Equipping a car with a ‘Ludicrous Speed’ setting is somewhat brave. Not only does the name playfully allude to the cinema of Mel Brooks (it’s a 30-year-old reference to light speed being too slow), but it also ramps up expectations to the near-vertical – and opens the door to potential disappointment.
In one sense, the latter comes to pass. The P90D, with two testers aboard, could not be persuaded to deliver a sub-3.0sec 0-60mph time – and felt unlikely to do so in any circumstance.
This, though, is a matter for the small print, in that Tesla’s claim has always included the disclaimer of a one-foot rollout. Even so, it’s the acceleration figures that the car records before the legal limit that make it truly remarkable.
To put it into context, the P85+ tested in 2013 featured the same electric car party trick: a venomous avalanche of instantaneous torque, launched like a bullet from a gun.
That car made it to 40mph from rest in just 2.9sec; the P90D, powered up and with both axles in on the action, is very nearly a second quicker.