Consumer Reports Best Car Of 2015? Tesla Model S. No. 2? Tesla Model S

Tesla is closing out the year on a high note: Not only can the company boast that its Model S sedan is No. 1 on Consumer Reports’ list of best cars for 2015, but it can also claim the No. 2 spot.

Mike Quincy, a writer at the rating agency for more than 20 years, issued his list of best cars for the year and gave the top spot to the Model S P85D model, followed by the base version of the same model.

Built at Tesla’s Fremont factory, Quincy writes of the Model S:

Look past its slick styling, futuristic controls, rapid-fire acceleration, and superb handling, and you’ve still got a car that gets the equivalent of 84 mpg. With its optional 85-kWh battery, the largest available, it can travel between 180 and 225 miles per charge. It can fully charge in as little as five hours on a dedicated Tesla connector — and in less than 45 minutes on a roadside Tesla supercharger. The interior comes with a huge iPad-like center screen that controls many functions. How fast is fast? Our 362-hp Model S shot from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. That’s on par with a V8-powered Porsche Panamera S, Jaguar XJ, or a BMW 7 Series. The Tesla isn’t cheap — starting at around $70,000 — but few cars have dazzled more.

The only car better than the Model S, according to Consumer Reports, is the performance version of the car, the P85D. The “P” stands for performance and the “D” denotes that the car uses dual motors, complementing the rear 470-hp motor with another 221-hp motor up front, which essentially creates a four-wheel drive asphalt rocket.

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As Quincy describes the P85D:

Two Teslas on our Best of 2015 list? You betcha. We didn’t think it was possible, but the 691-hp P85D wowed us even more than the base model Tesla S. The performance geek in us loves that it rockets to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds while delivering 1.02 g’s of horizontal accelerative force in less than a quarter-second. No other street-legal car can achieve that. The hot rod P85D has the same range as the standard 85-kilowatt version and still provides pinpoint handling, and a firm yet comfortable ride. All-wheel drive and Autopilot active safety features are also available. Even though reliability has dropped to below average, our subscribers rate the Tesla Model S as the most satisfying car in our survey. Considering this model’s otherworldly performance, well, that’s not shocking.

Palo Alto-based Tesla is expecting combined sales this year of between 50,000 and 52,000 for the Model S and new Model X SUV. However, because the Model X only started delivery at the end of September, the bulk of the company’s sales will be comprised of the Model S.

And given the company’s execution on producing the Model S, it would not be surprising to see the Model X join Consumer Reports list of the best cars for 2016.

Source: Silicon Valley Business Journal, Scott Ard
Photo: A customer views a Model S P85D electric vehicle (EV) at the Tesla Motors Inc. retail store on Santana Row. Consumer Reports selected the P85D as the best car of the year. (Michael Short)