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Tesla Model S Plaid

by Drew HardinSeptember 20, 2021
Elon Musk has never been shy about the capabilities of his vehicles, so it comes as no surprise that Tesla positions the all-wheel-drive Model S Plaid as ‘the best car to drive, and the best car to be driven in.’

In the company’s words, the $129,990 Tesla Model S Plaid is ‘beyond ludicrous,’ with a new, three-motor powertrain producing a combined 1,020 horsepower, 0 to 60 times of 1.99 seconds, and 9-second quarter-mile sprints. It’s rated as delivering a 398 mile driving range, though that’s figured in a typical EPA test regimen. Given that buyers of the Model S Plaid are likely in it for the car’s performance potential, driving this car to its potential will certainly mean commensurately less range. Other models like the even more range conscious Model S Long Range can go an estimated 405 miles using dual motors producing 670 horsepower.

Recently, a Model S Plaid was dragstrip tested by Motor Trend in an attempt to independently verify Tesla’s claimed sub-2-second 0 to 60 time. They were successful in doing so on a surface fully-prepped with VHT, a resin-based compound typically used at dragstrips. On asphalt without a sticky coating of VHT, the Plaid took 2.07 seconds, making it the quickest production car that publication ever tested.

The Model S has been facelifted for 2022 with new front and rear fascia and fender bulges to fit wider wheels and tires. The new look continues inside with a more spacious cabin and an all-new interior design, featuring an aircraft-style yoke to replace the conventional steering wheel. ‘No stalks, no shifting’ to distract from the pure driving experience, says Tesla.

In the center of the dashboard is a 17-inch, landscape-oriented cinematic display that controls the navigation, infotainment, and tri-zone climate controls. The rear seat has been redesigned with extra head- and legroom for three passengers, and a stowable center armrest has storage compartments and wireless charging. The rear seat also folds flat to accommodate lengthy cargo. There’s a video monitor in the rear of the front armrest; Tesla says the Model S has up to 10 teraflops of processing power, enabling console-like in-car gaming. Wireless controller capability allows game play from any seat.

Tesla owners can take advantage of more than 25,000 Supercharger stations globally. On a Supercharger, the Plaid can charge at up to 250 kW, which has the capability to 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes.

The Model S is equipped with front-, side-, and rear-facing cameras to provide a 360-degree view around the car. In addition there are 12 ultrasonic sensors to assist in the car’s self-driving features, which include Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, Summon, and AutoPark. Over-the-air software updates enable instantaneous upgrades as they become available.