The Tesla Model S changed the direction of the auto industry when first released in 2012. It was the first long-range electric vehicle to truly catch the public’s imagination. The Model S gave other automakers something to aspire to with their own EVs. Over the years, the Model S has received numerous accolades, including being named MotorTrend‘s “Ultimate Car of the Year.”

The 2020 edition of the Model S remains impressive. Its driving range on a single battery charge now tops out at 370 miles. That’s among the very best of any EV on the market. The performance and autonomous driving technology of the Model S also garner high praise. However, the Tesla Model S is no longer the only fully electric luxury sedan on the market. The new Porsche Taycan is just one example of the stiff competition that the Model S now faces. Here is a peak inside the 2020 Tesla Model S and what makes the car tick.

Exterior Styling

The exterior of the Model S has been called “handsome” and “elegant” and praised by critics around the world. For 2020, the Model S stays true to the sleek exterior design that it has become known for. It continues to exude a strong luxury sedan vibe that its owners will appreciate.

Tesla has not made any significant modifications to the car’s exterior this time around. The last major change to the exterior occurred in 2018, when Tesla removed an optional panoramic sunroof from the car. For 2020, owners will get a Model S that is unmistakably a Tesla on the outside – sleek, cool, and aerodynamic.

Models and Prices

In 2019, Tesla introduced a “standard range” variant of the Model S that was cheaper than previous incarnations of the car. It had many people excited. However, the company discontinued that Standard Range edition only a few weeks after it was introduced ,with no real explanation as to why.

This means the 2020 Model S is available in a “long range” version that comes with an EPA-estimated 370 miles of driving range on a single battery charge. In addition to the “long range” version, the Model S is also available in a “Performance” trim. This version has an estimated range of 345 miles and can hit 60 miles per hour in 2.4 seconds. Whether you prefer the long range or performance model, it come down to how much you’re willing to spend. The long range model costs $81,190, while the performance version will set you back $101,190. That’s a $20,000 price difference!

Engine and Performance

The engine is where the Model S really shines. As mentioned, the car can go from 0-to-60 in only 2.4 seconds. That’s seriously impressive for an electric car. The Model S is basically a family sedan with the engine of a race car dropped into it. The front drive unit and motor have been updated for 2020. The air suspension is now adaptive, so it offers a swift and breezy ride on highways yet remains tight around corners.

With an electric motor dedicated to each of the front and rear axles, the Model S provides exceptional all-wheel drive. Acceleration and performance of the two available models ranges from outstanding to downright crazy. Keep in mind that the performance version comes with Tesla’s infamous “Ludicrous” driving mode. It provides a serious boost to the car’s acceleration and enables it to hit 60 mph in just about two seconds flat. Like we said, crazy!


When it comes to car interiors, Tesla’s focus seems to be on simplification. For 2020, the Model S provides ample luxury on the inside. While not quite as plush and cozy as you may find in competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz E-class or the Volvo S90, the Model S is still firmly in the luxury sedan category.

The 2020 edition comes with a giant (and we mean GIANT) infotainment screen that controls almost all the vehicle’s functions. If you adore technology, you’ll be in heaven in the Model S. You can literally spend hours tinkering with all the car’s buttons, functions, and gizmos. New updates arrive over the air, for ultimate convenience.

Some critics have dumped on the 2020 Model S for its screen position. They claim that the dashboard requires some drivers to lean forward in their seat to reach certain icons, especially those near the top right of the display. Elsewhere, the car’s sloped roofline hides a rear liftgate that opens to a sizable 26-cubic-foot trunk. Tesla claims the trunk can fit eight suitcases in it, though they didn’t specify the size of the luggage. Regardless, the interior of the 2020 Model S overall is very impressive.

Features and Warranty Coverage

The Tesla Model S is an engineering marvel and comes loaded with technology. In addition to the amazing infotainment system, the Model S also comes with several safety features that include standard automated emergency braking, standard lane-departure warning, and available adaptive cruise control with a semi-autonomous driving mode.

In terms of warranty coverage, Tesla provides a comprehensive package to protect the vehicle’s powertrain and hybrid components. However, it lacks the lengthy bumper-to-bumper coverage and complimentary scheduled maintenance packages found in competitors such as the Jaguar I-Pace. Specifically, the Model S comes with a limited warranty of four years or 50,000 miles, and a powertrain warranty that covers eight years regardless of the miles driven. There is no complimentary scheduled maintenance offered by Tesla, although the Model S usually comes with free unlimited Supercharging at Tesla chargers around the country.

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy and driving range is one area where the Model S leaves the competition in the dust. With a maximum driving range of 370 miles, it lives up to the company’s claims of being best of breed when it comes to electric cars and distances. While Tesla is always working to improve the driving range of its cars, the Model S remains the company’s best car for driving long distances. Owners of the 2020 Model S can also take advantage of “V3 Supercharging,” a new charging architecture that Tesla says will reduce average charging times by 25%.

The Good

  • Best in class driving distances for an electric car.
  • A powerful engine that is built for acceleration and performance.
  • Faster battery charging times than in previous versions of the Model S.
  • Impressive technology and a massive Infotainment system.

The Not-So-Good

  • Minimal changes to the exterior.
  • The interior is not as luxurious as in competing sedans.
  • Some people may find the technology too advanced and hard to navigate.
  • Warranty coverage is average and there is no complimentary scheduled maintenance.

The Last Word

The Model S remains Tesla’s flagship car and for good reason. No other Tesla combines power, performance, luxury, and distance as well as the Model S. While the company has not completely revamped the car for 2020, they have made improvements where it matters most. Namely, the engine, battery charging time, and total distances it can drive. For people who want to buy into Elon Musk’s vision of the automotive industry’s Brave New World, this is the car to buy. Just be careful when using the ludicrous driving mode.


Devon is a writer, editor, and veteran of the online publishing world. He has a particular love for classic muscle cars.