For me getting the Tesla Model S Panoramic sunroof option was a no-brainer
The Panoramic sunroof is a $2,500 option on the Model S and for me represents approximately 2.5% of my total vehicle cost. Tesla claims it blocks 98% of ultraviolet light and 81% of solar heat.
I love sunroofs, but my wife hates them. It’s always a discussion point when I’m buying a car. If it’s for me I get the sunroof, but if it’s for her we try not to. If she gets a car with a sunroof for some reason (“loaded” ones that have everything on them) then she pulls the shade over it to pretend it doesn’t exist. She dislikes the glare of the sun on her and the feeling of openness. Knowing this, I expected her to have dissatisfaction with the Model S panoramic sunroof since it does not include a pullover shade, but surprisingly she has never complained about it.
The reality is that the sunroof is so dark and so great at blocking out light that it meets my needs (more room, some outside light, openness) as well as my wife’s needs of having no glare. This is the first car I’ve owned where we’re both happy with the sunroof.
There’s a separate section of your Model S controls dedicated to the sunroof. From there you can open the sunroof by dragging on the roof itself in the picture or by sliding the blue control to the desired setting. As the roof opens, the picture moves along with it and shows progress. Everyone always thinks its cool to be able to drag your finger and watch the progress while the mechanics are also taking place.
There are 4 key positions for the sunroof but you can also open to any setting you want:
- 80% open
- 100% open
Generally you end up using only positions 1-3. 100% open is ok if you’re sunbathing or parked but it makes a lot more noise than the 80% position when you’re driving.
In addition to the controls on the large touchscreen, you can also control the sunroof through use of the right scroll wheel on your steering wheel. Select the sunroof setting and begin scrolling int the direction you want the panoramic roof to slide. A second press on the scroll wheel will close or open it without you needing to scroll. So usually you just double tap the scroll wheel if you’re looking for a quick vent or close the vent operation.
The Tesla mobile app gives owners the ability to vent or close the sunroof remotely, but not open it. This could be useful if you’re about to leave work and want to let some heat out of the car before getting in. You can also combine this with turning on the A/C to really maximize your pre-cooling efforts. The Visible Tesla app will allow you to open and close the sunroof to any setting you want directly from your computer.
The wind noise that occurs is what I’d expect based on my experience with other cars. This is impressive since the panoramic sunroof, even at 80% open, is much larger than most sunroofs. The 100% open position is the oddity since its much noisier and I don’t use that setting. 80% is like a normal sunroof being open. Opening the sunroof adds noise, but that is to be expected.
When the roof is open (not tilted) a sound baffle pops up to help with buffering wind noise while the sunroof is open. This baffle is larger than you see on most cars (to account for the large open area). I have 2 complaints with this sound baffle:
- I’m not real fond of the look of it since it stands up so much. Part of the tradeoff for the noise reduction.
- It’s made of cloth/fabric and collects bugs/pollen. Look at the the close up picture and think about me not using it very often. Its very dirty and hard to clean.
It has to be large for the size of the sunroof. It has to be fabric because its large. But the combination doesn’t work well for looks or maintenance.
Another thing that I’ve noticed on my Model S is that when the sunroof is open (vent or 80%), it rattles a bit more than I’d expect when traveling along some back roads. I’m assuming something just needs to be adjusted/tightened the next time I take it to Tesla Service.
Purchasing the optional sunroof was a no-brainer for me, but if you’re on the fence, or if you usually hate sunroofs on cars, you should take a second look at the Model S Panoramic sunroof in person before making a decision.
This is a feature you should not quickly dismiss when ordering your Model S and, unlike other features, there’s no chance they can retrofit this one after you take delivery.