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First Coast Gears: 'Motor Trend' names Tesla Model S as Car of the Year

10:28 AM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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Motor Trend has given its Car of the Year award to Tesla for its Model S electric sedan. Image provided by Tesla Motors

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Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY

In a move sure to shock the auto world, Motor Trend has named a startup company's plug-in electric vehicle as its coveted Car of the Year. The winner: Tesla's Model S sedan.

SLIDESHOW OF TESLA MODEL S AND FINAL TESLA ROADSTER

What's more, it wasn't even close: Motor Trend says it was first time time "in memory" that every judge agreed. In order to win for 2013, the Tesla had to beat luxury sedans like Lexus GS and BMW 3 Series and sports car like Porsche 911 and Subaru BRZ.

While the auto world is awash in awards, Motor Trend's nod is one of the most closely watched, along with the North American Car of the Year. The magazine didn't hold back its praise for the Tesla sedan.

"It drives like a sports car, eager and agile and instantly responsive. But it's also as smoothly effortless as a Rolls-Royce, can carry almost as much stuff as a Chevy Equinox, and is more efficient than a Toyota Prius," Motor Trend writes "By any measure, the Tesla Model S is a truly remarkable automobile, perhaps the most accomplished all-new luxury car since the original Lexus LS 400."

Tesla is the California-based automaker run by entrepreneur Elon Musk, who also is CEO of SpaceX, the rocket-launching firm. The Model S, which starts at about $57,000, is an all-electric sedan that in its longest range version is government-certified as being able to go 265 miles on a single charge.

"Our aspiration with the Model S was to show that an electric car truly can be better than any gasoline car," says Musk in a statement. "Nothing illustrates this more clearly than winning Motor Trend's Car of the Year by unanimous decision."

Motor Trend said it achieved the electric equivalent of 118 miles a gallon on a 212-mile jaunt. Yet the 4,766-pound car was able to bolt from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds. It had a top speed of 133 mph. The performance version has electric motors that put out the equal to 416 horsepower in a gas engine.

Motor Trend calls it "one of the quickest American four doors ever built."

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