As I said in my last post, I had decided to upgrade my 2014 Model S 85 and made the decision to upgrade to another Model S instead of a Model 3.

My main goal was to get a car as close to what I already had but with Autopilot and all-wheel-drive (AWD) and people have asked what I ended up with.

Old and New

I figure the best way to start is to show the 2 orders.

2014 Model S 85 Cost

2018 Model S 75D Cost


It’s amazing how close the prices ended up coming out, and arguably I could have saved even more off of the 75D.

The 75D has a rated range of 259 miles, while my 85 had a rated range of 265 miles. The 75D has better efficiency with AWD than the 85 did which is why such a big differnece in battery size made little differnece in range. The ranges were close enough that I was comfortable with the slight step down. A 90D would have been tempting if it was still offered, but an additional $20,000 for the 100D wasn’t worth it to me. My 85 got me everywhere I wanted to go and the S75 was very close to the same range.

I loved the Dolphin Grey of my original car and the tan leather interior. The grey in the new cars is a bit darker (my wife likes it more, I like it a little less) and they changed from tan leather to cream synthetic leather. The cream color is fine by me (I really dislike black and white) but I found the synthetic leather has a lot more dye transfer which I’m not happy about.

I had a sunroof on my original 85 as I don’t like solid roofs and that was the only option back then. Now you can choose between a sun roof and an all glass roof. I never opened my sun roof and love th expansive glass roof in the 75D.

The interior wood is lighter and is on the dash and on the console. It has a very upscale look and I like it even more.

A factory console is nice (I had to use an aftermarket one in my S85). The rear cupholders are great to have too. Overall the interior is a great upgrade over my 85 with more comfortable seats, heated steering wheel, more cupholders, rear USB chargers, rear trunk cover, etc. The only downside has been the dye transfer on the seats.

I intentionally avoided Smart Air Suspension on my S85 as I didn’t want extra maintenance/costs around the system, but there was no option to get a new S without it. I’ve already had the entire system fail once and my car was in the shop for 2 weeks for it. I find it has added little value and likely will continue to be an area that needs more maintenance.

I’m not a huge wheel person but the new ones are slightly easier to clean and look a bit better to me, so that’s a plus.

Much has been bundled into the base and premium upgrades package. Before, there were more decisions to be made. I wouldn’t have paid for or wanted the bioweapon defense mode filter, but it came with the cold weather features I needed.

The new S75D is quicker, 4.2 seconds 0-60 mph vs 5.4 seconds 0-60 for my old car. Frankly, they’re both fast and I didn’t need anything quicker.

The S75D is, however, slower charging. There’s a noticeable difference at Superchargers where it doesn’t charge as quick as my 85 did. Also, on other plugs, depending on the amperage, the new car charges slower as my old one had the special “dual chargers” configuration. Telsa’s charging cable they provide is also less capable of a fast charge than the old one.

Overall, apples to apples, ignoring the 2 big features I wanted, the S75D was a nice upgrade with mostly positive benefits, but nothing that I would have upgraded for individually or as a collection. I upgraded for AWD and AP.

So what about AWD and AP?

My old S did a great job through some very tough winters with the winter wheels I had. The S75D is more sure-footed and able to both push and pull you through the slush and snow. It’s easier to get going, and easier to drive in the bad conditions. Stopping and turning are about the same except when you’re applying power. We’ve had a lot of cold this winter, but only a few snow storms and the car has done better than my S85 did and the AWD has been what I wanted and expected.

Autopilot has been exactly what I expected, both good and bad. I’m delighted that I got it, but it is far from perfect. While I’m a huge Tesla fan, anyone that thinks this car can drive itself with no driver interaction, even on a highway, has either not spent much time with it or has very low safety standards. I’ve got about 14,000 miles on my new car already and about 90% of that is with AP engaged in all sorts of conditions and the car does some pretty concerning things even on major divided highways. I’ll be writing more on this front. Autopilot is magical and frightening but promises a wonderful future. I’m glad to be a guinea pig for that future and I go into that with eyes wide open.

What the heck? You ordered FSD?

FSD, or fully self driving, is a very controversial feature. Tesla has been offering it for a few years now and anyone who paid for it has nothing to show for that money. Whether or not you get FSD, you have the exact same experience as other owners today. Tesla has yet to introduce any features tied to FSD.

At about the time I was ordering this car (late summer 2018), Tesla was starting to finally make some promises about FSD features coming out soon. At the same time, it was clear they were going to bump up the price. They had already almost doubled the post-delivery upgrade price of FSD. My logic was pretty simple: I was doing the upgrade to have the autonomous car experience and if I was going to do that I was going all in with the full knowledge that Tesla may never deliver on the FSD portion given their history. I paid the $3,000 for FSD which was the cheapest FSD is likely to ever be, then a while later Tesla removed the option to purchase it completely. Elon claimed previously all cars were capable of FSD, and then introduced AP 2.5 with more capabilities, and has now been talking about AP 3.0 with new compute engine to support FSD. He’s said people who have purchased FSD already will get upgraded for free to the necessary hardware to execute FSD when it’s available. We’ll see if that promise comes true.

My new Model S is very close to my original one in exterior and interior colors and features with the addition of AP and AWD. I’m very happy with the upgrade, but still miss my “classic” S at times.

I sold my S85 to a lucky buyer who has been delighted with it since he bought it. More on the sales process in a the next post.

The new S75D