The choice used to be simple. Need a car that can mix it up on the track and zip you to work in absolute comfort the next morning? The BMW M5 was the go-to sports saloon. Then Tesla came out with the performance-minded Model S P85 and it converted many a motorhead into a volthead.
So we’ll pose the question. We found two late-model competitors – a 2013 Tesla Model S P85 (not a P85D) and this 2014 BMW M5 – and we want to know, if it were your money, which would you buy?
Those looking for neck-snapping performance might be best served by dialing up Elon Musk and ordering a 691 horsepower dual-motor Model S P85D. For everybody else – permitting you can afford one – there’s the now-discontinued P85.
Under the skin, the racy Model S packs a 310kW AC induction motor and 85kWh lithium-ion battery pack, capable of walloping 416 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque.
That tremendous grunt gets shuttled to the rear wheels through a single-speed direct-drive transmission, which allots for an incredible all-electric zero to 60 mph sprint of just 4.4 seconds.
Keep the go-pedal pressed down and you’ll be through the quarter mile in 12.6 seconds. However weighing in at 4647 pounds, the P85 is well over 200 pounds heftier than its Bavarian rival.
The svelte M5 puts up some mighty impressive numbers as well. Under the hood, BMW has outfitted the current 5-Series range topper with a bombastic 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. The net result of those eight whizzing pistons is 560 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque, put to the blacktop through BMW’s stellar seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox (or six-speed manual).
Zero to 60 mph sprints are disposed of in a scant 4.3 seconds, and the quarter mile takes a familiar 12 seconds. Sit in either car for any span of time and you’ll realize your behind the wheel of something truly special.
So there you have it, a luxurious apple and an exquisite orange that can get you down a drag strip or around a track in a hurry. If you had to front the bill, which would it be?