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2019
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Willis Kuelthau
Automotive Editor - March 11, 2019

2019 Tesla Model S OVERVIEW

The Model S is now among Tesla’s oldest models, but it may still be the best. The Model X has drawn some criticism for its gimmicky doors, the Model 3 suffered unfortunate quality control issues, and the Roadster has never been a mainstream model.

The 2019 Tesla Model S continues to build on its widespread success. Despite price fluctuations that seem far too frequent for comfort, the Model S continues to be an industry leader for both luxury sedans and electric vehicles.

What's New for 2019

The biggest changes to the Model S are in the battery department. In January 2019, Tesla killed the 75 kWh battery option. In the process of bringing the Model S trim structure in line with that of the Model 3, the company has now stopped disclosing battery capacities entirely. The trim lineup is back to three options, which have been renamed but fill the same essential roles as the 75D, 100D, and P100D trims of 2018. Without knowing the battery capacities, it’s impossible to know if the cars use different batteries or are simply limited by software.

Tesla Model S

Choosing Your Tesla Model S

Because Tesla hasn’t disclosed its new battery capacities, there’s currently no way to know exactly what hardware is in the latest Model S cars. All Model S cars are all-wheel drive, but horsepower and torque are a mystery, too. As proxies, Tesla provides zero-to-60 mph times and estimated range.

The lowest trim (Standard Range) gets an EPA-estimated 259 miles of all-electric range and does the zero-to-60 sprint in 4.2 seconds. That’s a little more than what the old P85D version could do.

Next up is the Long Range trim, which was once the 100D. This trim will do 335 miles before a charge, and it shaves a tenth of a second off the zero-to-60 time.

Finally, the speed-focused Performance (formerly P100D) trim gets the zero-to-60 run down to just 3.0 seconds, or 2.4 with Tesla’s infamous “Ludicrous Mode.” Range drops back to 315 miles.

Aside from its performance chops, the Model S is a capable and polished sedan. The cabin is serene, and a glass roof is standard on all models. Thirty cubic feet of storage makes the Model S very practical for a sedan. Tesla’s futuristic 17-inch touchscreen runs infotainment and gets over-the-air software updates from the company.

The remaining features are divided across the three trims:

Standard Range

With the death of the 75 kWh battery, the model S saw a price bump. The cheapest Model S, the Standard Range, now starts at $80,200 (all prices include the $1,200 destination charge and exclude any tax credits).

A good deal of luxury comes with the price tag. In addition to the standard infotainment system, the Model S Standard Range gets an 11-speaker audio system, remote control via app, ambient lighting, a heated steering wheel, and heated leather seats for both rows. Navigation is standard, as is onboard Wi-Fi, keyless entry, heated side mirrors, and dynamic LED headlights.

The Model S rolls on 19-inch rims, but 21-inchers can be had for an extra $4,500. In a cruel move, Tesla makes buyers pay at least $1,500 (and up to $2,500!) extra for any color other than black. Non-black interior colors are another $1,500.

The only available packages deal with Tesla’s autopilot software. Safety features like automatic emergency braking are standard, but for $3,000 Tesla will add the capability to steer, accelerate, and brake automatically within a lane. For another $5,000 on top of that, a Model S can have full self-driving capabilities, including parking assist (for both parallel and perpendicular) and the ability to seek out its driver in a parking lot. It’s worth pointing out that self-driving abilities don’t absolve drivers of vigilance behind the wheel, and laws vary by state, so features may be limited in some areas.

Long Range

Upgrading to the Long Range model boosts range to 335 miles and price to $84,200. Performance improves slightly as well, but otherwise the Long Range model is identical to the Standard Range in both standard and available equipment.

Performance

Finally, the range-topping Performance trim starts at $100,200. This trim can be had with the even faster Ludicrous Mode for an extra $15,000. Range is estimated at 315 miles. This trim gets ventilated seats, as well as carbon fiber décor to spice up the interior. Otherwise, options remain the same.

CarsDirect Tip

The lower trims of the 2019 Tesla Model S lineup are more than enough performance for most buyers, and 259 miles is plenty of range in areas with charging infrastructure. The Standard Range trim is the best value here.

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