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.
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.
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.
You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.