BREAKING: Tesla Kills Entry-Level Model S, Replaces it With 240-Mile Tesla Model S 70D

In keeping with its tradition of updating its lineup when it has something new to share rather than waiting for arbitrary model year changeovers, Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] has just unveiled the all-new Tesla Model S 70D, an all-wheel drive version of its popular Model S luxury sedan which will offer an EPA-approved range of 240 miles per charge (275 miles on the NEDC test cycle).

The announcement, made just over an hour ago, coincides with the official killing of Tesla’s entry-level Model S 60, which offered an EPA-approved range of 208 miles per charge and was available from $71,070 before incentives with no options ticked. The Model S 70D — available from $75,000 before incentives — might offer an additional 32 miles of additional range over the outgoing model, but also raises the entry-level point for the Model S by an additional $3,930.

All-wheel drive and 70 kilowatt-hours of capacity: the new entry-level Tesla Model S 70D

All-wheel drive and 70 kilowatt-hours of capacity: the new entry-level Tesla Model S 70D

“The 70D offers the best value in a premium sedan,” said Tesla in an official press release earlier. “And when one factors in the cost advantages over an internal combustion engine, including fuel savings and incentives, the cost of owning Model S 70D comes to about $55k over five years.”

It’s worth noting too that the abolition of the Tesla Model S 60 in the Tesla Model S lineup also means that there’s now only one single-motor Model S available for customers to order: the Tesla Model S 85. All other Model S models — including the 70D, 85D and range-topping P85D — are driven by an all-wheel drive, dual-motor setup.

As with other Tesla Model S cars made since October last year, the new Tesla Model S 70D will come with autopilot hardware built in to the car, with safety features like lane departure warning and automatic braking — activated with Tesla’s 6.2 operating system — activated as standard. As with other hardware-equipped cars, additional autonomous driving features will be enabled in time via Tesla’s free over-the-air update system free of charge for customers with the tech package specified at point of purchase.

While the Tesla Model S 70D is nearly $4k more expensive than the outgoing entry-level Model S, we note that performance is far improved on the new, higher-capacity model. In addition to benefiting from all-wheel drive (an optional-extra on the previous Model S 60), top speed has been increased to 140 mph, with the 0-60 mph dash taking place in 5.2 seconds.

All Tesla Model S cars are now available in three new colors, including this rather fetching Ocean Blue.

All Tesla Model S cars are now available in three new colors, including this rather fetching Ocean Blue.

The 70 in the 70D of course, comes from the increased battery capacity of the new model: 70 kilowatt-hours versus the 60 kilowatt-hours of the outgoing Tesla Model S 60 and 60D.

Fans of Tesla’s Supercharging network will also be pleased to note that unlike the previous entry-level Model S, Supercharging comes as standard on the 70D. A $2,000 option on the outgoing Model S 60, the addition of supercharging makes the price hike and increased battery capacity rather good value for money.

We’ve reached out to Tesla for clarification on orders made for Model S 60 cars that have yet to be fulfilled, but if we had to guess, Tesla will likely offer customers who have ordered a Model S 60 or 60D but whose cars have not yet been made the chance to upgrade to the new Model S 70D for an additional fee. As soon as Tesla has confirmed that, we’ll let you know.

Finally, the Model S 70D — like the rest of the Tesla Model S lineup — is now available in three new colors: Ocean Blue, Obsidian Black, and Warm Silver, giving Tesla owners a new choice to make alongside just which of the various packages and levels of power they’ll buy.

Do you like the idea of a longer-range entry-level Model S? Would you buy one? And are you upset about the increase in price?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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