Step on the peddle in "insane mode" of Tesla's new "Model D" line and you'll hit 60 in 3.2 seconds. Yes, it really accelerates that fast, and yes, there is actually a driving mode called, "insane." It is the third option above "normal" and "sport." But who would ever use those?
The only way to start explaining this car - which is really a rethought Model S with some seriously cool twists - is by pointing out the unthinkable departures from normal, one by one. To begin, the Model D's an all-wheel-drive sports car - an electric one. And the model D comes from "Dual" because the car is powered by not one, but two electric motors.
CEO Elon Musk told yesterday's Los Angeles launch event attendees that the car's software, "dynamically shifts power from front to rear at a millisecond level," explaining that the transfer is far superior to conventional all-wheel-drive systems because it directs power where it's needed, precisely when it's needed. Musk added that the vehicle is "inherently able to do better road holding than cars with a single engine." Early performance reports certainly don't contradict.
So, with a significant boost in acceleration from previous Tesla models - not to mention a higher top speed as well - what else is special about the dual-engine super car that performs on a par with the McLaren F1 when the driver switches the Tesla into insane mode?
Musk concedes that the dual motors do add some weight to the vehicle, but it actually is their most efficient version to date. This is because, Musk explains, there are, "Two drive units where we can shift the power and constantly be at the optimal efficiency for each motor means we can overcome the extra mass ... Everything improves about the car with dual motors. It is like having your own personal roller coaster you can use at any time."
Now let me get down to the real bells and whistles.
The Model D comes with a new autopilot autonomous driving system that will allow drivers to exit the vehicle and watch the vehicle part itself in their garage. Say what? Looks like with Tesla in the game, the self driving car dream is getting closer than we imagined.
And if owners link their calendars to their cars, it will exit the garage as drivers leave their homes or offices. It will even switch on the air conditioning, pre-selected music while it awaits its driver's arrival. Of course, this will only happen on private roads for now.
Experience the Model D's amazing acceleration:
The iconic CEO offered the new autopilot feature is "pushing the limits of what is allowed by regulations and is capable of being autonomous but is not at the level where you could fall asleep and arrive safely at your destination."
And if you're not in the market for a Model D, Tesla has added autopilot to every vehicle in their lineup beginning two weeks ago.
I am still waiting to get pricing and availability details. But those are supposed to come when a current Tesla website update is complete.