2011 Tesla Roadster vs. Its Competition

2011 Tesla Roadster Sport. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.
John Voelcker John Voelcker Senior Editor

All-electric or not, the 2011 Tesla Roadster competes with some heady high-performance sportscars.

For a bit more cash, the Audi R8 Spyder comes with a standard V-8 that’s a second slower to 60 mph.

Tesla says its closest competitor is the Porsche 911 Turbo, which costs $25,000 more but is two-tenths of a second faster to 60 mph.

Oddly, the Tesla Roadster Sport is just under $20,000 pricier, and matches the 911 Turbo’s acceleration exactly.

Both the Audi and the Porsche offer a far higher level of amenities, more dealers and service locations, plus more interior space for people and their stuff.

On the high end, the Ferrari F 430 Spyder provides about Tesla-level performance for $75,000 more.

The closest in spirit to the Tesla may be the Lotus Elise, which is cheaper, even more cramped, and gasoline powered—but has the lightest, most precise handling and may be the best of the lot on a race track.

All four competitors offer 250 miles of range on a tank of gasoline, and can do it again after a 10-minute refuel.

The Roadster’s range, quoted at 244 miles on the EPA test cycle, but can fall far below that when driven hard.

And its buyers know that by now, and probably don’t care.

They also know that Audi, Ferrari, and Porsche are sure to exist 10 years from now, whereas Tesla’s ultimate fate is still very much to be written.

2011 Tesla Roadster Sport. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.2011 Tesla RoadsterBrowse Used Listings2011 Audi R8 2-door Coupe 5.2L Man quattro Angular Front Exterior View2011 Audi R8Browse Used Listings2011 Porsche 911 GTS2011 Porsche 911Browse Used Listings
Quick Specs
7.4
The 2011 Tesla Roadster is a classic, open-top two-seat sportscar with handling and performance among the best, plus unsurpassed green cred. But drive it fast and often, and your range falls below 200 miles.
9.2
Teutonic handling perfection meets its dream match in the 2011 Audi R8's lusty, Italian-engineered V-10 heart.
9.2
You'll be dazzled by the 2011 Porsche 911's unending driving joy, and maybe stunned by its passenger comfort and even its fuel economy.
MSRP From  
N/A$114,200$77,800
Gas Mileage  
11 MPG City / 21 MPG Hwy14 MPG City / 26 MPG Hwy
Engine  
N/AGas V8Gas Flat 6-cyl
EPA Class  
N/ACompactMini-Compact
Style Name  
N/A2-Door Coupe Manual quattro 4.2L2-Door Coupe Carrera
Drivetrain  
N/AAll-Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity  
N/A24
Passenger Doors  
N/AN/AN/A
Body Style  
N/A2 Door CoupeCoupe
Transmission  
N/AManualManual