This article was published more than 5 years ago. Some information in it may no longer be current.
It was obvious that an invitation to test-drive the new Tesla Model S, an electric car that can go from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds, was not for the faint of heart.
Especially when the controls of the Tesla Model S P85D feature something actually called "Insane Mode." (One step below Rob Ford Mode, I presume.)
But it wasn't my heart I was concerned about.
The cause of my concern was my stomach, which tends to go all Taliban whenever facing speed, rapid changes in direction or anything written by Dan Brown. In this case, though, only the first two were pertinent as the test drive featured both ridiculous acceleration and rapid changes in direction.
During an earlier test drive to illustrate the importance of proper tires on a gas-powered car, I came within a swerve or two of redecorating the dashboard. That time, I was asked if I wanted to cut short the test after one of the PR people noticed that my face matched the car's green exterior.
The Tesla people really didn't know the potential disaster they were courting.
Won't somebody think of the upholstery?
You will probably read a lot of endorsements of the Model S over the next few weeks. They'll extoll its looks, its economy, its handling, its raw power and all the high-tech gadgets that make it basically a super-charged computer on wheels.
But none will be able to match this: It takes off like a rocket and can negotiate an Olympic slalom course at speed, leaving the poster boy for Motion Sickness Awareness untouched. Admission: there was some mild queasiness as driver Matt Schulwitz roared around the cones with me in the passenger seat, but no more than I usually experience while, say, riding a fast elevator or watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
There were plenty of other sensations, though. When Schulwitz launched into Insane Mode on a closed track at Exhibition Place last week, I got a good idea of what astronauts go through on launch. I also now understand why they put personal plumbing systems in spacesuits.
There was only the feeling of excitement when I took the wheel and floored it on an icy track, roaring to 100 km/h seemingly in the blink of an eye. Admission: I bailed out and hit the brakes a tad early – not out of fear of losing control, but fear of headlines that read, "Idiot writer wrecks car that requires mortgage."
Then came the slalom course, which I handled fearlessly, noting that "fearlessly" for me means "not as fearful as usual."
After that came the real test: a snowfield that no car would attempt to cross. But it dashed through the snow like a one-horse sleigh, due in part to its patented dual-motor all-wheel drive – which, after much studying of the specs, I have concluded involves two actual engines.
A suspension that raises itself when such obstacles appear didn't hurt, making me realize that this car could probably beat me in a game of Scrabble.
Overall, even ignoring the luxurious interior and dashboard screen only slightly smaller than a Jumbotron, I was impressed. Any car that doesn't require a Gravol before turning on the ignition is a winner in my books.
Telsa took a number of other people for spin and here are some of their reactions to the acceleration.
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