That test drive was brief. Too brief. Like everyone in attendance, my time behind the wheel was limited to a few ticks over ten minutes, making it impossible to fully judge the legitimacy of the new vehicle. Although I came away impressed with the Model S’s potential, I questioned whether Tesla had cloaked the real-world functionality of its innovative new sport sedan in an elaborately choreographed press event, complete with a presidential-candidate-style cameo by the automaker’s rockstar co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk.
So after publishing my initial impressions, I rang up Tesla and made a simple request: Give us a Model S for a multi-day loan. Let us drive it the way we want to drive it, bereft of brand-minders and corporate lackeys. Let us see if the S can really hack it — through traffic, on the highway, over backroads and beyond.
Tesla agreed, and loaned us a Model S for the better part of four days. But it wasn’t just any specimen off the lot — it was Musk’s personal car.