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Tesla Model S review: A good first impression

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — I was never that impressed with the Tesla Roadster, the $100,000 two-seat sports car that so many people saw as the beginning of an electric car revolution.
The Roadster was a deft parlor trick, I figured. It’s easy to make an exciting long-range electric car if you don’t bother to making it affordable or practical.

Now comes Tesla’s next trick. The Model S sedan, available with seating for up to seven, is now on sale. Once it’s in full production, prices will range from $50,000 to roughly $100,000.
I have driven the $100,000 version of the car, albeit it briefly, and I’m amazed. The car would seem worth the price, or maybe more, if it were powered by a gasoline engine. (Cheaper versions will be largely the same but with shorter driving ranges.) If there’s sleight of hand here, I haven’t been able to find it yet.
I’d been in the Model S before — Tesla (TSLA) chief executive Elon Musk took me on a test ride through lower Manhattan back in November — but, even so, the view from the driver’s seat was striking. Wherever possible, knobs and physical gauges have been replaced by computer screens.
There isn’t even a “Start” button. If you have the Tesla’s car-shaped key fob in your pocket and your butt is in the driver’s seat the car — quite reasonably — assumes you want it to turn on. So it does.


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