Tesla finally took the wraps off its much rumored Model D at Hawthorn Airport outside of Los Angeles tonight and the results look impressive to say the least. The new S P85D, as it's badged, will run an AWD setup as suspected, and put out a whopping 691 hp (515 kW) and 687 lb. ft. (931 Nm) of torque. It will also feature new driver-assist systems including an auto-pilot solution for self-parking.

The car, identical on the outside to the Model S, now features dual motors, one for each axle. The Model S felt fast enough before as some readers may recall from my test drive last year. Now the house of Elon has upped the already impressive 416 hp (310 kW) to a supercar-fighting 691 hp. That figure is the same as you’ll find in your Lamborghini Aventador owner’s manual. But what the Aventador can’t do, and where the all-electric Tesla excels, is in the important category of torque.

Running a dual motor setup, the rear axle generator in the top of the line P85D now produces 470 hp (350 kW), while the front motor brings an additional 221 hp (165 kW) to the table. So there’s our 691 hp, but about that torque? The new twin engined Model S now generates an island pulling, tree hauling, yacht parking 687 lb. ft of torque. That figure by itself is outrageous, but the fact that all 687 lb. ft. (up from 443 lb. ft/600 Nm) is available to the driver at 0 rpm. Wow. No waiting for pistons to get their pants on or turbos to do their hair, the torque is right there as soon as the launch peddle is depressed.

These figures now give the electric saloon the ability to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standing start in only 3.2 seconds, which is a full 1.2 seconds faster than the Model S P85 and on par with the likes of McLaren, Ferrari and Lamborghini in terms of raw acceleration ability. For those straight line fans, that equates out to a quarter mile run of 11.8 seconds, down from the already quick 12.6 in the P85S.

For the lessor powered models like the 60D and 85D, acceleration times aren't quite as quick. The 60D can make the 0-60 mph (96 km/h) run in a respectable 5.7 seconds, while the 85D is slightly quicker at 5.2. Both cars develop 376 hp, with 188 hp coming from both the front and rear motors. Top speed for the 60D is said to be 125 mph (201 km/h) while the 85D and P85D are rated at 155 mph (250 km/h).

Tesla's new Model D is identical in appearance to the Model S (pictured)

But with the new motor up front, weight concerns are a consideration. Turns out the new system adds only another 291 lb (132 kg) to the car, bringing the D’s totally weight to a not so dainty 4,936 lb (2,239 kg). Tesla spins it to the positive by pointing out that front to rear weight balance is now a perfect 50/50 thanks to the new front motor. The addition of AWD will also help increase the car’s already sticky road-holding manners, plus appeal to more northern Canadian folks like myself where snow and ice are an 8-month a year concern.

Mileage for the Model D also doesn’t suffer significantly, taking only a 10 mile hit on range – down from 285 mi (458 km) to 275 mi (442 km). For the lower powered 85D and 60D models, power drops quite a bit to 376 hp 280 and only 362 lb. ft. (491 Nm) of torque, but then again, for these models pricing drops while mileage range rises. Tesla is also claiming that the car can pull off 1 g of acceleration in its new format, which means bring your neck brace and Velcro driving mitts to the test drive.

The other component to the Model D’s unveiling was part of the tease when Tesla first announced the car a few weeks back, and that "other thing" as it turns out, is a new automated parking and driver assist system.

The new driver assist system allows the car to read speed signs and adjust speed accordingly. The system also lets the car not only keep lanes, but also change lanes by itself once the signal is activated thanks to 12 new sensors mounted in critical areas about the car. These systems already exist in some form on similar high-end saloons, but Tesla is set on making its offering the most intuitive and advanced on the market.

While not exactly autonomous, the new Model D will also have the ability to park itself in the garage or even come to the owner thanks to the new sensor system, though there's no details as yet on how far the car will travel or how the system will be activated.

Finally, a new electromechanical braking system has been put in place to help stop the car when required.

Musk noted that every car built in the last two weeks features the new sensor array, while the auto-pilot program will be updated remotely over the next few weeks.

The cost of the new Model S P85D is US$120,000, which as it turns out isn’t that much more than the rear wheel drive S. As of tonight, Tesla has already started taking orders on the Model D, with delivery promised towards year end or in the new year.

Source: Tesla

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