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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
The new chapter in the highly successful story of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) and wagon (F11)

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  #1  
Old 12-15-2012, 07:21 PM
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Stealth.Pilot Stealth.Pilot is offline
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Tesla Model S - My first experience with a fully electric car

I test drove a Tesla Model S today. I've driven hybrids before, but this was my first drive in a full electric car.

I came away extremely impressed. The car struck me as the greatest automotive innovation since the Model T. It is special on so many dimensions that it feels very different to everything else in the luxury car market. In fact, it makes me wonder whether Toyota and BMW have been asleep at the wheel, that a startup was first to market with a product like this.

These are the things that impressed me:

1) Drive's really well. The driving sensation is very unique. It has some of the characteristic of a hybrid with the instant throttle response, but it feels completely different because you have that response at any speed, and it is all electric so it is very linear. It is hard to describe what makes the driving experience - adjectives like good handling, low cog, instant throttle response, only touch the iceberg. However you articulate it, the combination of these qualities is extremely unique. In fact I liked it so much, I think cars like the F10 535i and 550i, Lexus GS350, Audi A6, E550 are all rendered obsolete by the Tesla Model S. Unless you do drives above 300 miles in one go, this is a better product.

2) I love the motor. I drive an M5 so I'm good at handling large amounts of torque. But I nearly lost control of the car going full throttle while exciting a curved on-ramp. The response is very striking. The M5 is definitely faster, the rate of acceleration in the Model S felt more like my Dinan 550i, however the instant electric response is very gratifying and much more exciting than what you would see in a 550i Dinan Stage 2.

3) BTW this was the car weith the large battery and 300 mile range. Now in a V8 300 miles will cost you about $70 in petrol. In this car it is $10 for a full charge. That is a massive efficiency!

4) The integration of tech into the car is the best I have ever seen. The massive touch screen is really bright - much brighter than what we have. I was amazed how intuitive it was to control eveyrthing through a computer. But what is most impressive is how they use this to add features all the time. The Motortrend review called out the lack of memory seats. Now the car has them via software update. It can store 12 driver profiles. The sales guy told me that a customer once said it would be a good idea to have the sunroof open using the options on the steering thumbwheel. he sent it in. Obviously others must have suggested it too, and a month later it was rolled out via software update. That impresses me because it tells me that you are getting a product which embeds continuous improvement.

5) There are some key omissions - HUD, parking sensors, top-view cameras, center console were the first things to come to mind. They are going to add a center console as an option.

6) Some nice touches too - I love the giant sunroof, I love the 7 passenger seating which I thought was quite creative. The giant wheels are really nice. I hate the cheapo Mercedes switchgear.

7) Very interesting retail experience. The store was factory owned. The guy was extremely knowledgeable but also very customer centric. He honed in on what I was interested in. No attempt to make a sale, I asked him if I could order one after the drive. All electronic order taking - very quick. Also the car can be delivered to any Tesla dealership in the country for no additional charge - obviously not an issue since they are mostly corporate owned. Their service centers are separate from their retail locations - but the one they have down here is top notch.

I put down 2 deposits - one for the Model S and one for the Model X. I don't think I will keep both cars, but I am planning to replace our Lexus GS460 with a Model S. And if resale remains as strong as it is now (used ones have been selling around $140k), I may flip the Model S after 6-9 months when our Model X arrives. It pays to be on the waitlist. BTW My production number for the Model S is 16,XXX and for the Model X it is 2,0XX. These cars are clearly flying off the production line.














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Old 12-15-2012, 07:35 PM
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LOL. You too!? I take delivery of my Model S Signature Performance in March. Whether I keep the M5 is still up in the air.
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:37 PM
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I've been looking at this car for several months now. I would love to test drive one. Your review just confirmed my need to get into this car for a test drive and possibly put 1 on order
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:38 PM
extremeromance extremeromance is offline
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What kind of pricing did you get? Was there any negotiation?
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  #5  
Old 12-15-2012, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeromance View Post
What kind of pricing did you get? Was there any negotiation?
No. There is a 9 month waitlist. There is no negotiation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wdimagineer
LOL. You too!? I take delivery of my Model S Signature Performance in March. Whether I keep the M5 is still up in the air.
What can I say - you and I have very similar tastes when it comes to cars! I was inspired by your post where you said everyone should experience one.

But it won't be replacing my M5, it will be replacing my Lexus GS460. We were looking at the 535iGT and the A7 as possible replacements, but the Tesla trumps both. The M5 handles, performs, and delivers an experience on a completely other level. I don't think there is anything that substitutes an M5 out right now, but I'm sure in 5 years electric cars will compete in the supercar segment.
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:57 PM
wildvlad wildvlad is offline
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I wanted to get one. The only problem for me was that there is no lease on it.

And another concern was that charge times from standard chargers are just enormous. Like 16+ hours. So, you really need to get your route along their fast charge stations (where "fast" means half of full charge in 1 hour - compare it with typical ~5minutes to fill full tank of gas).
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:03 PM
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I wanted to get one. The only problem for me was that there is no lease on it.

And another concern was that charge times from standard chargers are just enormous. Like 16+ hours. So, you really need to get your route along their fast charge stations (where "fast" means half of full charge in 1 hour - compare it with typical ~5minutes to fill full tank of gas).
I think of it as a car you can only refuel at home. It has a range comparable with most V8s and unless you are going on an out of town road trip, you don't need to fill up more than once a day with your V8. My V8s typically use a tank every 2 weeks. So it fits our usage pattern well.

If I have a round trip that is more than 300 miles, I would just take another car.

However they did tell me that Tesla are setting up free charging stations at rest areas, and these will provide an 80% charge in 40 minutes.
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:30 PM
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I would lease this car in a heartbeat, and I haven't even driven it. It looks amazing. I can't just bring myself to consider buying it knowing that the resale might be zero because of the battery pack issue.
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:38 PM
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I would lease this car in a heartbeat, and I haven't even driven it. It looks amazing. I can't just bring myself to consider buying it knowing that the resale might be zero because of the battery pack issue.
It has a four year 50,000 mile warranty, and you can extend that to 8 years and 100,000 miles for $2500.

These concerns to me are analogous to concerns about BMW turbo engines failing. It's a risk for long term resale, but not short term.
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:28 PM
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Describe the electric steering and suspension systems?

How much to wire the house in order charge the Tesla?
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:03 PM
wildvlad wildvlad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth.Pilot View Post
If I have a round trip that is more than 300 miles, I would just take another car.

However they did tell me that Tesla are setting up free charging stations at rest areas, and these will provide an 80% charge in 40 minutes.
And that's a problem. You can have V8 as the only one car, while you cannot have Tesla as only one car.

Suercharging: http://www.teslamotors.com/supercharger - they say "half charge in half an hour". Sounds fishy. Knowing that company is Californian - they are well aware of all marketing catches and ways to put fine print. It makes me really think that there is one of 2 (or more) possible catches:

1. They just don't let you get full charge (and half of charge is just 150 miles, so you need to stop for half an hour after just 2 hours of driving).

OR

2. It takes significantly more than 1 hour to get full charge.

Basically, for me to get from SF to LA I would need to stop:
1. Gilroy
2. Harris Ranch
3. Tejon Ranch.

AND most importantly to get some way to charge in LA, which is very not trivial as most of "regular" charging stations would charge Tesla in like "3.5 years", where as I said you can fill your V8 literally on every corner in 5 minutes.

But yes, if you have 2 cars - Tesla is great "commuter car".
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:03 AM
yogi799 yogi799 is offline
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Wow... cool ride. Seen it once on-line, then forgot about it and now seeing it again - I'm thinking... why is there so little talk about this car?? (the oil industry doing its best to make sure the word does not get out?) It seems rather affordable for such a rocket and fully electric.

But as with all things that just sound too good to be true, the savings in gas are immediately wiped out by the 8-yr cycle of replacing the batteries ($10k). So that argument does not hold any water. No savings, period.

BUT, it must be one heck of a cool driving experience. I'd definitely consider it as it looks nice and sounds like a really fast, well made machine - but it'd have to have an armrest for me LOL (I know you said it's coming).

And it'd be a commuter only. No way people are going to stop at rest areas for such a long charge. Not to mention if these things ever got popular, what about waiting for another dude to finish his charge? Forget it. It's for charging at home only. All other options are pure spin.

So considering those few things... hmm... maybe there's a reason why there's so little talk. And people who can afford one are - once agian - most liekly the ones least interested in gas savings. Heck, people buying $40k rides often tell me cost of the gas is irrelevant to them (one dude with a Pontiac G8 6l V8 which generates only a bit more power than our twice smaller 535i, for example).
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:49 AM
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I told you.

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Old 12-16-2012, 05:35 AM
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Tesla clearly has a great product with the Model S. I had followed the car's development through their location in Houston. I have several concerns, however. First is warranty work. They have not explained to me how warranty work such as repairs to computer parts or trim materials for example will be handled. Second, and perhaps most important, is the financial stability of Tesla. They lost $154M in 2010 and $254M in 2011. Granted, the Model S wasn't for sale in 2011 but I will be interested to see the 2012 financials. I'm not sure about spending $70+k on a car with a company that can easily go bankrupt. That said, I think they have the best and most innovative product on the market. If their quality is up to standard, they will give BMW and Mercedes strong competition in the luxury sport sedan market.
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:54 AM
jjsC6 jjsC6 is offline
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It's a car for someone very wealthy who can afford another nice car if they want to actually go somewhere in the car. No way can I justify paying BMW 550 price for a car that is effectively a commuter car. Who knows the future of Tesla. If it weren't for government subsidies the company would not exist. To me, paying the cost of entry for this car would be no different than investing the same amount of money in a start up company. Be prepared to take a huge loss on your investment. If Tesla goes under you'll have a very nice museum price. This is not to rain on anyone's parade who buys one. The people who buy it likely understand and can afford the risks involved.

BTW, they will not give anyone a run for their money anytime soon. Its one thing to sell a very limited number of novelty cars - no matter how good they are. But the market as it is today is extremely limited for the car. I get that there are long term issues that can change the landscape for this type of car, but not quickly. We also don't know the downsides if/when electric cars sell in the millions a year.
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth.Pilot View Post
It has a four year 50,000 mile warranty, and you can extend that to 8 years and 100,000 miles for $2500.

These concerns to me are analogous to concerns about BMW turbo engines failing. It's a risk for long term resale, but not short term.

I tend to buy and keep my cars for 4-6 years, so there you go.
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:36 AM
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Leslierc Leslierc is offline
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Originally Posted by jjsC6 View Post
It's a car for someone very wealthy who can afford another nice car if they want to actually go somewhere in the car. No way can I justify paying BMW 550 price for a car that is effectively a commuter car. Who knows the future of Tesla. If it weren't for government subsidies the company would not exist. To me, paying the cost of entry for this car would be no different than investing the same amount of money in a start up company. Be prepared to take a huge loss on your investment. If Tesla goes under you'll have a very nice museum price. This is not to rain on anyone's parade who buys one. The people who buy it likely understand and can afford the risks involved.

BTW, they will not give anyone a run for their money anytime soon. Its one thing to sell a very limited number of novelty cars - no matter how good they are. But the market as it is today is extremely limited for the car. I get that there are long term issues that can change the landscape for this type of car, but not quickly. We also don't know the downsides if/when electric cars sell in the millions a year.
I remember when the same things you're saying about Tesla were being said about Apple, and we know the rest of the story there. I've always pulled for the underdog, so I see a success story in the making with Tesla. As for Tesla buyers, I think they are savvy car enthusiasts rather than wealthy toy-buyers. Anyway, I'm going to be purchasing some Tesla stock!
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by jjsC6 View Post
It's a car for someone very wealthy who can afford another nice car if they want to actually go somewhere in the car. No way can I justify paying BMW 550 price for a car that is effectively a commuter car. Who knows the future of Tesla. If it weren't for government subsidies the company would not exist. To me, paying the cost of entry for this car would be no different than investing the same amount of money in a start up company. Be prepared to take a huge loss on your investment. If Tesla goes under you'll have a very nice museum price. This is not to rain on anyone's parade who buys one. The people who buy it likely understand and can afford the risks involved.

BTW, they will not give anyone a run for their money anytime soon. Its one thing to sell a very limited number of novelty cars - no matter how good they are. But the market as it is today is extremely limited for the car. I get that there are long term issues that can change the landscape for this type of car, but not quickly. We also don't know the downsides if/when electric cars sell in the millions a year.
I think this commuter car argument is nonsensical. I drive more than 300 miles in a day maybe once a year. And when I used to drive a 330i Cabrio and an M3, I never drove those cars for more than 300 miles in a day over a 9 year span. The furthest those cars went was West Palm Beach (90 miles away).

A lot of people prefer to fly if they are going longer distances.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:32 AM
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I'm going to try to hit a number of the comments here, so please forgive me if it seems I'm rambling.

Tesla is a small startup company that just won Motor Trends car of the year award. As much as the larger car companies would love to keep them out of the press, they are getting lots of publicity. As a small, innovative company, they are relying on wealthy first-adopters and government loan programs to fund the technology necessary to bring these types of vehicles to the mainstream masses. I believe their plan is a $30k car in 2016.

The batteries are just like the ones in your cell phone or laptop, except with a huge system for maintaining temperature and charging integrity. As with all lithium-ion batteries, you can charge them up to half power in just a few minutes. A full charge takes much longer. The last 10% usually takes as long as the first 90%. I believe they claim a 4 hour total charge time with a 50amp 240volt charger.

Charging stations are showing up outside restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping centers, as well as office buildings. If you're making a 600 mile long journey, won't you stop to eat somewhere along the way?

And is everyone here single? As a married man, I'm half of a two-car family. If an electric car won't work for the trip, we can take the wife's car.

Personally, I really want a Model S. I've wanted one for a while. Even before they went on sale. But I didn't put my money down in time to take delivery before my old car needed to be replaced, so I picked up a used 760Li. You can probably tell, since I opted for a V12, that the economy of an electric car is not the driving factor for me. I do plan to sell it and get a Tesla in the next 18 to 24 months. I will probably miss some of the 760's features, but the Tesla is just a cool car for so many reasons. I mean, it's practically an M5 that costs less than $10 to fill up. While the batteries are imported, the technology to make everything work and the whole rest of the car is fabricated in the USA. I could keep going, but lets just say there are a multitude of reasons why a Tesla will be my next car.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:34 AM
jjsC6 jjsC6 is offline
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Originally Posted by Leslierc View Post
I remember when the same things you're saying about Tesla were being said about Apple, and we know the rest of the story there. I've always pulled for the underdog, so I see a success story in the making with Tesla. As for Tesla buyers, I think they are savvy car enthusiasts rather than wealthy toy-buyers. Anyway, I'm going to be purchasing some Tesla stock!
You took my statement out of context. I never said they were not car enthusiasts. And please understand I'm not trying to make disparaging remarks about people who buy them. If I were wealthy enough I'd probably buy one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth.Pilot View Post
I think this commuter car argument is nonsensical. I drive more than 300 miles in a day maybe once a year. And when I used to drive a 330i Cabrio and an M3, I never drove those cars for more than 300 miles in a day over a 9 year span. The furthest those cars went was West Palm Beach (90 miles away).

A lot of people prefer to fly if they are going longer distances.
If it suits your driving needs then that's fine. But what you are describing is exactly what I said - commuting. Besides, you don't have to drive more than 300 miles a day for it to be a problem (btw, real world range is not 300 miles on the current versions). If you drive somewhere that you spend the night away from home you are faced with finding a place to plug it in overnight. I take business trips from Houston to Dallas, New Orleans, Baton Rouge etc.

Again, I'm not trying to be overly critical, just pointing out the shortcomings which are very real and the fact that for me a $70,000 car cannot have the limitations or the risks that buying that car would entail.
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:02 AM
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People always miss reality when it comes to electric cars. Any perceived fuel savings is offset by the price premium of the car and the replacement of battery packs after 5-10 years at a cost of $30k or more according to Tesla. What will that due for resale on a 5 year old tesla that may need $30k in batteries?

Are they cool? Yes
Do they save you money? Absolutely not.

Also the Tesla gets "up to" 300 miles on a charge when new. Expect 150 miles or less after a couple years. So be sure to read the warranty carefully.

Tesla was considering separating the car and battery warranty. You know what that means.
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:19 AM
yogi799 yogi799 is offline
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.... Or with an aggressive driving style. Which is why one would buy a 5s 0-60 ride to begin with.
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:36 AM
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Electric powered burnouts....like a petrol muscle car!!!

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Old 12-16-2012, 08:56 AM
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Multiple automotive mags have reported 300 plus mile range with a heavy right foot.

This would work for me around Houston. I would never drive it out of it's range. When I lived in VA and made trips up to PA and NY, I might have some range anxiety as those trips were just under 300 miles each, and we used to take either one of our cars. But for the way we live now, it could easily fit into our lifestyle.

Again, if I could lease for 3 years, I'd be on the waiting list and the 535 would be at CarMax.
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:09 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
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Mein Auto: '13 X5M, 650xi
Quote:
Originally Posted by Needsdecaf View Post
Multiple automotive mags have reported 300 plus mile range with a heavy right foot.

This would work for me around Houston. I would never drive it out of it's range. When I lived in VA and made trips up to PA and NY, I might have some range anxiety as those trips were just under 300 miles each, and we used to take either one of our cars. But for the way we live now, it could easily fit into our lifestyle.

Again, if I could lease for 3 years, I'd be on the waiting list and the 535 would be at CarMax.
MotorTrend tested the Model S with some interesting results with respect to performance, range, comfort, and comparative costs.: 2012 Tesla Model S Test and Range Verification

I think this car would be a great car for its intended audience. The exterior has me a bit ambivalent though, in my eyes it looks like a cross between a Maserati Quattroporte and a Kia Optima. Anyway, it's not for me since I drive more than 250 miles probably 2-3 times per month.
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2013 X5M ........ 2013 650xi ...... 2011 550xi (ret) 2011 335d (ret)

Last edited by dunderhi; 12-16-2012 at 09:11 AM.
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