Tesla Model S P85D sports car is fitted with 'Insane Mode'

American electric sports car maker Tesla has introduced a new function to its range-topping model that doesn't leave you guessing about its intent.

It's officially known as "Insane Mode".

It's similar in intent to a function in other cars that's often referred to as launch control, typically a button or a sequence that produces the fastest-possible take-off from a standing start.

The West Coast upstart car company is clearly better at naming functions than it is its models, because the car to which Insane Mode has been fitted is known as the Tesla Model S P85D. Quite the mouthful.

The P85D is expected to arrive in Australia in June this year, following that was released here late in 2014 to widespread acclaim as the first all-electric sports saloon that makes practical sense.

Double motor

The newcomer will use two electric motors instead of one to generate an astonishing 515kW of power, which it gets to the ground more efficiently than its predecessor courtesy of an all-wheel-drive system.

The result is a blindingly quick 0-100km/h sprint estimated to take 3.1 seconds, faster than a Porsche 911 GT3 RS or an Audi R8 V10. Only the blistering Nissan GT-R and bona fide hypercars – think Koenigsegg or Pagani – are in the same class.

The reason the Tesla can do this is that electric motors typically make all of their prodigious torque (or pushing power) available immediately, rather than building in a linear fashion as internal combustion engines do.

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Motoring journalists often use the adjective 'neck-snapping' to describe any number of hard-accelerating sports cars. That term appears to take on an even more literal meaning in the P85D, with more than 1.0G of force reputedly developed in the first 1-2 seconds of full acceleration.

Full force

It's this tendency to push passengers well back in their seats, widen eyes and elicit choice words of astonishment that inspired a YouTube video shot by , which invited a series of unwary passengers aboard a P85D and filmed their reactions when the car leapt forward with more force than almost anything this side of a Formula 1 car.

To reinforce the point, the driver then loaded his children in the back of the car and littered the cabin with the type of detritus that strews many a car interior – drinks, phones, pens, an iPad and even a banana.

You can guess what's coming next (above) when you note that his young son is wearing a face-protecting baseball catcher's mask. No children were harmed in the making of the video, although his daughter probably should also have been issued protection, in our opinion.

It has been widely reported that several US journalists testing the car have suffered damage to their mobile phones by failing to secure them before deploying Insane Mode, such is the accelerative effect on objects in the cabin.

The Model S P85D is expected to cost around $160,000 when it arrives here in the middle of the year.

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