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Tesla’s Model S P85D just broke Consumer Reports’ ratings system

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NEW YORK -- Tesla's new Model S P85D is so good it broke Consumer Reports' scoring system.

Consumer Reports rates vehicles on a zero-to-100 scale, but Tesla's high-performance, all-wheel-drive car scored 103.

"Consumer Reports had to make changes to its scoring methodology to account for the car's exceptionally strong performance," the magazine said in a statement.

To bring the score back in line, the P85D was given less credit for areas in which the Model S already beat other cars but, in this version, simply exceeded on those measures even more.

For instance, it was given less credit for improving its acceleration and efficiency which, in other versions of the Model S, already outperformed other cars.

Once those changes were made, the P85D earned the top score of 100, making it the first car ever to earn that score.

Two years ago, a Tesla Model S earned a near-perfect score of 99. That car had less power than the P85D, however, and didn't have all-wheel-drive.

In the magazine's tests, the P85D accelerated from a stop to 60 miles an hour in 3.5 seconds. That's slightly slower than the 3.2 seconds Tesla claims for the car, but it still makes the P85D the quickest car the magazine has ever tested. (The second-quickest was the Porsche 911, which the magazine's test drivers got from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds.)

The all-electric Tesla also got the equivalent of 87 miles per gallon in efficiency tests.

At a total price of $127,820, the Model S P85D wasn't just the highest-scoring car Consumer Reports has ever tested. It was also the most expensive, said Jake Fisher, head of auto testing for Consumer Reports.

The 100-point score doesn't mean the Tesla Model S P85D is, literally, perfect.

Especially given its price, the materials in the Tesla were not as nice as those in other six-figure cars. It was also louder and didn't ride as nicely.

Also, because the car is purely electrically powered, long road trips could be less convenient than they would be in a gasoline-powered car, the magazine noted.

The next-highest score after the Tesla Model S is the Mercedes-Benz S550, a full-sized luxury sedan. Consumer Reports tests cars on its own track in Connecticut and also on public roads and highways.

This isn't the first time the Model S has defied ordinary measures. The Model S has earned 5-star crash safety ratings from the federal government but, according to Tesla, ordinary safety tests weren't enough. In rollover tests, the car wouldn't flip even in the hardest turns and "special measures" had to be used to get it to turn over. During roof crush tests, the roof-crushing machine broke before the car's roof did, according to the automaker.