New Tesla Model S packs twin electric motors and Autopilot

Elon Musk's most powerful electric car ever can read speed limit signs and avoid crashes, too
Tesla Model S P85D

Tesla Model S P85D

Tesla has taken the wraps off its latest electric car – a specced-up version of the Model S that adds a second electric motor between the front wheels.

You'll be able to add the dual drive option to all three versions of the Model S; on the most powerful version of the car, the Model S P85D, that second motor allows it to deliver a staggering 682bhp and 930Nm of torque. it'll go from 0 to 60mph in 3.2 seconds – a full second faster than the Model S P85.

Despite the extra motor, the dual-motor Model S benefits from extended range; the P85D can now manage 275 miles on a charge, versus 265 on the standard Model S P85. And the smaller 60kWh Model D can manage 225 miles, an increase of 17 miles over the Model S version.

Set the controls for the heart of the sun

Tesla is also kitting out all Model S cars with a new "Autopilot" suite of active safety features; it uses a combination of GPS, long-range forward-looking radar, an image-recognition camera, and long-range sonar to monitor the car's surroundings.

That means the car can now automatically park itself, and even drive up to where you're waiting for it, as long as you're on private property. It'll even sync up with your calendar to meet you at a pre-arranged location.

Naturally, Autopilot also adds adaptive cruise control and lane assist features; it can also move the car into the right lane when you use the turn signal, and even read speed signs and adjust its speed accordingly. It's not quite fully autonomous, though; you won't be able to nod off at the wheel.

When can I get one?

New Tesla Model S interface

New Tesla Model S interface

UK pricing and availability for the Model S dual-motor upgrade has yet to be announced. However, all Model S cars ordered in the UK from today will get the Autopilot hardware upgrade – though they'll require an over-the-air software upgrade before it can be used. 

In the US, the dual-motor upgrade adds US$4,000 to the base price of the car – while the top-of-the-line Model S P85D will start at US$120,000. Roll on the "affordable" Model III

READ MORE: Tesla Model S review