Tesla model S wins in America against the BMW M5, but I bet it will lose again in Europe

Automobile Magazine has just released a drag test of a Tesla model S against a BMW M5, and the electric sedan is faster to 100 mph than the famous German car. I guess this will be a remake of the Tesla roadster versus Porsche comparison tests where the Tesla was fastest in America but way behind in Europe. There are different tests on different sides of the Atlantic. Americans put a lot of emphasis on 0 to 60 mph and quarter mile acceleration. We don’t test either in Europe.

We’re metric. So some magazines measure 0 to 100 kph (62 mph), some others measure 0 to 130 kph (81 mph), but the acceleration test that is the most relevant to European drivers is the standing start kilometer. I remember a test in a German magazine where a Porsche was 3 seconds faster than a Tesla roadster. The same thing will assuredly happen again with the model S versus the M5. The BMW M5 does the standing start kilometer in 21.9 seconds, and I cannot imagine the Tesla doing a better time. There’s also that dirty joke about the Tesla which is the car for men who “can’t last”, but I can’t repeat it here.

The BMW M5 is a superfast car. I think it is the only 5-passenger sedan in the world with a 189 mph top speed. The Tesla is only faster off the line because of the instant torque of an electric motor and short gearing. If the BMW M5 would get the short gears to match the low top speed of the Tesla, it would be faster off the line, but that is not BMW’s goal. Let’s not forget that top speed in a Tesla model S is cruising speed for a BMW M5 on the autobahn.

The Tesla model S is a better car than the BMW M5 because it is zero emission, but we shall not put so much value in short straight line acceleration. I’m waiting to see a Tesla at the Nurburgring. Then we’ll see how fast the model S really is.