Spied! This Tesla Model S Prototype Is Packing New “Plaid” Triple-Motor Powertrain

[Photos: TFLcar via SB-Medien]

Spy photographer’s caught Tesla’s flagship during a lap.

These latest spy photos show a modified Tesla Model S P100D during a lap of the Nurburgring. The timing is a bit curious, considering Porsche just revealed their answer to Tesla’s flagship sedan in the form of the all-new Taycan earlier this month. This particular example has been lowered, with fender flares, larger wheels and track-focused tires. All those small changes and the lip spoiler show Tesla’s intent to make the Model S even more of a performance machine. After a misunderstanding between Tesla and Nurburgring officials, it also seems that the company is ready to gun for Porsche’s lap record.

For reference, the Porsche Taycan managed to run the ‘Ring in seven minutes and 42 seconds. On the 12.9-mile course, it managed a top speed over 155 mph. According to a Road & Track report, Elon Musk managed to sweet talk the Nurburgring into allowing an official record run. That run will reportedly happen on September 21.

What’s also important to note at the moment is that we could see these performance mods make their way to the production Model S in the very near future. Tesla may be mulling a package on top of offering Ludicrous Mode. Or, like Porsche, Tesla could offer these modifications as factory-installed options.

7-seat Model S?

According to Elon Musk, the Model S testing at the Nurburgring also has seven seats, for some reason:

It’s difficult to imagine how that could be the case. Nonetheless, if that is accurate than it seems Tesla is gunning to set a seven-seater record at the Nurburging, beyond just beating the Taycan.

The Nurburgring isn’t the only track Tesla sought to conquer this week, of course. The company said a high-performance Model S also set down a 1:36.555 lap at Laguna Seca during advanced R&D testing of its “Plaid” powertrain and chassis prototype. That could be what we’re seeing here as well, in which case we may see an updated high-performance Model S sooner rather than later.

Musk also said the triple-motor Plaid powertrain “is about a year away from production”, and will extend beyond the Model S. Tesla will also offer it on the Model X and the Roadster, but not the Model 3 or Model Y.

We’ll have to wait and see exactly what sort of speed that entails. So too will we have to see what Tesla’s Nurburgring run is like when it’s supposed to happen on September 21. Stay tuned for more updates!

Model S prototype photos (click to enlarge)