One way to improve on the Model S’ silent ride by foaming some of the hollow space around the wheel wells: Tore up the cargo area
Should definitely come standard as it seems a simple measure that emphasizes one of the Model S key features. I couldn’t stand people telling me that the Model S is silent at low speeds, but that at higher speeds it’s louder than other high-end cars. What a shame.
Tesla used to offer an Interior Sound Reduction Kit (installed) for the Roadster, which ranged from $1600 to $3800 depending on the model and the amount of material to be installed. This was removed from the store in early 2013.
Comparing a 2016 Model S to a 2012 Model S, it’s clear the cars are quieter than early models. The 2021 S is even quieter with active noise cancellation.
I measured noise levels, comparing my MS with my wife's Lexus GS 450h. Over mixed rough/smooth tar seal, hills/flat, the Lexus was marginally more quiet. Of course, a lot depends on the tyre choice. Would be nice to have a "quietest Tyre" rating
The tires play an important role in sound deadening. My 2017 S came with tires equipped with a foam layer around the inside that absorb road noise and the softer rubber thread also serves to keep the car quiet and ride smoother.
I actually think my Model S is a lot more noisy than my 2008 Acura MDX was, especially at highway speeds. At lower speeds (below 35-40MPH) I think the tesla might be slightly quieter. However, since most of my time is interstate driving it's pretty noticeable that this could be a much quieter car. Feels like most of the sound comes from the wheel wells... so perhaps more sound deadening in those areas and around the trunk hatch which acts like a resonance chamber (common problem with hatch backs)
For me the MS seems similar to the Lexus LS460 at speed, one of the quietest cars made. Most of the noise heard is wind (on both cars). Wind noise might be reduced with double-pane glass (used on a few expensive cars). This would adds considerable weight and expense. I've also talked to many other MS owners, and haven't heard a single complaint about the noise level - usually the opposite - they can't believe how quiet the MS is.
That said, it may be the one user referenced above had the Tesla sound insulation installed incorrectly, custom noisy tires, or some other issue unique to that car.
I'm sure it's possible to further reduce the noise levels, but Tesla has done an outstanding job at making it a very quiet car.