Tesla's Base Model S Is Now the All-Wheel-Drive 70D

Tesla.jpg 2015 Tesla Model S 70D; | Manufacturer image

Just six months after hatching some all-wheel-drive variants of the Model S, Tesla is replacing the least-expensive version, the rear-drive Model S 60, with the all-wheel-drive Model S 70D. Pitched as still a value option, the 70D will have a 70-kilowatt-hour battery that pushes the car to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. It also gets an EPA-rated 240 miles of range, Tesla says. Both figures represent significant improvements over the Model S 60, though they come with a modest price hike.

Related: 2015 Tesla Model S P85D: First Drive

The 70D effectively raises the starting price of the Model S to nearly $80,000. Here’s a snapshot of the 2015 lineup, with the discontinued Model S 60 for comparison. All prices include the destination fee but exclude tax incentives, which amount to at least $7,500 for qualified owners.

  • Model S 60 (discontinued): around $71,000, rear-wheel drive, zero-to-60 mph in 5.9 seconds (manufacturer estimates), 208 miles of EPA range
  • Model S 70D (new): around $77,000, all-wheel drive, 5.2 seconds, 240 miles
  • Model S 85: around $82,000, rear-wheel drive, 5.4 seconds, 265 miles
  • Model S 85D: around $87,000, all-wheel drive, 4.4 seconds, 270 miles
  • Model S P85D: around $106,000, all-wheel drive, 3.1 seconds, 253 miles

That makes the Model S 85 the only rear-drive car in the group, which is a dramatic change for a car that was only rear-wheel drive just one model year ago. Tesla has seen “a lot of interest” in all-wheel drive, spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn told us, and the automaker thinks the 70D “will have a lot of market appeal.”

Standard features on the 70D include a navigation system, automatic braking and compatibility with Tesla’s quick-charging “Supercharger” network. The automaker’s latest software — version 6.2, which has a new range assurance feature — will also come standard. The 70D has the hardware for Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system, but, like on other versions, it’s $2,500 to activate.

Tesla claims a Model S 70D costs $55,000 to own over five years, including plug-in tax credits. The automaker is taking orders on the car now, with deliveries beginning in May.

Latest expert reviews