Tesla’s New Model S Is Insanely Fast, Has “Autopilot” Mode

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It’s a typically warm fall night in Los Angeles, and just after sunset Elon Musk is taking the wraps off the D. This isn’t a lewd joke much of the internet imagined. It’s the company’s new dual-motor, all-wheel-drive version of its model S sedan, one that promises faster acceleration, and better performance in inclement weather — one of the S’ biggest weaknesses.

The new models will get a D on the end, and there will be three configurations, the 60D and the 85D, along with a top of the line P85D, reports USA Today in a story that was published ahead of the event, then pulled shortly before it began. The P85D starts going out to buyers in December, with the 60D and lower-end 85D going out in February.

All-wheel-drive has been potential shortcoming for the model S since the first cars rolled off the production line in 2012, with Tesla opting to make it rear-wheel drive instead. That’s common among performance cars, but has also left the car lacking compared to competing luxury vehicles from Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and others.

The big question is how the new configuration affects both the car’s range, as well as its handling. Not to mention the price. Today, ahead of a launch for the D, Musk told USA Today the new configuration would up that range by an extra 10 miles per charge, and bring a 0 to 60 time to just over 3 seconds.

Along with the change to the engine, Tesla’s added new built-in safety features that help the car drive itself. It’s using cameras and other sensors, something the company has been installing on all new Model S vehicles produced over the past month to conform with European safety regulations, to look for objects — including other cars — as well as road lines, to keep the car safe. That’s not a new thing in the auto industry, but an important step in getting cars to be completely autonomous, something Musk has said is still 5 to 6 years away from being a reality.

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“Tesla’s New Model S Is Insanely Fast, Has “Autopilot” Mode”