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FEATURES | 6 out of 10
The incredibly cool display [has] migrated from its previous position to the left of the driver's knee to above the center console.
At about $130,000 (base price), our Roadster Sport is within pocket change of Porsche's 911 Turbo, which, as a value, is simply a hell of a lot more car for the dollar.
Surprisingly, [the navigation feature] was intuitive and easy to input a street address using the minimal controls, … the screen is small, but nicely rendered, so we could see where to turn, while voice guidance also proved helpful.
an intriguing choice for wealthy, green-minded car buyers in search of a little fun.
No one buys a 2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5 because it’s the best-equipped car with the most features. They buy it for the “wow factor,” which it provides in spades.
The price of $109,000 goes toward a unique drivetrain, and the acceleration—and exhilaration—it offers. In its third year of production, Tesla is still working on some of the basics of the Roadster model. Last year it got a redesigned interior, better seats, and a more powerful heating and air-conditioning system. This year, it got further upgrades to the seats, and an optional reversing camera.
Still, the base Tesla Roadster has a few features you might not expect in a Spartan two-seat open-top performance car. Cruise control and electric windows are fairly standard now, but remote locking and heated seats aren’t yet universal. The heated seats, incidentally, are there to make occupants feel warmer using less stored electricity than would be required to run an electric-resistance cabin heater.
There’s also a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and iPod connectivity in the stereo/CD player.
You’ll end up paying at least some money toward options, though: Shamefully, even a simple 120-volt recharging cord isn’t included in the six-figure price—unlike, say, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt or 2011 Nissan Leaf. There’s also an optional Electronics Group that bundles Bluetooth mobile-phone connections, a subwoofer for the stereo, a navigation system, and Sirius Satellite Radio.
Additional options include a carbon-fiber hardtop to supplement the standard folding canvas item, along with various other special carbon-fiber exterior panels, which can total up to five figures of options all by themselves. There are also metallic paint colors and forged wheels, among other options. The Roadster Sport model, which knocks two-tenths of a second off the 0-to-60-mph acceleration time, costs just north of $15,000 more. It features special badges and black forged wheels, along with a lower stance and a more powerful motor.
The 2011 Tesla Roadster is hardly the most feature-packed you’ll find. But that’s not why anyone buys an all-electric sportscar anyway.