Tesla-Model-S-Blue

Tesla has revamped the Model S with a new entry-level model that gets more power and standard all-wheel drive. The Tesla Model S 70D, as it’s called (we wonder how Canon’s lawyers like the sound of the new suffix), replaces the two-wheel drive 60 (as well as the stillborn AWD 60D), leaving the 85 model as the sole rear-drive variant.

As the name suggests, the 70D uses a larger 70 kWh lithium-ion battery and dual motors to power all four wheels. With 329 hp on tap (versus the 60’s 302 horses), the base model sprints from 0-100 km/h in 5.2 seconds (0.7 seconds quicker), before reaching a 35 km/h higher top speed of 225 km/h. Despite the increased performance, the 70D has a range of 386 km, up from 335 km.

Kit count has also been increased with the update. Compatibility with Tesla’s free Supercharger rapid-charging network – previously a US$2,000 (RM7,300) option – is now standard, as is keyless entry and navigation.

The radar sensors and forward-facing camera used for the company’s Autopilot range of driver assistance features are also fitted to the 70D, but while blind spot warning and automatic emergency braking come as standard, enabling the rest of the functions – adaptive cruise control, lane keeping with automatic steering, self-parking and automatic high beam – is still a US$2,500 (RM9,100) extra.

Also on the options list are GPS adaptive air suspension, a 12-speaker sound system, a powered tailgate, door handle lights, LED fog and cornering lights, LED ambient lighting, executive rear seats, rear-facing seats in the boot (making it a seven-seater) and heated steering wheel, rear seats, wipers and washer nozzles. Additionally, three new colours join the Model S palette – Warm Silver, Obsidian Black and Ocean Blue.

Pricing for the new Tesla Model S 70D starts at US$75,000 (RM272,500) before incentives, but Tesla says that because you save so much money over a petrol-powered car in the long run – it estimates a US$10,000 (RM36,300) saving over five years – the “real” cost of the car is actually US$57,500 (RM208,800), inclusive of a US$7,500 (RM27,200) federal tax credit.