Few people expected Tesla to unveil a 691 horsepower electric supercar last fall, but that’s exactly what Elon Musk gave us with the Model S P85D. Even with its nearly 5,000 pound curb weight, the 691 horsepower Tesla P85D can outpace cars like the Challenger Hellcat and even a Lamborghini Aventador, at least for the first few seconds.
But how does the top-end Tesla fare against not just any Ferrari, but the F12 Berlinetta? Well this is one drag race where Tesla fans have to concede, as the lighter, more powerful Ferrari puts the P85D in its place, reminding us that as fast as it is, there’s still plenty of room for improved performance. The F12 came to battle with 730 horsepower to the Tesla’s 691, and while the 6.3 liter V12 makes just 509 lb-ft of torque, the Ferrari has a top speed of 220 MPH, while the Model S is limited to just 130 MPH (155 with a new software patch). All in all, this is a very one-sided race, even if the P85D compares favorably with many competitors.
There is, however, two advantages that work in Tesla’s favor; the instant torque of electric motors, and the Dual Motor all-wheel drive system, which lets the P85D get a jump on the F12 at the line. The lead doesn’t last very long as the Ferrari’s V12 spins towards its red line and it reels the Tesla in, and ultimately it’s important to remember that the P85D is only good for mid-11s in the quarter-mile. While that’s certainly faster than 99% of cars on the road, electric cars still have a lot of catching up to do in the realm of combustion performance.
The P85D is a great start, but, I’m interested to see if the Renovo Coupe handles a race track with turns as well as the Tesla handles a straight line. Formula E race cars can stay on the track for up to 30 minutes at a time, but then drivers have to swap cars rather than swap batteries. These improvements will come in time, I’m sure, but the Tesla P85D isn’t the end all, be-all of performance. Yet.