2012 Tesla Model S vs. Its Competition

2012 Tesla Model S prototype

There's no other car exactly like the 2012 Tesla Model S on the market.

The Fisker Karma might seem to be closest, but it's not all-electric, is the least efficient plug-in sold, and sacrifices interior and trunk space for swoopy styling--plus it has had worrisome quality flaws.

The Chevy Volt is less expensive than the Model S and offers far less room, but appeals to the same early adopters and technology fans.

We have to throw in the Nissan Leaf, because it's the only high-volume battery electric on sale, but it's a compact, utilitarian vehicle with only 73 miles of EPA range--and has none of the Tesla's glamor factor.

That leaves two five-door hatchback models from German luxury makers, the BMW 5-Series GT and the Audi A7.

Both are low-volume offshoots of much better-selling sedans, but they're the closest in functionality and luxury to the Tesla.

Both have far more standard and optional equipment, but they also have gasoline engines and no plugs, which for many buyer will eliminate them immediately.

2012 Tesla Model S prototype2012 Tesla Model S
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2012 Audi A7 4-door HB Auto quattro 3.0 Premium Plus Angular Front Exterior View2012 Audi A7
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2012 BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo 4-door Sedan 550i Gran Turismo RWD Angular Front Exterior View2012 BMW 5-Series
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2012 Chevrolet Volt 5dr HB Angular Front Exterior View2012 Chevrolet Volt
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2012 Nissan Leaf, Electric Avenue, 2010 Detroit Auto Show2012 Nissan Leaf
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Quick Specs
The 2012 Tesla Model S sedan turns out to be a much better car than most expected; it just might meld sport-sedan driving, interior space, and comfort with zero-emission running in one revolutionary package.
The 2012 Audi A7 is a tech powerhouse and design standout, showing that hatchback practicality can indeed be sexy.
The 2012 BMW 5-Series appears somewhat conservative on the outside, but it packs an armada of advanced-tech firepower, and new fuel-efficient engines, without interrupting its sport-sedan mission.
The 2012 Chevrolet Volt is the plug-in electric car you drive as far as you want--if you can find one to buy.
The 2012 Nissan Leaf is, quite simply, the first battery electric vehicle built in volume by any major carmaker; if you can get comfortable with its range of 70 to 100 miles, it's the greenest car you can buy.
MSRP From    
Gas Mileage    
Coming Soon MPG City / Coming Soon MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy35 MPG City / 40 MPG HwyComing Soon MPG City / Coming Soon MPG Hwy
ElectricSupercharged Gas V6Turbocharged Gas I4Electric/Gas I4Electric
EPA Class    
NAMidsize CarsMid-SizeCompact CarsMidsize
Style Name    
4-Door Sedan4-Door HB quattro 3.0 Premium4-Door Sedan 528i RWD5-Door HB4-Door HB SV
Rear Wheel DriveAll Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveFront wheel driveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
Passenger Doors    
Body Style    
SedanSedan4dr SedanHatchback4 Door Hatchback
NAAutomatic w/Manual ShiftAutomatic w/Manual ShiftAutomaticAutomatic
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Tesla Model S vs. 2012 Audi A72012 Tesla Model S vs. 2012 BMW 5-Series2012 Tesla Model S vs. 2012 Chevrolet Volt2012 Tesla Model S vs. 2012 Nissan Leaf