85D is brand new with the latest and greatest, while the 575 was at least 11 years old.  Well, here is round 2, New vs. New.

Without really needing to it point out, and in an unbiased way, the Model S is an all-purpose, everyday sedan, while the Ferrari 458 Italia is not, and is purpose-built for speed, acceleration, and handling.  These are two completely different vehicles purchased for different reasons, so with that in mind, the Model S P85D still performed (and there is no other way to word it) INSANELY, for a family sedan!

A few years ago, most of us didn’t think that it was possible for a sedan to perform like the Model S P85D does. Well, the P85D changes the perception of what a family sedan can be.

Per video description:

How does the new AWD Tesla Model S P85D compare against a new Ferrari 458 Italia? We took the two of them onto a quarter mile strip of road to find out.

This is the rematch that you’ve been asking for. A few of you said it wasn’t fair to race a modern day Tesla with a decade-old Ferrari. So this time, I pitted it against a new Ferrari: The beautiful 458 Italia.

Tesla Model S P85D | 691 HP | 4,936 lbs | 0-60 3.2 s
Ferrari 458 Italia | 570 HP | 3,274 lbs | 0-60 3.0s

The Tesla has a more powerful engine, but is much heavier than the Ferrari. During these runs, there were two people in the Tesla and one person in the Ferrari. In the third run, the Ferrari was given a slight lead to try to even things out. The 1/4 mile marker ends at the back of the overpass. The Ferrari was driven in Race mode. The Tesla was set to Insane mode.

Editor’s Note: Racing is strongly suggested to be conducted only on the race track. Not on public roads. 

Categories: Racing, Tesla, Videos


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37 Comments on "Tesla Model S P85D vs Ferrari 458 Italia – Race Video"

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The P85D doesn’t need the jump. Time to re-re-match.

If the 0-60 for Ferrari is only 3s vs. Model S’s 3.2s, why did it lose? Was the race cooked?

From the article:
Tesla Model S P85D | 691 HP | 4,936 lbs | 0-60 3.2 s
Ferrari 458 Italia | 570 HP | 3,274 lbs | 0-60 3.0s

You can jump in front in 0-30mph. If you replay the video when the race starts, the Model S jumps in front, but pretty soon the distance between the two shrinks and Frerrari at 3 sec mark had started to close the gap. So, one way to think of it is that if you only takes 1 seconds to reach 30mph but takes 2.2 second to go between 30mph and 60mph, you will be in the front. But the other car can take 1.8 secs to reach 30mph but only takes another 1.2 secs to reach 60mph from 30mph but fall behind in position… That is how EVs wins “real world” drag races b/c they jump into front but starts to slow down in 30-40mph range when ICE revs up… 60mph is 88 ft per sec or 0.2 sec means 17.6 ft difference. But at 30mph-44 ft/s, if you are 0.8 sec behind, you are already 35 ft behind. So even if you are faster in 0-60mph, b/c you are slow initially, you will NOT make up the difference. That is why 0-60mph favors the launch so much while 1/4 miles times favors top speed more or latter acceleration. That… Read more »

This is also b/c accelration is NOT linear. If it is, then the shorter times to 60mph will always be in the front.

The non-linear behavior of acceleration or difference in accleration vs. speed profile cause the slower car to be in the front if the early acceleration is significantly higher.

I believe P85D pulls more than 1.6 G in 0-30mph but pulls less than 0.7 g in 30-60mph… That is why it “feels” so fast off the line b/c it is so fast off the line, but NOT as fast in 30-60mph as in 0-30mph…

Think of it this way also,

In 100 meter dash, Usain Bolt is NOT the fastest off the start and he doesn’t even take over most runners until about 80-90 meter range. But if you look at his speed time, he is probably ahead of his competitors in reaching the top speed but he is well behind until 80-90 meters and will pull well ahead by the 100 meter to 200 meter range. Kind of like this race.

Very good answer! Lots of details. Some went over my head, but seems main reason is P85D’s 0-30 mph is faster.
Also, as you said, a split second difference in starting could make a difference in the first few feet. Not sure how accurate this test was, as they seem to be amateurs racing on public street.

There are a lot of factors that go into reported 0-60 numbers. 1) Was the 0-60 number “corrected” for theoretical perfect conditions? Some magazines realize they can’t always test every car under perfect conditions, so they “correct” the actual 0-60 numbers to adjust for weather and altitude variations. That way the cars they test in the fall in one location don’t get an unfair advantage in the numbers over a car they might test in the winter or heat of summer in a different location. 2) Were the 0-60 numbers collected on a drag strip where the track surface is specifically prepped for maximum traction? The surface of a properly prepped drag strip is much stickier than roads. Cars rarely are able to match track times on the street. Especially very high power RWD cars that are traction limited all the way to 60 mph. 3) Tire temps. Cold tires vs. warm tires can make a huge difference in 0-60. And even more for a RWD or FWD car than an AWD car. 4) Surface temps. Just like tire temps, this makes a big difference in 0-60, and even more for RWD than AWD. 5) Air temps. Air temps affect… Read more »

Thanks! You folks must be really into drag racing, or a researcher to know all these.

Even if the 0-60mph times are measured in the same drag race, a car with faster 0-60mph can fall behind if its 0-30mph is slower than the other car…

0-60mph is a measurement of time.
Drag racing is a measurement of distance/time.

One is acceleration, the other is speed.

If you draw the speed curve vs time on a graph. The area under the curve (through integration) is distance covered. So, you can a different shape of curve for one that favors the early acceleration but end up with slower 0-60mph but potentially covers more area under the curve, faster to reach a distance…

It is simple math…

If lithium-air ever comes to fruition imagine the acceleration. ICEs are done.

Lithium-air technology is especially problematic because it has very low power density compared to lithium-ion. Therefore it will not help with acceleration. It may help however that you have 10 kW range extender using lithium air batteries. This of course means that the main battery for driving is small, and therefore it cannot output huge performance.

Lithium Air also likely will have low charge acceptance, ie Supercharging will only charge the high-power battery.

Hybrid batteries might be interesting in some contexts, but it seems like the general case will be a large homogenous battery and high-power DC quick charging as Tesla is pursuing today.

“Tesla Model S P85D goes up against a Ferrari 458 Italia in a quarter-mile drag race.”

That was a street race, not a drag race.

Yeah it might lose but it’s a FAMILY SEDAN! If I was a Ferrari fan I’d be embarrassed to even have to race such a car and have the race that close. Still a beautiful sportscar though.

Of course, there’s really no “need” for a family sedan to have this kind of speed. I think I’d be perfectly happy with any vehicle that can do 0-60 in around 7 or 8 seconds.

But I’m still glad to see Tesla beating these faster cars off the line as it really does a lot to change the perception that has been around for ages about electric cars being slow.

I’d disagree, when so many cars like the Ferrari sit in garages, while those affording them drag their families around in portly SUVs.

The P85D is the “cake and eat it too” experience. Room and fun, for the whole family.

It is better that you have electronically limited power in your car. You can limit your acceleration to 7 or 8 seconds electronically using “peaceful” driving mode instead of “insane” driving mode.

Not smart to racing on the streets in Orlando.

It is technically Celebration. This would be the jurisdiction of the Osceola County Sherrifs department. You will find Jimmy Hoffa before you find a patrol car in that part of the county…

Not a fan of street racing. He’d better hope that his local police department isn’t eager to track him down.


That was cool!

Can anyone post price comparisons…..lol

Let’s be fair. The Tesla is the queen of 0-60, but this is a small sliver of the performance gamut, which the Ferrari has to contend with in its entirety. For pure sports performance, the ideal will be to combine both EV and ICE, which we are starting to see.

Nonsense. The “ideal” is not a hybrid. All hybrids are compromises. Eventually, fully electric vehicles are going to perform better than anything containing any vestige of ICE technology. Cars like the Mercedes AMG Electric Drive (where each wheel has its own motor) are the future of super-cars — and every-day sports cars. It is hard to compete with the level of performance instantaneous control such cars can achieve. In fact (as you point out) they only way an ICE-based vehicle can even begin to compete at this level is by incorporating an electric motor. That is a reason for that.

Tesla is a lot quicker of the line but more stamina for the Ferrari.


Tesla has announced an upgrade to the firmware of the power electronics of the vehicles that “will improve P85D performance at high speed”.

I think a rematch is in order after that becomes available.

If only Electric cars could make the same noise

-EV fan

Play the Ferrari sound in Model S’ car audio 🙂

The sound of struggle while the Tesla accelerates away silently? thats embarrassing!

The stroboscopic/’reverse rotation’ effect on the Ferrari’s wheels appears to show the lag when changing gears. Think that is the case?

“Model S is an all-purpose, everyday sedan”

NOT the P85D.

P85D with the letter P and D are specifically designed to be “drag queen”. =)
It is also very clear that Tesla specifically geared the Model S so short for
0-60mph performance by sacrificing top speed. Cars with similar HP would have much higher speed.

Based on the P85 gearing ratio, its max torque is reached at 43mph and its max HP is reached at around 73mph. That is a characteristics of the 0-60mph drag car….

Also, it seems that most people here don’t understand that 0-60mph peformance is ONE Of the performance characteristics of Performance car. There are others important things such as braking, handling, and cornering capability where the Ferrari will blow the P85D away due to the huge weight advantage of the Ferrari.

Lastly, I am NOT a supporter of street drag racing. If you want to race, go on the tracks to do it…

Any Ferrari fanbois left out there will really start crying when Tesla actually puts this same drive-train in a small 2-door coupe…..

Drive train is only part of the design. It would need large battery to support the peak power demand.

Read my reply about how gearing ratio matters in 0-60mph vs. 1/4 miles time…

I agree completely with your posts.

One thing I don’t know, is how far Tesla pushes the “C” rating of their individual battery cells, vs how much do they electronically limit how much power is applied to the wheels.

I actually doubt the acceleration is battery limited vs. electronically limited. So it is hard to say how much impact a larger or smaller battery pack would have on performance. A smaller pack could actually improve performance by reducing weight. And higher “C” rated cells that might be available for a future Roadster could also allow faster performance with the same or smaller battery pack.

All lots of very fun theoreticals to contemplate…

And we haven’t even touched upon “chip tuning” or hacking EV’s. There are videos of folks who have hacked their Volts to get massive acceleration on youtube that really make you wonder what a Tesla could do if hacked.

I think the major limiting factors are the motor controllers and battery.

Assuming that motors are NOT operated at limit, it can be “over drived” a bit without excessive damage as long as there is sufficient cooling.

Battery can operate at higher C as well with accelerated aging.

Motor controllers generally don’t have too much buffer until the company is willing to eat into the derating buffer which will reduce reliability.

The Volt tunning is mostly due to the generator starting, combined with the battery which pumps extra power into the motor. That is assuming that both the motor controller and motors have enough margins to handle it. Apparently it does. But I imagine it just eats into the “derating” buffer that engineers left to ensure higher reliability.

acceleration is all that matters, 0 to the speed limit

No one even goes over 90 in every day driving and thats speeding!

taking off at lights and blasting past other cars legally is where the fun is, and USING NO GAS!

All that wasted time and energy shifting gears… Kinda painful to watch.

A real race is 5 laps or more at Laguna Seca. These speed burst races are ridiculous. It would be like saying all olympic sports should be 100-meters long.

Agreed, for sports cars. How many BMW 7 series or Mercedes S class cars do you see running around Laguna Seca?

The natural home for 4800 pound sedans is the street, not the racetrack. And the P85D has an obscene level of street acceleration – to the point of ridiculousness.

The P85D’s rate of acceleration seems to decrease faster than I would expect at higher speed.

I am impressed that a Tesla (sedan) can race against a quarter-mil Ferrari and beat it in a 0-60MPH (and I am guessing in a 0-90MPH) run and only lose by about 2/3 of a car-length in a 1/4 mile race…