Tesla Model S Outguns BMW M5 in 0-to-100 MPH Dash

By · October 11, 2012

Model S versus BMW M5

Automobile Magazine put the Tesla Model S against the BMW M5 in an all out race from 0 to 100 miles per hour.

Last month, I lived with the Tesla Model S for a week. I reported my impressions, including the use of Tesla’s network of superchargers, in The New York Times. I wrote a lot about range, design, handling, charging and high-tech features—but when friends ask me about the Model S, my immediate reply is simple: “It’s fast.”

The newspaper is not the place to fully discuss the EV’s speed, especially because any real-world numbers that exceed the legal speed limit could be interpreted as encouragement to break the law. So, I was glad to see that Automobile Magazine put the 2012 Tesla Model S on the track against a 2013 BMW M5 to determine which vehicle can sprint fastest from 0-to-100 miles per hour.

The two vehicles stack up neatly on paper. The price for the Model S (with the 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack) and the M5 both hover around $100,000. The M5’s horsepower, delivered via a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 engine, cranks out 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque—versus the 416 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque from the performance version of the Model S. Of course, when it comes to efficiency, the Model S’s 89 MPGe trounces the M5’s 15 miles per gallon. But what about raw speed?

Automobile Magazine's Ezra Dyer introduces the race, which took place at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Mich. As the two vehicles roll up to the line, the Model S is silent, while the M5 roars. But the Model S, running on electrons, pulls away much faster from the line than the gas-thirsty BMW. Despite signs towards the end of the strip that the M5 was starting to catch up, the Model S handily beats the high-performance Bimmer across the finish.

Dyer says that, with the Model S, most people are probably more concerned about is range. “But guess what?” he adds. “It’s quicker than an M5.” Dyer calls the Model S “the sneakiest performance car on the market.” If eliminating tailpipe emissions and use of fossil fuels doesn’t sell EVs like the Model S, then the feeling of raw power from behind the wheel—a ton of fun when you have it on city streets, country roads, and stretches of highway—might do the trick.

Comments

· Volume Van (not verified) · 2 years ago

Thats the power of Electric. Anyone who has a gas guzzler, better start following Tesla Model S. Better trade in your car for Model S.

And Tesla Model S is a 7 seater too.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Bogus test. 6 speed and not DCT tranny for m5 which is much quicker!

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Bogus test . Next time they need to use the m5 with DCT tranny 0-60 3.7-3.9 consistently

· Redshift (not verified) · 2 years ago

@'anonymous'

It's not a 'bogus' test. The M5 tested is real, as is the Model S. BTW, there is an even higher performance Model S that does 3.9s to 0-60 is available. (That model is also Elon Musk's personal car) this is a brand new car from a new comer, and it has managed to best the best from the much experienced company from Bavaria. Learn to give credit where credit is due. When they tune the engine and suspension more, you can bet Tesla will best even the DCT M5.
I own a BMW and an Acura, and having test driven the Tesla, I can honestly say it handles better than my much lighter 5 series. I have put down my deposit.

· Redshift (not verified) · 2 years ago

@'anonymous'

It's not a 'bogus' test. The M5 tested is real, as is the Model S. BTW, there is an even higher performance Model S that does 3.9s to 0-60 is available. (That model is also Elon Musk's personal car) this is a brand new car from a new comer, and it has managed to best the best from the much experienced company from Bavaria. Learn to give credit where credit is due. When they tune the engine and suspension more, you can bet Tesla will best even the DCT M5.
I own a BMW and an Acura, and having test driven the Tesla, I can honestly say it handles better than my much lighter 5 series. I have put down my deposit.

· Anonymous1 (not verified) · 2 years ago

Corvette blows them both away for far less $$ if power is your thing. Sexier too imho.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

I have a Porsche C4S and recently drove a MSP. The MS4Pis significantly faster than the Porsche and quite to my surprise, the electric traction control makes it almost impossible to spin the wheels even in this car that is so friggin fast off the line. The handling around corners is great too. Maybe not as great as the C4S, but certainly comparable, due to its low center of gravity. I get my MSP in two weeks, +/=. Can't wait!!!

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Go to 0:25 seconds the Tesla jumps the start

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Bradley, was this the Model S Performance Model?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

This was a 6 speed m5 which is over a half second slower than DCT and way way more difficult to launch. I smell a rat. Oh yeah and M5 tune are already bumping hp to 650+.
And let's not all forget those performance numbers for the telsa are with a 100% charge the performance numbers just progressively get worse as the charge drop. I've heard performance can drop up to 2 seconds

· Fast Times (not verified) · 2 years ago

A=F/m what part of that do people not understand. I know you’re all happy for the electric, but the electric motor has been around over 100 years and the electric car nuts think it’s new. It’s the power source and how it is delivered to the motor that is new. Electric will never match ICE power output. You beat one car in a propaganda video that can't hold up with basic math. The current fastest ICE 1/4 mile time is 3.735sec fastest speed in the 1/4mile: 332.18mph. Good luck beating that as physics are against you. Cheers

· · 2 years ago

I love listening to the desperate BMW fanboys making up excuses. The fact is, at the 1/4 mile, an early-model of Tesla's 1st generation sedan clobbered an "Ultimate Driving Machine" in a test done by an independent, well-respected industry magazine.
That "Ultimate (ICE) Driving Machine" has had 100 years, billions of miles, and billions of dollars of engineering put into it and its ancestors and relatives.
Whether the EV (or the Tesla Model S) can beat the ICE in any contest is still a question that hasn't been answered.
I do have to address Fast Times though. He's right that A=F/m, however, very little puts out more Force (F) as consistently and over as wide a speed range as an electric motor. That is why the BMW was left looking so pathetic at the start.
Here's the funny one Fast Times says "Electric will never match ICE power output."
He should look at a railroad some time where electric motors put out over 4,000 horsepower all the time. In fact GE's new hybrid "Evolution Hybrid Locomotive" does that with a serial hybrid design, meaning it comes from a battery. I don't think power from an EV is a problem.
The only limitation of the electric motor is in long-distance driving because gasoline has about 10X as much Specific Energy (Wh per kg) as a Li-ion battery. The fact that the electric motor is about 60 percentage points more efficient than the ICE still means the gasoline ICE can travel about 3X as far on the same weight of stored energy as the BEV.
Fast Times' ICE with 3.735 sec 1/4 mile times were specially designed to pump fuel into their engines at incredible rates and use special fuels. The Tesla Model S was built as a luxury car, not a dragster. I suspect that a future EV dragster using Super Capacitors or something similar will be able to be competitive with today's ICE.
So my advice to ICE fans is to be humble since all of your excuses will get clobbered one by one over the next decade or so as you get relegated to the same status as horses and sailboats - novelties but not for serious use.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

"The 2013 BMW M5 has a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 engine with 560 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission directs that power to the rear wheels."

Isn't that DCT ?

Read more: http://rumors.automobilemag.com/feature-flick-tesla-model-s-out-drags-bm...

· Fast Times (not verified) · 2 years ago

@ex-EV1 drive: Nothing desperate about my comments.
Electric motors have been around commercially for 140 years and the gasoline engine has been around commercially for 131. You can throw all the feelings you want out and belittle all you want. In the end there are only facts and these facts are A=F/m and E-mc².
I know everyone wants to get all emotional and the conspiracy theories fly, but the reality is diesel and gasoline is used because of key facts:"Energy density" please look it up and you will find liquid fuels surpass the current energy density of any battery technology. Please separate electric motor technology and energy delivery to said motors. Tesla is successful and can show this great effort due to the best engineered techniques to deliver the energy. You mention locomotive, but yet you discount that they are still using diesel to drive the electric motor. The electric motor is a more efficient energy converter compared to a combustion engine, yet the motor will ALWAYS require external energy to be powered. This is a great step, but Lithium Ion is not the future as its energy density is pathetic, but amazing compared to other battery technologies.
Regarding the drag times, please electric has as I stated above been around as long as gasoline engines and the electric motor cannot even play in the same arena in a modern drag race. The ICE engines producing those times are generating just shy of 1,000hp/Liter. That’s 8,000hp out of an 8.2liter engine. Sorry this is an energy game and though electric will have its moment it will not be the future.
To the video, I’ve been around the track all my life and have driven many cars including the Tesla and I assure you once you put a “tree” in front and these cars on a track your emotionally filled diatribe will be taken out by A=F/m and the Tesla losses no matter how much you want it to win. The "S" has 11.2#'s/hp using 245/45 all seasons to get it to the ground. The "M5" has 7.9#'s/hp using 295/35 high performance rubber. The "S" has a 41.5% power-to-weight deficit compared to the M5 and you want me to believe this video. Sorry all the math don't add up and we will soon see real videos destroying the "S".
Now in the end you can put me in whatever group you want, but I have driven the roadster and can't wait to drive the S. I almost put down money for the S two years ago when it was first announced they would take down payments for orders. I would buy a Tesla over any electric, why because they have the best engineering in the EV business. In the end there are Ford Pinto’s (not joking) that will destroy both these cars at the track, hell there are 7,000# diesel pick-ups that will blow the doors off both; it’s all about power-to-weight or A=F/m. Cheers!

· · 2 years ago

All this 0 to 100mph stuff is all pointless anyway. The legal speed limit is 85mph on a small stretch of Texas highway, 80mph elsewhere there and in Utah. It's between 65 to 75 almost everywhere else in the continental US and 60mph in Hawaii.) 0 to 60mph tests results are far more relevant as to how cars can safely accelerate on highway entrance ramps.

· · 2 years ago

@Fast Times,
I think you just repeated a few things I said about energy but thanks for the confirmation.
What do you think about Super Capacitors that have much higher Specific Power (W/kg) although not very good Specific Energy (Wh/kg)? It only has to hold 2 to 3 seconds worth of energy to drag race. I fully agree that high school physics provides all of the fundamentals needed.
Perhaps a reason your math doesn't work is that the EV has max torque across a much wider speed range than the ICE. Except with a perfect CVT, the ICE has a hard time producing its maximum torque during the whole acceleration period, while the EV has no problem with that. I know that's how Tesla got the Roadster's acceleration down below a 4 sec 0-60. How much do you figure one has to derate the ICE because of falling out of its torque band?
If you compare the amount of money that has gone into making ICE drag racers with that which has gone into EV dragsters, I think you'll see that EV drag racers essentially have not even started. It will be interesting to see if any big money sponsors ever start supporting electric dragsters. Tesla certainly isn't going to for a while and the rest of the auto industry hates EVs.
The White Zombie (1972 Datsun B210 is close to a Pinto) is closing on a 10 second 1/4 mile but, I agree that's child's play compared to where gassers are.
Do you not trust Automobile magazine? I, too, would like to see some more controlled tests.
Besides, we're talking about stock luxury sedans here anyway, not purpose-built dragsters.
Even if you don't fully believe the videos, you've got to admit the Model S is definitely in the same league as the M-5.

· Fast Time (not verified) · 2 years ago

@ ex-EV1 driver
Thank you for the rational response. We are on the same page and talking the same language as Specific Power, Specific Energy, energy density all are at play. My points are all based on the math and being an engineer by trade not watching the video. I greatly understand the torque curve of electric motors and greatly appreciate it. Please don't take my comments as dissing the Tesla S as I'm seriously on the fence on putting money down. I just do not appreciate propaganda videos and that's what I believe this is. Why, well as I stated the math don’t compute. I added points around tires as well; the reason is no matter what power you have the tire has to transfer it to the ground. The Tesla is running highly inferior tires compared to what is considered one of the best high performance DOT legal performance tires you can buy in the Michelin Pilot super sports with almost four more inches of it on the ground (x2 tires) so this adds to my dissent. I will give you in this video they do use the row your own, but this model S is the top of its game they should use what is considered the standard M5 or top of its game and that is the DCT M5. Your point on the torque being lost with the manual is true, but with the DCT the loss is almost zero. Things like this bother me as I see it all the time; magazine A says this car can do this and then you see these people come to the track and they are decimated by experienced drivers and enthusiast. It’s nothing like seeing a Lexus at the track with 10 feet of break smoke coming out the back because the advertisement said it could go on the track. There are only a few manufactures out there that build cars that can withstand a track day the M cars are one of those. In the end though they get away with it as less than 1% of buyers will ever take their car to the track. That figure is sad, because they don't know what they are missing.
Last point; I use drag racing extremes as it gives a good indication of the peak or pinnacle of engineering/ingenuity being applied. Remember at one time if you went past 100mph you would burst into flames! I could use F1 as another example and a perfect example of using electric motors for their advantages (kers), but most have no clue of the technology and level of engineering being done at the level of F1. In the end the video is what it is, but when people show up to the track they will be disappointed by what they will be beat by.
Cheers!

· · 2 years ago

You guys need to read the article before starting your arguing.

The M5 has the DCT!

The Tesla is the Performance model!

My impressions?

The Tesla impressively JUMPS off the line, and even pulls away from the M5 at the lower speeds.

The M5 has more power, and starts catching the Model S later in the run.

The Model S beat the M5 two out of three times.

I like the M5 overall styling, but I think the Model S is better looking with more refined styling.

· · 2 years ago

@Fast Time,
I don't know about your concern about the tires. I'm not sure what tires the Model S Performance comes with but if the Roadster is any indication, Yokohama bent over backwards to provide tires with excellent grip for their performance version. Even the regular version only gets less than 10K miles per rear tire because they are so soft and sticky.
It will be interesting to see how well the Model S holds up on the track. The Roadster holds its own but does tend to get warm after a few miles at full throttle. It doesn't come to any harm because the controller backs off on the max power if it gets warm. The Model S, however, has liquid cooled motor and Power Electronics Module so I would expect it to maintain full throttle for a lot longer. Its 50:50 centrally biased weight distribution should give it incredible performance on a tight track as well.
I also wouldn't worry too much about Model S drivers not being able to hold their own on a drag strip against most ICE drivers because the traction control is so optimal. The precise, instantaneous torque control of the electric motor enables much better thrust control than any human can provide. This means that your grandmother can probably beat the average macho hotshot in a souped up ICE by simply flooring the pedal on the green light.
Don't worry about sitting on the fence about the Model S too much. Even if you ordered today, you wouldn't get your car for over a year.
Personally, I can't wait to see what Tesla's next sports car will do. I'm predicting it will use the All-Wheel-Drive that they're developing for the Model X and put a lightweight body on top. Unless the ICE industry reacts quickly, this will dominate the performance world. If they add a higher-power battery as are being developed, it will be game-over for the ICE with regards to acceleration and possibly on any short track races (less than ~100 miles).

· Runarbt (not verified) · 1 year ago

+1 ex-EV1 driver

Excellent put:-)

· · 1 year ago

Oh no! Somebody let another car guy behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S and he became yet another fanboy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOdsTuaJEfc
These car mags are going to go broke if they keep ticking off their traditional sponsor base by promoting a car from a company that doesn't advertise.
'-)

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

just gonna say this... the tesla beats the m5 cause on stock tires it're not putting 500lb feet or torque to the pavement... that m5 hooks and it's over... look at the way second gear gets roasted spinning down the track.. a set of tires and a better driver and this wont even be a competition..

· · 1 year ago

@Anonymous.
I'm just gonna say this.
Less talk and more action . . . that golf cart just spanked an M5. Even if it lost in a close race against "The Ultimate Driving Machine", this tells us something.
Let's see . . . Generation 1 in its first 4 months of production versus 100 years of tweaking? What does this tell you about this technology.
Watch out, the next few years are going to be interesting.

· George Parrott (not verified) · 1 year ago

Look at the rapid evolution of flat screen TVs, both in price and performance. Or even notebook and tablet computers....the Gen 1 Model S is amazing, certainly NOT perfect, but as impressive as any generation 1 techie product I have ever seen.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

Why race 0-100mph? Who does that? Everything is either 0-60 or 1/4 at the track. No one races 0-100. WTH?

It seems the conditions were set for the Model S to win this. There are plenty of cars in the 100K range that will outperform this vehicle on a second by second basis. It's clear the Model S is targeting the BMW here but the video does look suspicious. In fact it's likely the beamer would have beaten the ModelS in a standard 1/4 mile but that condition was left out ... makes you wonder.

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