For the first time ever, Automobile Magazine has named an all-electric vehicle as its "Car of the Year" for 2013.
Citing its sleek design and high performance, Automobile Magazine said Tesla's Model S luxury sedan beat out gasoline-powered cars like the Subaru BRZ and the Porsche Boxster.
"It's the performance that won us over," Editor-in-Chief Jean Jennings said in the magazine's January 2013 issue. "The crazy speed builds silently and then pulls back the edges of your face. It had all of us endangering our licenses."
The Model S can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.3 seconds, making it as fast as the gas-guzzling 470-horsepower Dodge Charger. In a drag race with the 560-horsepower BMW M5, the Model S won. The editors were equally wowed by the sporty suspension and handling of the Model S.
Besides performance, Automobile Magazine also praised the Model S for its minimalist interior design. The car has no ignition switch; it turns on when the driver sits down. Other features are controlled by a seventeen-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard. "It reminds me of the first time I used an iPhone," associate web editor Ben Timmins said.
Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors was co-founded by PayPal creator Elon Musk in 2003. The development and production of the Model S sedan was funded in part through a $465 million loan the company recieved from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009. The company plans to start repaying the loan early.
"Winning Automobile Magazine's 'Automobile of the Year' award is an important milestone for Tesla because it underscores our goal to build a great car, not just a great electric car," Musk said in a statement. "Winning this award is great recognition of what we've accomplished as a company, and we're thrilled to receive this endorsement from one of the industry's most respected authorities."
Watch video, courtesy of Automobile Magazine, below: