The second generation Tesla Roadster was presented almost three years ago as a working prototype, with a promise that it would launch in 2020. This still hasn’t happened, and probably won’t for another two years or so.
Still, while enthusiasts are waiting for the Elon Musk’s company to launch the new sports car, FifthGear has revisited its review of the original Roadster from back in the day. Tiff Needell jumped behind the wheel of a green-finished example, driving it on a 150-mile (241 km) roundtrip, with a stop at the Goodwood Circuit for some fun along the way.
The Lotus Elise-based electric car has a rear-mid motor and rear-wheel drive, with 288 horsepower in the example that was reviewed. The 0 to 60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprint took 3.7 seconds, which is not bad but is nevertheless a far cry from the 1.9 seconds promised in the new Roadster, and it had a top speed electronically limited to 125 mph (201 km/h). With the battery fully charged, it could do over 200 miles (322+ km), but in the hands of a petrol head, the range dropped by around 50 miles (80 km).
With a curb weight of almost 2,900 lbs (~1,300 kg), the old Roadster featured a stiff suspension, which made every bump in the road noticeable. Also, as Needell noted, it felt heavy and quite understeer-y, but if you forced it, it would eventually oversteer.
So, did the classic Tesla Roadster, which was at the time the fastest electric vehicle on sale and carried a price tag of over £100,000 ($128,700) in the UK, manage to impress the experienced journo?