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Motorweek's 2016 Tesla Model S P90D Test Says 0-60 MPH Takes 4 Seconds

Motorweek’s entirely positive test cannot match other reports’ ludicrous launch times.


In Motorweek’s most recent segment the iconic television car show tests the 763 hp 2016 Tesla Model S P90D with Ludicrous Mode, twin motors and all-wheel drive. Motorweek gushes over the Model S, just as they have in prior reports on this vehicle. That isn’t unique to Motorweek. Pretty much every publication that has tested the car loved it.

However, the outlandish acceleration of the Model S P90D in Ludicrous mode was a little less impressive in Motorweek’s testing. The magazine’s careful instrument testing, done at a dragstrip they know very well “only” resulted in a 0-60 MPH time of 4.0 seconds. The list of cars that can replicate that time is long and rather mundane. Motorweek’s test of the rear-wheel drive, 707 hp Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat sedan, for example, matched that time. And it should be noted that the Charger Hellcat is almost exactly half the cost of the Tesla Model S P90D (About $62K compared to about $119K). The car tested by Motorweek shows the underlined P90D model tag on the back, indicating it did have the Ludicrous mode upgrade with its special Inconel (nickel chromium iron alloy) power connectors.

So how did the more powerful, AWD Tesla fail to top the rear-wheel drive Charger? Mostly due to track conditions we suspect. Motorweek mentions the car's traction control was limiting the power. It was sunny the day of the Tesla test, but temperature and other factors also figure in such testing. The Charger was tested on another day, at another track. The Charger is a bit lighter, though, so this result may not be entirely related to track conditions. We offer Motorweek’s Charger time only as a comparison. The two sedans have entirely different personalities. Variations between Model S cars may also be responsible. The car tested by Motorweek was not a carefully scrutinized media vehicle directly form Tesla, but rather a car taken from one of its showrooms. State of charge and drivetrain temperature may also have played a role, but we are speculating.

Related Story: Dodge Charger Hellcat Beats Tesla P85D in Motor Trend Shootout (Video)

Main story image is a screen shot from Motorweek's video shown under the story.


Samuel H. (not verified)    January 26, 2016 - 12:40PM

This is absolutely ridiculous. Tesla's original RWD Performance version managed a 0-60 time of 3.9 sec. on the dragstrip and a quarter mile in 12.3 sec. Motortrend tested the Model S P90D and they did 0-60 mph in a ludicrous 2.6 sec. and finished the quarter mile in 10.9 sec. at 122.7 mph.

The Model S P90D is easily capabile of 0-60 mph in under 3 sec. blowing away any Hellcat, any day. This "Performance Test" is BOGUS.

Santosonly (not verified)    January 27, 2016 - 12:07AM

I know who Motor Trend, Automobile, and Car and Driver mags are. All of those mags rate P90D below 3 seconds. Who is Motorweek again?

John Goreham    January 27, 2016 - 9:24AM

I've seen the Drag Times and Motor Trend stories where they personally tested the P90D. If you can find a link for Car and Driver having tested it please post it. This Automobile test says 3.8/3.2 with and without L mode. The majority of the stories I found when I researched this story referred back to the Tesla claim. It is true other publications have tested it and done better. But did they use a production car from a dealer like Motorweek., or did Tesla give them a car to test...?

Mike (not verified)    November 1, 2022 - 2:23AM

Weather, outside temps do not affect an electric unless it’s like 95* F or higher. And track surface also won’t affect awd. But I must say motor week has been the most REALISTIC of them all with their performance numbers. Motortrend, C&D and Road&Track have always overstated the performance figures to help sell the brand being tested. Ever since about 1996.