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I was going to comment on Michael Barnard's answer, but I think offering an answer that rebuts his points is probably better. So here we go. First, I appreciate Mike's love for the Model S, but his answer - like a lot of popular praise for Tesla's product line - is very selective in the way that comparisons are made. Second, let's talk about how much people actually spend when they buy a new Model S. CNBC reported that the average transaction price for a new Model S was $93k, and this was reported before the debut of the "D", which likely increased that figure (see Tesla cars are worth more used than new , the transaction price stat is buried in the middle of the article). Let's just say for sake of argument that we're talking about a $100k luxury vehicle. Three, let's also assume that a person is open to a wide range of vehicles when they have $100k to spend (which is true in my experience). Now, let's go thru Mike's list: 1. Passenger capacity - Someone with $100k to spend and passenger capacity on the brain doesn't buy a sedan - they buy an Escalade, a Yukon Denali, Navigator, etc. Sedan buyers aren't usually interested in people hauling, so I'm not sure that the two rumble seats in the Model S are a huge "get." I'd say that's a minor feature, in fact, and I'd love to see the take rate on this option (i'd guess it's miniscule). Anyone who knows, please comment. 2. A P85D+ is a monster in the acceleration department. It's easily the quickest sedan available. Of course, it's also $125k. If I'm concerned about acceleration, I have lots of options at $125k, all of which are better racing vehicles. A Z06 Vette, for example, costs about $90k, leaving me enough money to buy a truck and a trailer to haul it from race to race. Or lots of money for brakes and tires. But yes, if I need a sedan and want incredible performance, the P85D+ is the winner. This is the best argument for buying a Tesla Model S in my opinion...provided you've got $125k lying around. 3. A low center of gravity does not always make for a great handling car. Most people talk about "lateral g" and feel when assessing a vehicle's handling ability. But the real metric used to determine a car's handling ability is to compare it's lap time to similarly powerful vehicles. The world standard race course is called "Nurburgring", and unfortunately the Model S can't complete a lap at this track without overheating. If the vehicle was capable of doing a lap at full speed, we'd have a lap time, and then we could compare it to other sedans. But right now we don't have the key data point we need to really evaluate the car's handling using the world standard. Considering the 4600lbs curb weight of the Model S, I'd say handling isn't really a strength of the vehicle. Not to mention, you can't actually race it without going into limp mode. 4, 5, and 6 are all correct, and all sort of the same point: The Model S doesn't burn hydrocarbons (at least directly) for fuel. That's a pretty huge benefit. 7. If a person with $100k to spend is worried about cargo capacity, they don't buy a sedan. But yes, if someone buys a Model S, they can jam a little more crap in it. I'd say this is a nice benefit, but not a game changer for people buying this type of vehicle. 8. Safety is universally excellent at the $100k price point. The Tesla's rating is great, but it's not a substantial difference. You probably won't die in a car that costs $100k unless you're really unlucky or really driving hard. I doubt that luxury car buyers choose the Model S because it's slightly better in some test than some other car...they're all very safe. 9. Price is where Mike's answer starts to collapse. I can purchase a diesel A8 - which is more luxurious and has nearly 900 miles of driving range - for $10k less than the average Model S transaction price. I can also buy a dozen sporty sedans with more luxury features for tens of thousands of dollars less than the typical Model S. The Model S isn't "cheap" per se, and it certainly doesn't have to be. It offers a lot of great technology, and frankly I'd be worried if it was actually less costly than a similarly sized (and similarly equipped) sedan. But since the Model S isn't really luxurious (see below), it's not fair to compare it straight across to an S-Class, A8 Sedan, etc. 10. Mike's statements on range are very misleading. First, the maximum range of a Model S with an 85kWh battery pack is 265 miles according to the EPA, and Tesla doesn't recommend charging your battery pack more than 80%. So the "real world" max range of a Model S is actually closer to 200 miles, and if it's a particularly hot or cold day, or if you're driving it hard, that number falls to 150 miles. Second, a diesel A8 has nearly 900 miles of range (max). Most gas-powered vehicles have a maximum range of 400 miles. Frankly, this is a HUGE difference, and it goes a long way towards explaining why consumers are still buying A8s, S-Class M-B, BMW 7-series, etc. every day. The Model S can't go more than 200 miles without a charge, at least if you follow Tesla's battery recommendations...and that's if everything goes perfectly. Finally, some other factors Mike forgot: 11. Luxury features. The Model S isn't nearly as luxurious as similarly priced cars from Audi, M-B, or BMW. I'd argue that the Model S isn't even as luxurious as a Platinum F-150. But don't take my word for it - from Car & Driver's 2015 Tesla Model S P85D - First Drive Review : Luxurious isn’t how we’d describe the Model S’s interior. Austere and simple is more like it. Aside from the massive touch screen in the middle of the instrument panel, and the attractive gauge display, there’s not much wretched excess here The Model S is a luxury car compared to a Toyota Corolla - or even a Toyota Avalon - but it's not a freaking S-class. Sit inside both if you don't believe me. The difference is stark. 12. Reliability/durability. There are some big concerns about Tesla's ability to build reliable and durable vehicles. From problematic drive units to dead battery packs to all sorts of little issues with units tested by Edmunds.com (see 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Wrap-Up ) and Consumer Reports (Consumer Reports' Tesla Model S Has More than Its Share of Problems) , reliability is a big question mark. Say what you will about the gas-guzzling S-Class, or BMW 7-Series, or Audi A8, but they have a much better record for reliability than the Model S...and the Lexus LS puts them all to shame. 13. Resale value. Currently, demand for the Model S is strong enough to support very high resale value for the Model S. The car is clearly winning the resale value comparison as of today. However, please note that electric car resale value is a moving target. The Leaf was enjoying high resale value, for example, but the recent drop in gas prices - combined with slowing demand for the vehicle - has caused resale values for the Leaf (and the Volt) to plummet: Resale Prices Tumble on Electric Cars Could this happen to the Model S? I guess we'll wait and see. But resale values for Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi are pretty consistent year in and year out. I'd hesitate to say that about the Model S. 14. Convenience. Here's the comparison that makes or breaks the Model S. If you own your own home, can afford to have a charger installed in your garage, don't have a commute that strains your battery pack, and have a gasoline vehicle you can use for long trips, the Model S is incredibly convenient. If you can't add a charger to your garage, or you don't have a garage, or regularly bump up against the practical driving range of a Model S, or don't have a "spare" gas-powered car lying around (as many Model S owners do)...the car isn't nearly as attractive as something like the diesel A8 sedan I mentioned before. Before all you Musk-rats attack me, please understand my point: The Tesla Model S is a great car, but it is not "clearly" better than gas cars. It might be better for you, but it's not better for everyone. Not everyone can afford the damn thing, and even people who can might choose another vehicle (and often do). The question asked is vague, but I don't think the person asking was wondering if electric cars were better than gasoline cars if you have $100k to spend and don't mind dealing with limited driving range. If you look at the bigger picture, the answer to the question is: Who knows. It all depends on how battery technology evolves in terms of increasing energy density and decreasing costs. It could be 5 years, could be 10 years, and could be never.
I’ll preface by mentioning that I’ve driven nearly 2 million kilometers in a variety of American, Japanese, British, French, German and Swedish cars. My father was a mechanic. My brother was service manager for both Toyota and VW dealerships. I’ve had VW cars and vans and still own the last VW truck sold in North America (bought new in Oct. ‘92), we’ve had 2 A6 wagons, 1 A6 twin-turbo sedan with 6-speed manual, I’m driving an A4 Quattro Avant now, and I’ve also owned Mercedes S-Class, and I have a ’93 300SEC Cabrio (the last year that they were hand-built by Karmann, with global production less than 1,000 units). If you are talking about Audis built in the last 20 years, the answer is YES they are reliable — provided that you perform the maintenance needed. If you have a turbo engine, such as the 1.8t or 2.0t (or TDI) then you must spend the $$$ for the approved oil. If you think you are saving $$$ by using normal oil, you will find that the oil is cooked as it goes through the glowing-hot turbo and turns into goo, and you will discover VW/Audi’s infamous “sludge problem”. The sludge problem is not a vehicle problem. It is an owner problem. Putting in cheap oil will not save money. Our 1998 A6 wagon (that was the old style, the sedans changed in ‘98, but wagons weren’t updated till ‘99) was purchased with > 200,000 MILES on it. My 2000 A6 2.7t had 170,000 miles on it. My wife’s second A6 wagon, a 2001, came from Utah with 168,000 miles on it. And the 2006 A4 was bought in Vancouver BC with 117,000 kms (due for a timing belt) and rattling like a diesel because it had no oil-pressure due to sludge, because the idiot dealer that bought it at the auction did a quick $29 oil-change on it. (the 2.0t takes oil that is normally CAD$17/litre but it comes on sale at Canadian Tire a few times a year for half that price). The cars are supremely reliable and parts are dirt-cheap online. But they CAN be expensive to fix if something breaks, and they are heavy so things will wear faster than a Japanese tin-can, so I’ll provide some advice for those looking at buying a European car in general, and Audi specifically: SERVICE: Take the car to the dealer while it is under warranty. But once the warranty is over, stay away from the dealer. They are too expensive. Find “the local guy” for your make of car (there’s at least one, in nearly every place) where people lineup to get their car serviced. THIS APPLIES TO EVERY BRAND OF CAR! (not including exotics) AVOID: the 1990s to mid 2000s V6 engines due to the high cost of timing belt replacements. Avoid the V8 due to the high cost of everything!! The 4-cyl. turbo engines, and the later V6 with the timing chain are your preferred engine. (and any version of the TDI diesel is great too, but I’m in Canada, where those are rare). GET THE QUATTRO! That means that you get a “Real transmission” too. There are Front-wheel-drive A4 models with a CVT transmission. Most have no problem, but some fail, and they aren’t something you can fix in your back yard and will be expensive. Personally, I would avoid the CVT. (I’d go for a manual, but my wife wants an A/T even though she’s owned 5-speed cars too). Plus, you’ll get more $$$ at re-sale if the car has AWD. At least anywhere that gets snow, or has dirt roads. IF you buy a high-mileage car with Auto trans, go get the tranny fluid changed, just as a preventive maintenance thing. If you’re getting the engine oil changed, then the tranny fluid change is probably well under $100 and its cheap insurance. (I’ve done this with VW, Audi, Ford, Volvo, etc. cars. I’ve never had an A/T fail. I’m not sure it helps, but it makes me feel better knowing that my car’s transmission with 200,000 miles on it has new fluid) CHECK the FRONT SUSPENSION on A4, A6, A8 if over 150,000 miles. These are heavy cars. Like the BMW 5-series, Mercedes E-Class and S-class, the front suspension will wear faster than that of a Civic or Mazda 3 or even Golf, Jetta, A3, Beetle, etc. and the A4 and larger has (had) a “virtual link” front suspension with 4 control arms on each side, each with an inboard bushing and out-board ball-joint (yes, 8 ball-joints in the front, versus a typical American or Japanese car with 2). However, due to their popularity, there are many suppliers offering replacement parts. You don’t change the ball-joint and bushing, you just swap out the entire arm. Miele “10-piece kits” with 8 control arms and 2 tie-rods (the steering linkage) can be found online under US$500. Labour is a couple hours per side. So budget $1000 to replace the front suspension/steering components when you’re getting closer to 200,000 miles (320,000 kms). And that service requires a wheel alignment too. BTW: This is what a 2001 A6 Quattro Avant with 185,000 miles look like after spending $1k to replace the front suspension, plus $700 for an Eibach Sport Suspension kit (springs and shocks) and $520 for 17″ S6 wheels with Falken Ziex tires. My wife’s 2nd A6 in Regina Saskatchewan on our annual cross-Canada (Vancouver to Ontario) road-trip, which we completed in 2 days (cruise control @ 140 kmph across the prairies). Yes, I was stopped by the RCMP, but only once, and the constable spent over 10 minutes asking questions about the car before letting us go without a ticket :) CHECK THE MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE BEFORE BUYING. The used car lots around here have lots of Audis with around 115,000 to 120,000 kms. That’s when they are due for a timing belt ($1,500 for 4-cyl, but $3,500 for older V6), DSG fluid change, differential fluid change, radiator flush, brake-fluid flush …. around CAD$3,500 in service for the 4-cyl turbo engines! The owner sees that quotation from the service department, and says “how much is it worth as a trade-in?”. The cars get traded, and rather than do the expensive maintenance, the dealer sends them to the auction, and they land in a used-car dealership. But THE CAR NEEDING MAINTENANCE COULD BE THE BEST DEAL. If you do one thing: get the dealer to have the timing belt changed at a VW or Audi dealership, and include the receipt for the work (for warranty purposes) before you buy. Example: in 2016 I found a mint 1-owner 2006 (first year of new body, so looks “newer”) A4 2.0t Quattro Avant that’s NOT Silver on Black with all the power-memory-seats, front/rear heated seats, automatic lights and wipers, etc., but 117,000 kms. I got the VIN and checked Audi, and they had no record of the timing belt being changed (VW/Audi are on one database, so I can get a VIN for a car in Florida and check the service records for free at any Audi dealership in Canada for example … they will also print out wiring diagrams and stuff for you for free too, so you don’t need to buy manuals … important if you are importing US cars and need to modify lights to DRL). Similar cars were around $14k at other dealers. This dealer had dropped their asking price down to $12k. I bought the car for $10,500 with taxes IN, and the timing belt replaced by the VW dealer a few blocks away (the Passat and GTI had the same 2.0t engine). If I back out the taxes (12%) and $1,500 timing belt change (with new oil and filter) then the car cost me $7,875 … and now its good for another 117,000 kms. I did have to deal with the sludge. Online, VW owners in the US are spending US$1200 to have the dealer clean out the engine and install a new oil pickup. My German mechanic, Verner, (he was a BMW mechanic in Germany before immigrating to Canada) removed the oil-pan and cleaned everything out, cleaned the original oil pickup, re-installed with sealant to prevent leaks, filled it with the best synthetic oil, plus the optional Audi hi-volume oil filter for under CAD$650 including taxes. That fall, we drove the car to San Francisco, and then down the coast to San Luis Obispo just for a fun road-trip. It now has > 150,000 kms and has only had oil-changes and new tires. SUMMARY: Buying a 5 to 10 year old Audi, I get a car with 100,000 kms on it for 20% of the cost of a new one (an A4 Allroad with options like our A4 is CAD$55,000) including an investment in maintenance. Brakes are cheaper than Japanese cars and last longer. The exhaust systems will last 500,000 miles. You have to replace tires, wipers, and batteries regardless of the car, and the costs are pretty much the same. I would drive from Vancouver to Key West in this car with no hesitation (and I’ve driven that in the past, via Cape Breton Island going south, and via San Diego coming home). And I know that if I get in an accident, my chances of survival are much higher than in a common American or Japanese car. Meanwhile, I get to enjoy a superbly comfortable car with good handling, a good audio system, AWD for those rare days when we have snow, fantastic climate control, the insanely fast window defrosting typical of German (and also Volvo) cars for less than my friends buying a new Altima or Camry or Accord. Oil changes definitely cost more, but that applies to ALL turbo engines, including the new Hondas, etc. YES Audis are reliable. And they last a long time. If you don’t screw up on the maintenance.
In real life, this is how it usually plays out. In order: 1. The rabbit = the driver out front. 2. The vehicle that is most visible. 3. The last one in the pack. 4. The one who is causing issues. 1. In pretty much every attempt in breaking the record for traveling across the US in the least amount of time, they will incorporate spotters who will be ahead of the main car to spot speed traps while keeping contact with the main car. They will keep at least a couple of miles ahead, relaying information back. If they spot a speed trap or come across LEO and can't shake them, they will be asked for a sacrifice - to speed past the trap, get a ticket so that they main car can continue when they are tied up writing up the rabbit. As someone who doesn't participate in such events, I will try to keep a rabbit ahead of me about 1/2 mile out. If I see his brake lights, I will slow down. Usually I end up being the rabbit... 2. There is a reason that all of the people who have set the record crossing the US in the past decade have done so in boring looking cars. In 2006, Alex Roy set the record in a blue BMW M5. A four door vehicle that doesn't look all that impressive to the average person on the road with a time of 31 hours, 4 minutes. In 2013, that record was broken by hours in a 9 year old CL55 AMG 4 door driven by Bolian, Black and Huang with a time of 28 hours and 50 minutes. It was a weird blue color that was half way between blue and gray and looked boring and didn't stand out. That record was broken again in 2019 in a four door E63 AMG driven by Tabutt and Toman with a time of 27 hours and 25 hours. And then the covid runs happened. First announced record was done in a white Audi A8 4 door in 26 hours, 38 minutes. There was an amazing run by a solo driver in a rented silver Mustang in 25 hours and 55 minutes followed by another run by Tabutt and Toman but this time in a Audi S6 that was taped up to look like a Ford Taurus with a time of 25 hours and 39 minutes. None of these were flashy cars, they all blended in with traffic with the exception that they were traveling for long periods of times above 140 MPH. Don't stand out and drive non flashy cars in bland colors. 3. One of the people in the US Express [what followed the Cannonball] stated was one of the reasons that they had to stop both the Cannonball and the US Express is the enforcement might let the first 7-8 cars through but they will catch up with the 9-12 with a ticket. So don't be the last one in a pack. Actually that also points out why the Cannonball and the US Express failed - too many people will generate to much attention. 4. Once, many years ago, I was driving late at night after dropping off some of my staff while driving a black Mustang with plenty of go fast parts. While minding my own business and driving fairly slowly, I came across some drunk drivers that were trying to force me off the road. We ended up driving pretty fast but when the cop stopped us all, I explained to him what was going on. He already knew from watching and let me go while arresting the drunk drivers. Be polite.
Some two years ago I was ready for a new high end car. My Merc E55 AMG went like a shower of shit but was getting expensive to service and had electrical gremlins. I looked at BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and Mercedes ‘S’ Class. I also decided to check out the Lexus LS460. The 3 German cars will take the Japanese Lexus over the 1/4 mile. No question. I don't care about that. I bought the Lexus and couldn't be happier. Here’s why. It is THE most comfortable car out of all of them. It cost about 80K less that the Germans to buy. I’m in Australia so it may have had something to do with currency exchange rates. An Aussie dollar may not buy you many German DeutschMarks but it does still buy a bucket load of Japanese Yen. I can get the Lexus serviced at the local Toyota dealership. No more getting gouged on service charges from the local, stuck up, overpriced, nose in the air Mercedes dealership. The 420 watt, 19 speaker sound system is kinda nice too……
If you conciser that the mission statement: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport.” which has been updated to: “To accelerate the worlds transition to sustainable energy” Then Tesla has absolutely WON! There is no question in my mind that Tesla has set the bar and that other manufacturers are all racing to meet or exceed it. Your question starts with a vague “Beat It” reference. Availability - Can you buy now? The Model S & X are certainly available now, but these models very soon reach 100K once you add the options you might enjoy. The Model 3 is more affordable, but only 10,000 have actually been delivered. (As of 5/2018). (I ordered mine on 4/2016 and am still waiting) Volume - Number of Sales I think that this metric should be easy enough for a traditional manufacturer to exceed the Tesla Brand, but there are two factors 1) There are a lot of competitors, so individually it may be difficult to exceed the Tesla brand which has a clear advantage today. 2) There just are not that many people that are ready to replace their “ICE Vehicles.” Price - Actual Cost Tesla does have the Model 3 at $35,000, but once you add options, the price is closer to 60K. Existing Competitors range from 30K to 40K for a car delivered with options. Value of the vehicle Tesla does over a good value, offering a vehicle with low maintenance costs as well as retaining it’s resell value. Electric Range Other manufacturers are catching up, but no other manufacturer offers a combination of a long range battery combined with the “Tesla Charging Network”. Building a charging network is not a trivial task. On the other hand, there are an increasing number of “Plug-in Hybrid Solutions.” If the car can go 50 miles on electric, but then it can also use GAS, then Range becomes a much smaller issue. Performance In this category, I don’t think that the other manufacturers are going to offer a similar combination of price and performance. Auto-Pilot This should be an interesting battle. Tesla certainly has the edge with Level II autonomy, and the over the air updates ensure that your car will get software updates, and continue the trend. On the other hand The 2018 Audi A8 offers Level 3 Autonomy with their “AI Traffic Jam Pilot.” Since Tesla is currently rated as Level II autonomy, Audit has the short term Victory. Long Term, Tesla is claiming that all of their new vehicles are ready for “Auto Pilot.” They don’t exactly say what that means, but I assume that they mean Level 4 Autonomy. If true, then Tesla wins for now.