I Drove The Tesla Model S And The New Model D On The Same Day -- See How They Stacked Up

Last week, I was invited to visit the brand new Tesla store in Paramus, New Jersey, to test out the company’s latest set of much-anticipated, futuristic wheels: the supercar-fast, all-wheel-drive Model D sedan. 

As it turns out, Tesla kindly provided me with a Model S to use to drive out to Paramus. It was a Teslapaolooza! Let me tell you all about it.

The drive began on a formerly desolate stretch of far-West Chelsea in Manhattan.

The Tesla store is right at home amid the art galleries that have been established here in the past decade.

Not a Model D. Rather, a Model S with a roof rack. Teslas are so versatile!


A giant schematic of the Model D, showing its front and rear electric motors.

And look! A Model D chassis!

Tesla enables you to imagine a customised version of the car you'll ultimately buy.

The coffee bar.

Giant robots building Teslas!

The Model S fob is the the shape of ... a Model S!

The interior of the Model S is both minimalist and high tech. All displays are digital.

This is the now-famous center console touchscreen. It controls everything in the car, from the A/C and heat to the infotainment to the navigation system and the external cameras. Takes a few minutes to get used to, but otherwise, it's a breeze.

You can easily look yourself up on the web browser.

This tray is for all your stuff. It's quite roomy.

There's a woeful lack of cupholders, however, and they're badly positioned. My one gripe about the car -- but it's being addressed soon, as Tesla intends to tweak the interior.

Off I go.

The Model S performed like a dream. With the seat heaters on and a bit of '80s New Wave thumping from the sound system, I negotiated the Lincoln Tunnel and zipped over to Paramus on the Jersey roadways. The Model S was quiet and smooth. Acceleration was amazing. Handling was sweet. The car is really, really great. Fast, fast, fast -- but with room for five.

Arrival at the Tesla store -- they call them 'stores' to avoid any suspicion that you might be getting ready to deal with ... a dealership. With only about 20% of the battery charge left, I decided to juice up using a Tesla Supercharger.

The charge port is at the left rear of the car. You pop it open by using the massive touchscreen controls inside.

Plug in ...

... and charge away!

In the store, which is quite large, there's a whole wall of Tesla merchandise. So you can fully live the Tesla Life.

These T-shirts are nifty.

But this overnight bag is just gorgeous. It would look very good in a Model D headed someplace cool for a weekend.

Customers can hang out here in the expansive lounge. The store wasn't quite finished yet -- a few guys were installing something in the ceiling.

Behold -- the Model D.

This is the P85D, by the way -- the fastest sedan ever created by human hands on planet Earth.

Actually, the 'D' designation is added to the existing Tesla naming structure -- it means 'dual' because the all-wheel-drive car has two motors, one for the rear and one for the front wheels.

So technically the D is just a version of the existing Model S. But that's confusing, so for now I'll keep referring to the all-while-drive Model S as the Model D.

All the people who used to own the Model S now want D's. So they're trading them in, as part of Tesla's impending certified pre-owned program.

If you want a Model S, you should be able to pick one up for a nice price in 2015.

Sweet lord, this car is fast! So fast that you have to watch yourself (especially if you put it in 'Insane' driving mode). You can hit 100 mph in the time it takes to say '[email protected]#$% this thing is fast as [email protected]#$!!!!'

The AWD is a big improvement over the Model S, in the sense that it gives the car an amazingly stuck-to-the-road feel. It would be a blast to drive the P85D in some bad weather.

The familiar point-and-shoot Tesla steering is also present. The quiet, powerful motors serve up speed galore, so you can focus on driving -- and drive as aggressively as the law will allow.

The P85D, however, is so frisky that you could take it out on a race track and really let it loose.

Obviously, this isn't a photo of the Model D I drove, nor is it New Jersey -- I was too busy driving to take pictures! The D would also be wasted on pristine conditions. It would prefer ...

... this.

As such, it's in a league with dazzling high-performance AWD cars like the Ferrari FF.

I returned the D and slipped back into the S (since fully charged) for the trip back to Manhattan. The smile on my face could not be erased. What a car! Elon Musk and Tesla have truly delivered.

I've driven a lot more than two hot, hot cars in one day ...

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