Top Gear’s Chris Harris Drives Tesla Model S P100D – Video


This time Top Gear doesn’t get sued.

The first time a Tesla was featured on the British TV show Top Gear, it resulted in a lawsuit, which was eventually dismissed, That was back when the show was helmed by Jeremy Clarkson and the California company was a struggling startup automaker. Now, Clarkson and company have a new gig and Top Gear has more evenhanded presenters, one of which possesses legit fast driving bonafides. For its part, Tesla is still struggling. Struggling to build cars fast enough to fill close to half a million outstanding orders, that is.

Top Gear presenter Chris Harris expounds on the Tesla Model S

In the video above Chris Harris, possessor of those aforementioned bonafides, takes on the one-trick pony trope that the Model S is often saddled with. That is, it can only go quickly in a straight line. Before taking the Tesla to the twisties, though, Harris tries out that trick on a properly long piece of runway in Bruntingthorpe, lined up against the iconic Porsche 911R. As expected, the twin electric motors triumph over the 4.0 liter flat-six in a race from a standstill to 100 miles per hour. And then again to 150 mph. Here, though, is where Harris gets an upperhand. Switching to the German car, the last contest is rerun, with the Porsche taking first-to-150-mph honors.

But enough of that. Despite being pretty good at it, the Tesla wasn’t engineered to outrace exotics to its 155 mph top speed. It’s meant to be a road car, and so, Harris goes on to try the Model S down some very non-straight asphalt. He weighs in on all the aspects you’d expect from a skilled driver — steering wheel feel, braking, cabin noise.

Finally, after a bite to eat and some Supercharging, Harris gets down to the business of unwinding the car on a winding road. While we encourage you to watch the entire tape yourself, we will say that he admits the Model S “…is not a shambles,” though, it doesn’t exactly “light his fuse.” Considering all the positive things he has to say about pretty much every facet of the experience, we’d say that’s a solid win.


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28 Comments on "Top Gear’s Chris Harris Drives Tesla Model S P100D – Video"

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An accurate and fair review, for TG.

Almost. Had they bothered to charge the friggin’ car, it would have been MUCH better.

Because of quick acceleration and heavy regeneration braking, EV can get people car sick quickly. On the other hand, if know how to drive an EV, the ride can be much smoother than ICE.

Thank goodness that gas pedals are so mushy and unresponsive that it smooths out your inability hold it where you intend to.

Wow it has “gas pedals”?! how many? I would think it would be MORE responsive with more than one “gas” pedal.

Oops, my bad.

You are in luck. Tesla has just added a new driving mode called Chill that softens things up for those who need that. Personally I feel it is easy to regulate the accelleration with Model S and neither wife or kids have been more car sick in it than the Diesel car.

I’ve found it is WAY easier to regulate acceleration and deceleration on my EV than an ICE vehicle. No peaky torque curves, no shifting… it’s just easier.

I do have one problem with that: My kids fall asleep WAY too quickly in my car versus my wife’s ICE vehicle.


I’m much more interested in what Clarkson and gang have to say about it on this seasons Grand Tour.

Whatever they say, you know what their word is worth.

If they told me water was wet, if have to check.

Well he called the Rimac One a Lady shaver.. som don’t expect to much.

Clarkson is a dinasour with a really poor attitude to women.

Chris Harris is his own brand. A legend, among hoon’rs. He used to chime in, over on Rennlist every now and then. I didn’t know the vid I watched was even part of Top Gear.

I thought it mostly fair, and enjoyed the funny analogy to his “Auntie” being either too cold, or hot, or the concerns about the car knowing about “prep school”.

The reality is likely the P100D both lost state of charge and gained too much warmth, to repeat the 0-150MPH win over the 911R. But, I mean, how brutal can you get, and how much extra would you spend to buy an electric designed for repeated 0-150’s?? Any point in it?

I think it is worth pointing out that repeated 0-150 MPH runs on the Porsche will do considerable harm to that engine that isn’t measured or understood, whereas Tesla knows with exacting detail because of the amount of data collected, daily, all over the world.
At the end of a long day like that, how many Porsche’s need a trip to the mechanic? Worst case for that Tesla is some new tires.

Not. Useful or not, accelerating and braking hard all day and running at high speed until the gas tank is empty is what the Porsche is built to do

Marketing ++

Containing those explosions in the cylinders puts considerable strain on the engine. No engine is able to handle that abuse for extended periods of time. (Just ask the idiots at a Ford demo I went to that siezed the engine of a Focus RS that was run too hard!)

A few things bothered me about this review.
He is noticeably surprised by the amazing acceleration and then immediately discounts the car as a one trick pony, right at the start of the review, before he has even tested the vehicle further.

Later he is able to catch the Tesla at 135 mph but then keeps repeating that it rules from 0-120. Which is a slight, since he couldn’t catch it until 135.

Still later once again giving it props for handling he declares on a bumpy road at high speeds the travel is too great, well slow down then, or pick a less bumpy road.

A clear example of a prejudicial review, filled with back-handed and qualified compliments, taking the tack it’s great but, not really. It can’t be too hot or too cold.
Stuff like that. It has to be in the Goldilocks zone, just right. No it doesn’t. Not really a scientific review.

It is the best I could ever expect from a life-long hardcore ICE enthusiast who makes his living extolling how fast various ICE cars are.

I actually feel a bit sorry for him. He’s invested so much of his career into ICE super and hyper cars, and here comes a 4 door large sedan that produces acceleration that shocks even him. Now he’s got a problem. Now when he does one of his super/hyper car test drives that he is famous for on the internet, full of superlatives, does he mention that a 4 door large EV will actually beat it to 120?

The poor guy is on a show named “Top Gear” in a car that has just one Gear and has mind crushing acceleration.


One thing that was interesting was that it took putting a former professional race car driver (Harris used to be a pro racer) to get the full performance out of the ICE car JUST to catch the Tesla at 135. Otherwise mere mortals wouldn’t be able to catch the Tesla until the Tesla hits the top speed limiter at 155.

He will offend the ICE lovers if he doesn’t throw a few token stones at the model S.

Model S is built as a luxury sedan, not as a racer. Wait’ll the Porsche tries to take on the new Roadster. Hard core smackdown time.

At some point they’ll have to admit that the whole business with pistons and explosions and smoke is just over. And about time, too; spewing CO2 and partially burnt hydrocarbons into the only atmosphere we have is practically unethical.

notice he didnt put 3 people in the porsche(if could get 3 in it) and dive on undulating road – wonder how sickening that would be at same speeds –

was never designed to be a super car or race 911s and that isnt the market its trying to sell to – its aimed at top end bmw/merc saloon buyers M3 aimed at 3 series bmw buyers

Another Euro point of view

There is no question that for comfort and performances (except perhaps for cornering (weight)) electric cars are very good (better). The thing is not how good they are, it is how they can be made cheaply and how fast they can be charged. As for the construction costs, as Hyundai said recently the success of EVs took the mining industry by surprise so (as Hyundai says) we could have a slowing descend of li-ion battery prices around 2020 followed by again an acceleration of battery cost reduction later on when mining industry and/or technology catches up with demand (2025 ?). The implementation of 811 battery technology (as opposed to 622) by using less cobalt is already taken into account regarding cobalt shortage issues so won’t fix the problem, meanwhile BMW, by focusing on PHEV’s with small batteries, may have an hedge if a cobalt shortage should really take place in 2019/2020.

Batteries are are almost empty on the dash as yellow.
To get the max performance you need to at least have green or even better top them up to 100%

But as usual they are trying there best to miss credit Tesla by doing opposite what they are informed to do.
Still shows that even so Tesla beats the opponent.

Having been blessed to own both a new Porsche 911 turbo S and a new Tesla S, I can say I don’t miss the yearly oil & filter changes on the Porsche. Hours spent at the dealer and paying $300 for 9 quarts of Mobil 1 and a Porsche oil filter. What I liked most about the Porsche is it’s a better handling car. I love charging my Tesla at home!

The whole test was irritating. As others have said – its just not an apples to apples comparison. Really? Take a roadster designed for club racing against a large luxury car and then complain about suspension travel? Get real. Put this car against a maxed out 7 or an Mercedes S class. Something with the same price, weight and size -The European brands would win on interior fit out (which is arguably the most important to that market segment) but the Tesla wins hands down in every other category -its embarrassing – ICE is over if you need to pit a race designed 2 seat roadster to compete with a Tesla S.