Last night Elon Musk unveiled the highly-anticipated D, and although he joked about Velcro-seamed pants and tossed out the word “shaft” within the first couple of minutes, the official unveiling was strictly automotive related. As we had guessed last week when Musk tweeted out about pulling the cover off of the D and “something else,” the single-letter designation of the exciting new offering from the electric car maker has nothing to do with genitalia, but rather the drivetrain of the model.
The P85D is the essentially a higher-performance, all-wheel version of the Model S sedan, but rather than splitting the power of a single engine between four wheels like most AWD systems, the new Tesla model gives the greedy front axle its own personal motor. When working in tandem, the pair of electric motors are able to give the P85D a set of capabilities that are far superior to those generated by the single-motor Model S.
Musk has stated that one of the goals of the D was to try and match the acceleration of the McLaren F1, but with a zero to sixty time of an astonishing 3.2-seconds, the dual-motor sedan not only meets the iconic super car’s acceleration—it exceeds it.
Throughout the duration of the D unveil, the Tesla CEO continuously searches for words to describe the P85D and while “nuts” and “bananas” seem to be a bit elementary, it really is difficult to put the P85D into words. Musk is more on track when he compares the new offering to having a personal roller coaster. It may seem like a bit of a stretch, but considering the pair of motors are able to pound out a remarkable, and sure to be battery-draining output of 691 horsepower and 687 lb-ft of torque, the metaphor isn’t far off.
Like many electric cars on the market, the D variation of the P85 will allow drivers to alter performance to better match the driving experience that they seek, but seeing as the power output of the electric car is far beyond what would be considered “Sport,” Tesla has decided to add a more unconventional, yet precisely realistic new mode that has been simply dubbed “Insane.”
Although the addition of a second motor was the big news at last night’s unveil, the mysterious “something else” that Musk promised is also stimulating to say the least. If the announcement of 700 horsepower wasn’t enough to whet your desire for the P85D, you’ll be sure to get roped in by the fact that the dual-motor sedan will be wired with a top-of-the-line autopilot system.
With the addition of a forward-looking radar, a camera with image recognition capability to scan speed limit signs and traffic lights, 360-degree ultrasonic sonar and a system that incorporates navigation, GPS and real-time traffic reports, the P85D can do just about everything without any input from the driver. The system is not technically fully autonomous, but it’s about as close as you can get. Plus, according to Musk, the addition of the technology will allow the car to pull some Knight Rider-style badassery.
Word is that the P85D will have the ability to be summoned. It can’t pick you in front of a restaurant or anything like that, but Musk has said that it will be able to pull itself out of the garage and meet you out front when it’s called upon. Um, yes please.
The summoning feature itself is worth the $120,000 price tag. The autopilot technology sounds great and it probably looks even better on the insanely-oversized 17-inch dash display, but in all honesty, you can get adaptive cruise control and a lane keeping system in a high percentage of new 2015 models on the market. You cannot, on the other hand, tell your Honda Accord to warm itself up and get its ass outside on those unbearably cold mornings. Call it nuts. Call it bananas. Call it whatever you want.
All I know is that I want the D.
If you missed the official unveiling of the D, you can get all that you need to know in less than 15 minutes by watching the official video from Tesla below. While watching, be sure to listen closely for the guy with the balls of steel at 23 seconds yell out “SHOW US YOUR D!” Also notice that Elon actually takes a second to acknowledge the heckler while transitioning into the Velcro pants bit.