Video: Top Speed Test – Tesla Model S P85 Gets Driven on the Autobahn


On the German Autobahn, where no speed limit is posted, the Tesla Model S P85 can be tested to its full top-speed potential without the risk of receiving a speeding ticket.

Top Speed

Top Speed

Courtesy of, here we presents the Model S P85 top-speed test.

Tesla officially lists the top speed for this version of the Model S at 130 MPH, but as you’ll see in the video, the vehicle is capable of slightly exceeding that official mark.

End result: 212 km/h or 132 MPH.


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31 Comments on "Video: Top Speed Test – Tesla Model S P85 Gets Driven on the Autobahn"

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Tesla undersells and over delivers, as usual.

Likely not. Speedometers are not very accurate, and usually overestimate to make sure nobody unknowingly breaks the speed limit.

No, other sources also report similar numbers… If the car didn’t know it’s own speed accurately, the trip / range / nav computer would also be inaccurate. :p


The trip distance is treated differently by the computer. Manufacturers have (voluntarily I believe) agreed to having the speedometer slightly overestimate the speed by around 5 km/h. But it might be that Tesla is an exception, I can imagine that. They do more things differently.

These other sources probably also showed the speedometer, which is of course not an independent confirmation.

But the whole discussion is rather theoretical, since it is obvious that the top speed is limited and Tesla could easily reprogram the computer to allow 2 or 3 km/h more top speed if people started making a fuss about the Model S not exactly reaching advertised top speed.

There is a small test you can do to see the difference for your self.

On a flat road with little traffic, put your car on cruise control, say 100 km/h. Then when the speed has settled, reset your trip computer. Put your trip computer to displaying average speed, which is calculated by the onboard computer from the distance covered and the time. Drive long enough for this average speed to settle and see the difference for yourself.

Imagine if there was a second speed!


Keep hoping they figure out lightweight multi-gear EV transmissions for Roadster 2.0…

Tesla dropped their two-speed transmission from the Roadster because of multiple failures. Why would they reintroduce it!?

That wouldn’t make a difference since the top speed is limited and likely not due to max rpm for the electric motor, but more for maximum continuous power draw.

The max continuous power draw is likely dictated by cooling of motor/power electronics or battery. It might also be that they want to limit sustained power draw from the battery to a little over 1C to reduce aging.

Mitsubishi says the i-MiEV’s top speed is regulated for the motor’s sake, not for consumption reasons. I would imagine it’s the same thing for the Tesla.

did you watch the range fall off? It went from 190 to 186 in a few seconds. I get mad at mine for losing a mile per day just sitting in the garage!

Step on a gas pedal, and watch your gasoline quickly disappear from your tank, and straight into the atmosphere. Efficiency drops as speed increases, for ALL terrestrial propulsion systems.

Exactly. With the large quantity of gas, it doesn’t make as much of a visible difference as it does on EVs. 32kW is approximately the amount of power that one gallon of gasoline contains.

I dont have a gas car, what am I an idiot?

Its too bad electric cars suffer so much in top end acceleration. But they are great around town… Or in the Tesla case below 80mph or so. These high end German sedans (E63/RS7) do 0-60mph in 3.5seconds, and 11.5sec qtr mile times at over 120mph (Tesla 108mph). Tesla’ low trap speed shows the weaker top end. But then again those German cars are underrated at 560hp+! Bring on a twin motor Tesla with the requisite powerful battery. I would love to see an electric car beat these German sedans in upper speeds also!

Elroy – As a younger man, statistics like top speed meant so much to me when researching cars. I mean, if a car went 180mph, it MUST be one of the best cars – right? But as we gain wisdom, we realize a person has to pay extremely high prices for a vehicle that scoots across the earth at very high velocities say, three or four times the legal posted speed limit. Then, we realize, at those speeds we are endangering our own lives as well as every single child, woman and man around us too. After a few speeding tickets as a younger man, you’re faced with soaring insurance rates, and one day ….one fine day, you just grow up. You speak highly of top speeds and zero-to-sixty, but what, really…do these statistics mean in real daily life? Answer: Not much. Speed really shouldn’t be the measure of quality or greatness of an automobile that is designed, engineered and built to perform on public roadways. At these upper-end price ranges: The German cars you speak of – a car that does what Model S does is not available. Meaning using no gasoline, capability of transferring your butt over terrain… Read more »

Sorry James, You are preaching to the wrong guy about performance stats. My street driven BMW would do 132mph from a standing start in about 11 Seconds in a qtr mile run. Please see my YouTube videos under “hotrod182”. You will also see how painfully slow the P85 is that I was driving in another video 0-75mph. Tesla has good low end power, and just above average upper speed acceleration.

Don’t get me wrong, I am as strong an EV supporter as you will find. I preach everyday to others about the superiority of EV. I am hoping a twin motor Tesla or something mainstream will push electric cars to the next level of performance, but in the meantime, I am just keeping things realistic.

I expect the Model S is tuned to drive this way, grabbing the low hanging fruits of electric motor performance while maintaining everyday drivability, and can also be tuned to perform more like a BMW for the Autobahn. I think it’s quite impressive what Tesla has achieved in their first cars compared with, for example, what Porsche has done with the Panamera e-hybrid after decades of company history.

Why do we place such a premium on top end speed? Like we are all trying out for Daytona or some such? A car that hits even 90 mph is too fast for the vast majority of drivers and roadways.

I find these Model S is faster than X car comparisons (or the other way around) to be silly.

Exactly. My i-MiEV’s top speed is 81MPH. Some people scoff at the car because of this. Why? 81MPH is plenty fast enough to keep up with even the fastest traffic here in Texas.

Is the Italian Autostrada safe? The German Autobahn? I’ve seen some very hairy fatal and near-fatal video footage reinforcing that it is not. Does everyone who drives the Autobahn, or stretches of Montana highway where patrolmen are as rare as Starbucks drive over 100mph? Answer: No. Do some? Sure, some do. If there were no other cars about, and if we were the only humans around, and if the only life at stake were our own – hey, knock yourself out ( figuratively ). Yet in real life, we are taking human and animal lives in our own hands when driving, and going each 10 mph faster increases the magnitudes of danger to ourselves and others. It rightfully is illegal, therefore, to travel on American freeways and highways at twice the posted speed limits, and plainly, this is the reason why. A kid, or car enthusiast who quotes top speeds and which car is quicker is a common thing. I do believe high performance is a keystone to EV acceptance. The reason being that top speed and quickness vs. other cars is so revered in today’s society. When Tesla’s Roadster proved it could beat a Porsche in a race, and… Read more »

Depends of what kind of statistic you look at.
Per driven kilometer, the Autobahn is the safest road. Fatals per number of accidents, not that much safe…

Due to population density, I’ve read that the average speeds on the Autobahn are not much higher than the 60mph on Interstates here in the USA. Even professional reviewers from major auto publications often complain they are clogged with lorries and commuters. So how does weaving between slow moving vehicles to speed ahead at 150mph safe?

Population density is increasing, and opportunities to cruise from city to city at 200mph are highly exaggerated. Speeds in excess of 80mph are best left to the controlled race track.

As someone who currently lives in Germany, let me respectfully correct you (and Eric).

“I’ve read that the average speeds on the Autobahn are not much higher than the 60mph on Interstates here in the USA.”
Well, maybe not you, but your source.
There are times when only 60mph is possible, but only on a few roads around major cities. Between cities, low cruising speed is 90mph

“So how does weaving between slow moving vehicles to speed ahead at 150mph safe?”

The law in us is the same as here: pass on the left only.
Very few here disregard this law, so almost no-one weaves.

“Speeds in excess of 80mph are best left to the controlled race track.”
The autobahn is mostly well designed, meaning that cruising speeds of around 100mph are maintained even by elderly ladies, just with the appropriate focus with no simultaneous texting.

Eric: “where no speed limit is posted”.
Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Too many have a 120kph or 130kph limit posted.
Some with good reason, most without.

Americans have to realize that Germans have a MUCH higher standard for driver’s licenses, and they cost a lot more. Your car is thoroughly inspected for its road-worthiness. None of this missing bumpers and broken taillights like we see all the time in the USA.

Additionally, distracted driving just doesn’t happen in Germany. Even drinking a soda while driving doesn’t happen, let alone texting, eating, and other things. Germans drive and focus on driving only.

132 MPH @ ~100 kW displayed gives an 42 MPGe, better than ~95% of all cars … going 1/2 the speed!
42 MPGe is about 10x of a luxury sports car at equivalent speed.

(132 MPH / 100 kW * 33.5 kW/gal)

*note: the 290 km (180 mile) range displayed means only 45 min. driving time if 200+ KPH is sustained.

I would like to see this repeated once the autobahn tuning is available from Tesla. It among several things raises the top speed to at least 150mph.

I thought that was a suspension tuning only?

google “unclean at any speed”. EVs are no better than ICE cars for us and the planet…even solar and wind have real negative side effects.

You can argue sbout speed limits, but I think there is no question that german cars are the best handling cars because they are built for high speed driving.

Have a closer look.
The gauge drops 90 Km in range in the space of one minute.
The battery will be totally flat in 15 minutes or less.
You can NOT be serious?
That’s like having a Porsche (with the handbrake on) and a half gallon fuel tank.