Video: Tesla Model S P85D Owner Pushes Their Car to 150+ mph on German Autobahn

With just over half of Germany’s 8003 miles of federally-built Autobahns carrying only an advisory speed limit (or Richtgeschwindgigkeit to use the correct German nomenclature) performance and luxury cars sold in Germany must be at least capable of speeds in excess of 140 mph to be considered a sensible purchase by most Germans.

The Tesla Model S P85D can now hit 155 mph, where legally allowed, thanks to software update 6.2

The Tesla Model S P85D can now hit 155 mph, where legally allowed, thanks to software update 6.2

That’s because while less than one third of all Germans actually drive at speeds over 120+ mph on the Autobahn, owning a car capable of higher speeds does at least mean faster travel is possible when required.

So when Tesla recently started pushing an over-the-air software update to increase the top speed of its flagship Tesla Model S P85D electric sedan to 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph) specifically to cater to its Autobhan-driving customers, we knew it wouldn’t take long before someone posted a YouTube video of a Tesla enjoying that new top speed.

Over the weekend, that’s exactly what happened.

The rather shaky video, posted three days ago on YouTube, shows a Tesla Model S P85D accelerate almost effortlessly from 180 kph (112mph) all the way up to 230 kph (142mph) with smooth ease. From there, we see the driver push the car all the way to a speed of around 247 kph (153 mph) before backing off the accelerator momentarily — presumably for traffic — before peaking at 243 kph (150 mph) and then settling down to a more ‘sedate’ 217 kph (135 mph).

At speeds above 230 kph, the car’s speedometer changes from the usual green on black display to red on black display, reminding the driver that while the car is capable of a top speed of 250 kph, it is operating near safe operating limits.

Throughout the video, there’s minimal noise from the interior of the car, and no noticeable whine.

The video’s poster — who goes by the YouTube username of Metalbird1997 — notes that the towards the end of the video the car becomes limited to a top speed of 217 kph (135 mph), but that it does not appear to be related to power limitations as the car’s power meter wasn’t anywhere near the yellow dashes of Tesla’s power limit warning.

That top speed appears limited to short bursts  though, ideal for overtaking.

That top speed appears limited to short bursts though, ideal for overtaking.

If we had to guess however, we’d surmise the speed was dropped by the car in order to protect its motors and on-board electronics.

The video’s post in fact notes something similar, saying that the top speed limit “seems as meant to be used for high-speed overtaking only.” In other words, it’s there to help you pass the occasional slow-coach safely and cleanly, not sit with the cruise set to 250 kph all day.

While hardened petrolheads may scoff, we’d note that very few cars we’ve seen or driven could easily sit at those kind of speeds all day without some serious engine overheating or engine wear.

Of course, the video is documenting a Model S travelling at more than twice the usual maximum legal speed limit in most countries around the world, so we’re sure most owners won’t even want — or need — to push their car that hard or indeed find that limitation a problem.

Even Germans who regularly travel on the Autobahn will find that 250 kph really isn’t a speed they’ll want to sit at all day because of the sheer concentration needed to stay safe, not to mention the effect of other traffic.

Tesla’s latest version its Model S Operating system (version 6.2) was pushed to all Model S cars in the last few weeks in the form of a free over-the-air update. As well as increasing the top speed of the Tesla Model S P85D to 155 mph, it includes some other important new features designed to enhance the experience of owning and driving a Tesla Model S.

Among them include switching on safety hardware built into every Model S made since October last year to enable lane departure warning alert, cross collision alert, forward collision alert and automatic braking. But perhaps the most useful feature for most Model S owners is Tesla’s new Range Assurance system, which continually monitors the car’s state of charge and location to ensure that it never goes out of range of a nearby Supercharger.

Similarly, update 6.2 also ensures the car’s route planning software routes a car to the fastest possible charging options en-route as required.


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  • Michael Thwaite

    At those kind of speeds, most gas cars only run for a limited time before the fuel runs out or, in the case of the 250mph Vayron, the tires wear away.

    • vdiv

      Or before they overheat, which is why the Veyron has 10 radiators!nnnGlobal warming, anyone? 🙂

      • Arthur

        That’s what you get with your 19 MPGe TESLA once you figure in power generation losses…but the bigger damage is from battery production. They tell you not to eat Tuna now due to all the mercury from the old batteries….just wait until nickel accumulates in all our favorite food items…yes it is a very potent carcinogen.

    • Ezzy

      The same goes for Tesla, since speed increases drag by a lot. It won’t run for long at Vmax. Look at the left side of the gauge panel, that’s the power consumption graph 😀

    • Arthur

      I feel sorry for Jaguar….the Model S styling is such a rip off….but as Jaguar found out….the liberal Judges will side with the PRECIOUS.

  • grendal

    Absolutely impressive.

  • Arthur

    Too bad my Golf TDi has a shorter stopping distance (reason why P85D is programmed not to be driven too often past 200 kph)….Too bad my Panamera Turbo S is more efficient…. and once past 100 kph…all that Nikki will see are my exhaust pipes, which is fair considering the #1 source of Nikki’s e-juice in Germany is from burning coal, which pollutes a helluva lot more than petrol. Now my buddy gendal below will probably start spewing out statistics on Germany’s renewable energy……by the way…can anyone tell me why is it that all of Europe considers burning wood pallets as a renewable energy source (Europe’s #1 source of renewable energy…MAN!!!)? I though trees are good and we don’t want to chop them down, and there are many living organisms that depend on trees……but I suppose it makes sense on account of the fact that all those solar panels need more room….but where will they grow the new trees? Fortunately, Germany can probably afford to export its battery waste.

    • MorinMoss

      Troll, Germans are putting most of the solar panels on rooftops, not cutting down trees to do it.
      You’ve told that lie about your Golf go-kart’s stopping distance on more than one site. But I’m inclined to believe it would – if it ran headfirst into a wall. Someone is a Tesla has a very good chance of walking away from a crash like that.
      You in the Golf, not so much. Pity.