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USA: Tesla Model S first drive: Quiet satisfaction

Tesla gave CNET a chance to get behind the wheel of the Model S on the same day it began customer deliveries of the new electric car.

FREMONT, Calif.–Lined up before me were 10 examples of the Model S, newly off the production line, the result of years of investment and development. This silent herd awaited a group of journalists eager to finally get their hands on the wheel and foot on the accelerator. We were here to see if Tesla had fulfilled its promise of building an electric car that could compete with those from likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.
Certainly from the exterior, the car looked desirable. Although it’s billed as a sedan, a hatch sat between the Model S’ big rear fenders, opening up a large cargo space with optional rear-facing seats. Its smooth, sensuous lines and minimal exterior adornment spoke of expensive design.
Body-flush door handles might seems like a styling gimmick, but they actually served the purpose of improving the car’s aerodynamics. Tesla says the Model S makes an astoundingly good .24 coefficient of drag, better than even the Toyota Prius.
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