Pros: Combines electric propulsion with high performance; long range between charges; an exciting entry into the EV world

Cons: Not many Tesla dealers for service support; cramped cabin; Lotus-based styling not quite unique enough

What's new: The 2011 Tesla Roadster received several revisions in what ended up being its final model year. In addition to a revised front fascia and a new rear diffuser, the convertible also added an available backup camera and a larger touchscreen for the navigation system.

Overview:

The Tesla Roadster came out for the 2008 model year. The fully electric sports car is based on the Lotus Elise and marked Tesla's first entry into the automotive world. Featuring rear-wheel drive and two seats, the Tesla Roadster offered an estimated range of around 200 miles from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

All Tesla Roadster models were powered by an electric motor that could be recharged in as little as three and a half hours using a 220-volt charger. Initial Tesla Roadster models produced 248 horsepower, while the Sport trim -- added in 2010 -- was tuned to 288 hp. Although those numbers may not seem big, the Tesla's small size meant that Sport models could reach 60 mph in under six seconds.

The 2011 Tesla Roadster started at $109,000 before shipping. The base price of the high-performance Tesla Roadster Sport was $128,500. In addition to more power, Sport models included adjustable suspension, lighter alloy wheels and low-profile tires for improved grip.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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