Meet the Car that’s So Awesome it Broke Consumer Reports’ Scale

Published on November 17, 2015 by Jamie Hanninen

Meet the Car that’s So Awesome it Broke Consumer Reports’ Scale

Consumer Reports is known for testing vehicles of all kinds. The agency rates them for drivability and reliability, and ranks them on an annual basis. The scale they use is designed to top out at 100 points. When auto brands were ranked earlier this year, the top-performers each had an overall score in the 70s, so it’s difficult to imagine that a single vehicle could do much better… until one did.

The Tesla Model S Started Out Very Poorly

At first, the testers at Consumer Reports were less than impressed with the Tesla Model S P85D. They shelled out $127,820 for the hatchback, anticipating that it would perform amazingly. After all, its big brother, the original Model S, received a 99, the highest rating of all time. The large luxury car that the Model S overthrew was the Mercedes-Benz S550, which wrapped up with a solid 96. When testers got a glance at the Model S P85D, a high-performance version of the original Model S, one of the first things they noted was the interior. It lacked the sumptuousness of other cars in its class. Then, after being on the road for a mere 2,300 miles over the course of 27 days, the electric door handle on the S P85D malfunctioned, locking the door shut. Shockingly, the luxury vehicle required a trip to the shop for repairs after less than one month of driving.

Then, the Car Did Something Amazing…

The S P85D was put through more than 50 tests, spread out between real roads and highways, as well as on a track, and it absolutely nailed them all, garnering a perfect score of 100 on the road tests. During these tests, the S P85D flew from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds, totally annihilating every other car Consumer Reports had ever tested in its entire history. Its electric powertrain also managed to deliver the equivalent of 87 miles per gallon. Things like speed and fuel efficiency are weighted by industry standards, and the Tesla car is twice as fast as anything else on the market. By the time the dust settled after testing, the S P85D wrapped up with a score of 103 out of 100.

Testers and the Consumer Reports’ Ranking System were Mind-Blown

The car should not have been able to top 100, but it did. The agency says that the S P85D is so far ahead of competitors, that it has no intention of reworking the ratings scale anytime soon. Nothing else even comes close to the performance seen by the S P85D, so the score will be logged as-is, a full three points above the maximum. Until other manufacturers catch up, Consumer Reports plans to continue to use the same weighing and ranking scale for all large luxury cars.

The Difference in Road Test Scores is Astounding

Comparing only the road scores of the top ten vehicles on the Consumer Reports list, the difference is performance is easy to see. Unfortunately, based on the estimated starting retail prices of the vehicles, the Tesla Model S P85D tops the list for cost as well. In some cases, the Tesla car costs more than double other top-performing cars.

1. Tesla Model S P85D 100 points, retails from $105,000
2. Tesla Model S (original) 99 points, retails from $69,900
3. BMW M235i 98 points, retails from $44,150
4. Mercedes-Benz S550 (AWD) 96 points, retails from $ $98,650
5. Porsche 911 Carrera S 95 points, retails from $98,900
6. Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec 93 points, retails from $52,650
7. Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 3LT 92 points, retails from $70,500
8. Audi A8 L 91 points, retails from $81,500
9. Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ 91 points, retails from $27,000
10. Audi A6 (3.0T) 90 points, retails from $57,400

Even though the Tesla Model S P85D is a pricey car, Consumer Reports says it’s the best car on the market today. It’s also worth noting that the testing was only done on a car that has an “Insane Mode” for speed, and the company has since rolled out a newer version with “Ludicrous” speed for those who want to drive even faster. This drops the 0 to 60 transition down from 3.5 seconds, to 2.8. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk says that nobody was asking for more speed, but they opted to go higher because Insane Mode was so well-received.



Jamie Hanninen, Digital Marketing Manager at Gerber Collision rated top auto body repair shop.