Top Gear Comparison: Tesla Model S Crushes Maserati Ghibli


Top Gear’s shaky relationship with Tesla Motors includes several Tesla Roadster antics in which Top Gear set up the Roadster for failure (backstory here).

Maserati Ghibli

Maserati Ghibli

That shaky relationship should now be part of the past as Top Gear  just declared the Tesla Model S the “most important car” it ever tested.

Top Gear recently pitted the Tesla Model S against the Maserati Ghibli.  The result was a runaway win for the Model S.

“The Tesla Model S is the most important car Top Gear has tested. Let’s just throw that out there. A handsome if generic-looking exec hatch, it threatens to do to the traditional car industry what Amazon did for retailing and Apple’s iTunes infrastructure did to the music business – utterly rewire it.”

Writes Top Gear.

As for the comparo between the Model S and the Maserati, here’s what Top Gear says:

“In the context of this issue’s Europe versus America contest, the new upper-medium contender from Italy’s second-most glamorous car brand would, ordinarily, have walked it. Effectively an abbreviated Quattroporte, with a form language that gets less awkward the longer you look at it, and bolstered by 100 years of priceless back-story, the charismatic Ghibli is tasked with gate-crashing the German hegemony. Against Tesla, though, heritage counts for less than zero, and the Maserati may have turned up to a gunfight with a water pistol.”

You certainly don’t want to arrive at a gunfight with a water pistol.  The Maserati was doomed from the beginning:

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

“It patters and jostles, and generally refuses to settle down, whether it’s on a pockmarked B-road or thrummy motorway. The 20in alloy wheels on the car you see here, by the way, are a £1,960 option. What price vanity?”

“Maserati says the Ghibli is a left-field choice aimed at people bored with the usual suspects. It’s far from perfect, but a perfectly credible contender in the hard-nosed fleet world.”

On the flip side is the Model S:

“The Tesla Model S is incredible. At £68,700, the most powerful Performance spec version doesn’t actually cost much more than a well-specced Ghibli. This isn’t the America of old Detroit. The Silicon Valley interloper has changed everything.”

That it has…

By crushing a nameplate such as Maserati, the Tesla Model S sets an example of what American automaker can do when it sets out on a mission of making not only the best electric vehicle ever, but quite possibly the best all around automobile to roll off a US assembly line.  Mission accomplished?  We tend to think so.

Source: Top Gear

Categories: Tesla

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36 Comments on "Top Gear Comparison: Tesla Model S Crushes Maserati Ghibli"

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The next step for Tesla is to use these high enegrgy density capacitors 480Wh/kg that they will make in the Giga factory.

Quantum nanoclusters of dipolar metal oxides in TiO2 or TAO 480 Wh/kg

It will charge in seconds not minutes

Let us see what Top Gear will say to that!

Even if you COULD make those supercaps work (which they won’t) you couldn’t charge the car in seconds due to the sheer laws of physics of transferring that amount of electricity. To fill up a car in seconds you’d need your own nuclear plant running at full speed dedicated to just that one car while it is charging. The cable would need to be as big around as the car itself.

Yeah, it’s kinda ridiculous. There are so many people who do not understand EV or even how electricity works. You can still see them running about, “Electric cars should charge within 1 minute, until then, I still think that they’re rubbish.” For a Model S to be replenished in 1 minute requires a feed of 5 Gigawatt Hours. The same thing for a Nissan LEAF would require almost 1.5 GWh. Rates like that would be like a flash charge. They would totally fry the cells.

GW, not GWh.

Says the one shouting the others don’t understand electricity and stuff. Hilarious.

And the best part the answer is 3 orders of magnitude off; to fill up the battery of the Model S in 1 minute, you’d need 5 MW, not 5 GW.


Great Scott! I think he meant jiggawatts!

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

I still want to see a superconducting charger with 1.21GW.

For obvious reasons.

Me too! The challenge then is to NOT hit 88 mph!

You still need an incredibly thick cable to transfer that much power. Why do you think the cord on your iPod’s headphones is so much thinner than the power cord for your PC?

Now, multiply that by 40 or more.

Use more than one cable. Use three!

Besides by then the new high tempreture super conductors from Graphene and Calicium will allow such a high current to run in a very thin wire. I think it is up to 1.5 Kelvens now and that is easy to cool and a cable that is 2 meters long is not a big deal to cool to 1.5K

There are no high temperature graphene superconductors. At least, 1.5 Kelvin doesn’t qualify as ‘high temperature’ in the field of superconduction.

But carbon nanotube wiring might offer a way out. Much lower resistance than copper, lighter, stronger, abundant material. If it were only a bit cheaper to fabricate.

Yeah, but still 1.5K. You need liquid helium for that kind of temperatures, which is prohibitively expensive.

Practical high temperature superconductivity should not require anthing below the boiling point of nitrogen (77K).

Lets look at using a 3500V feed, as the one high energy capacitor I’ve heard about runs at that voltage.

Also, let’s think about using a 1Mw charge rate, for a 2 min fill up. This is not as fast as we could go, but makes things a little safer.

So, at 3500V, you need ~285A to make 1Mw.

A 5Kv power cable rated for 300A needs to be 2 gage, so most of the weight of the cable is shielding. A little Googling turns up cable that meets these specifications and weighs 160 lbs in 50 foot rolls, so that would be 25 lbs for an 8 foot span. Not light, but not unwieldy either.

Required safety features include grounding or electrical isolation, GFCI, a no-load make/break interlock, and a safety breakaway for the cable and connector. All of these are handled by DCQCs today.

You could also use Aluminu it is lighter and cheaper!

Al is 1/3 the density, but almost twice the resistivity, so it would only cut metal weight by ~30%, and insulation would stay the same.

Minimizing the cross section is probably a higher priority, as it lets a cable be more flexible, so I think copper is a better choice (longevity is another advantage). A ribbon shape would be best, actually.

Anyway, the point is that cabling isn’t really a limit for faster charging, as David Murray suggested.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Use a superconducting cable with insulation and a liquid N2 inner pipe

200mi/30min is plenty fast for the 95% of the population that only needs to go outside the single charge range a few times per year. The problem is the 85kwh battery is expensive and even with the hoped for 30% decrease for Model E, it will still be too expensive for most people. Cost is the issue and super-caps, even if they can work, won’t help that anytime soon.

I aree with you. Infact I would rather have a car that can go for a longer ranger say 1000 miles per charge than a car that has a range of 300 miles that can charge in 5 min! Although the best of both worlds is best ofcourse!

The Giga Factory’s purpose was to make the production of cells more efficient, thus cheaper. There’s no definite word about increased battery capacity or even that supercapacitors are involved at all.

Having a place to make Li ion batteries or capacitors is just the same; in either case you need a place to make either of them.

Wow, I wonder where Top Gear got a Model S to test?

I’d think that Tesla would have blacklisted them for life after their previous hatchet jobs.

Top Gear (the TV show) hates ALL EVs. Top Gear (the magazine) apparently doesn’t.

Top Gear was downright dishonest in their review of the Roadster, but you have to admit that the Model S is leagues beyond the Roadster.

I wonder how they got a Model S to drive!

porhaps they bought one?

Good point.

I guess some executive at the BBC who owns one might have let the Top Gear crew borrow one for their show.

This just shows what kind of “EV” sells…

The EV that will survive is the EV that will crush its ICE peers in any comparisons.

World doesn’t want compromise. Tesla doesn’t compromise.

Is it just me or do these car bodies look really damn close?

It was nice of Elon to tweet “Thanks” to BBC_TopGear…

It is not just american automaker what made the difference. Any automanufacturer could have replicated Tesla’s success, but the did not want to do this, because electric transportation is huge cost issue for them, because they are so heavily invested on ICE technology. Modern Internal Combustion Engine is the most researched technology that human kind has ever produced!

Anyway, Tesla was the first manufacturer who tried to explore what electric transportation can be today. Therefore, from retrospective it was just no-brainer success story.

It is curious, that SpaceX has similar story behind. Large government backed organizations such as ULA and Ariane Space really did not even want to develop new approaches to the rocket science. SpaceX just ruthlessly exploited this and brought some new winds to the space race!

Whilst you may be correct that ICE is the “most researched technology”, ask yourself, when was the last fundamental change in ICE technology? I don’t mean incremental improvements, but real innovations. Fuel injection? Disk brakes? ABS? there isn’t much to shout about for all that research is there?

How about swapping batteries at gas-stations? If all cars would use the same batteries (in packs, so some can have more capacity as others), and swapping them out could somehow be automated, we would have no problem with longer charge times.