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Is Tesla Working On A Better-Handling Model S?


2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

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The Tesla Model S sedan could be a game-changer for electric cars. It’s stylish, more affordable than a Tesla Roadster (or Fisker Karma, for that matter), and can be equipped with enough batteries to provide an impressive range between recharges.

It’s got some well-known fans already, too, including nine-time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb winner Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima, who recently praised the electric sedan’s handling as “really incredible.”

It wasn’t incredible enough for Tesla CEO Elon Musk, however, who solicited handling feedback from the former editor-in-chief of Motor Trend, Angus MacKenzie. As Wired explains it, Musk asked MacKenzie to name a car that handled better than the Model S.

MacKenzie cited the McLaren MP4-12C as an example, although that’s hardly an apples-to-apples comparison in our eyes. Nonetheless, Musk then rented a McLaren, handing the keys over to a Tesla suspension development engineer.

The result is a new suspension setup that’s under consideration as an option for Tesla’s range-topping Model S Performance versions. Changes include wider 21-inch wheels shod with stickier Michelin tires, stiffer bushings and revised suspension end links.

The air suspension remains unchanged, as does the car’s 85 kWh electric drivetrain. While acceleration and braking remain the same as with other Model S Performance sedans, handling is said to be noticeably improved.

It’s not yet known when or even if Tesla will offer the upgraded suspension on the Model S, but this much is clear: it’s been developed only for Model S Performance-trim sedans, and won’t be offered on Model S sedans with smaller 60 or 40 kWh battery packs.
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