Are you ready to go “Plaid”?
A few months ago, Tesla dropped the most insane version of the Model S we’ve seen yet — the triple-motor “Plaid” option. Now the company is doubling down, not only offering the most comprehensive overhaul in that car’s history, but also expanding the high-performance lineup to the Model X crossover as well.
Let’s start with the Model S changes, though. The company opened up with more details during its quarterly earnings call Wednesday, including updates both inside and out. The exterior changes are fairly subtle, at least with the more “mundane” versions. The Plaid (and new Plaid+ — more on that in a moment) will likely get some sportier elements. Inside, the car sees a completely new steering wheel, if you can call it that. The new design eschews stalks entirely, relegating all the related functions to the steering wheel. It looks cool, but we’ll leave it to owners to determine how practical that actually is, if the element actually makes it into production.
In the grand spirit of new product infomercials, that’s not all. The updated Model S also gets a large, horizontally-mounted 17-inch display. It’s akin to what you’d find in the Model 3 and Model Y, in a fairly crisp 2200 x 1300 resolution. Tesla also says the car has “10 teraflops” of onboard processing power to actually make in-car gaming possible. If that’s actually true, its performance would be more or less on par with the new-generation gaming consoles — a point the company is all too keen to point out in its marketing. Exact details on that feature, however, are a bit vague beyond the fact that you can game from the front or the rear.
Other thoughtful updates include multi-device Bluetooth and wireless charging, as well as USB-C. An available 22-speaker, 960-watt stereo system offers noise-cancelling capability, which would put the Model S on par with some seriously high-end luxury car systems.
Multiple “Plaid” models
Tesla’s hammering the performance specs here, though. Beyond the dual-motor $79,990 Long Range, the company seems to have dropped the Performance from the Model S lineup. Instead, they’re offering the base Plaid as the next step up. There’s quite a price gulf, with the next model starting at $119,900. Bear in mind, these prices are before any available tax incentives. That nets you 1,020 horsepower, Tesla says, as well as a 0-60 time in the 1.99 second range. Yep, not 2 seconds — 1.99. We have to be precise here, though your neck may not tell the difference when it snaps on the first acceleration run. As for range, the Plaid manages 390 miles, which you can cover at a top speed of 200 mph.
Then there’s the “Plaid+”, which is basically the Plaid on steroids. Forget 1,020 horsepower. Now we’re talking “1,100+” horsepower. Naturally, the EV automaker claims the “quickest 0-60 and 1/4-mile acceleration of any production car ever”. No doubt, those are claims aimed not just at hypercars, but the Porsche Taycan and Lucid Air as well.
For $139,990, Tesla claims this Model S Plaid will get a range of 520 miles on a charge or more. 0-60 times are less than 1.99 seconds, of course, though the company fails to specifically quote that time.
Tesla says the Plaid will be available in March, while the Plaid+ will make its way to customers later this year.
More on the Model X Plaid
Step over to Tesla’s largest crossover, and it’s more of the same mind-bending numbers. The Tesla Model X Long Range (with 360 miles of range) is still available, with prices starting at $89,990. The tri-motor Model X Plaid, though, steps that price up to $119,990. Thanks to the extra shove to 1,020 horsepower, Tesla claims a 2.5 second 0-60 time, which blitzes every other SUV out there. Top speed is limited to 163 mph, but that hardly matters. What’s more critical is the range, which drops to a still-substantial 340 miles with the higher performance version.
As far as features are concerned, the Model X more or less mirrors its sedan cousin, just with a higher price tag. There’s no Plaid+ version for the X either, but I suspect that will change in due time. Regardless of which senior Tesla you pick (either the S or the X), full-self driving capability is a $10,000 option. A five-seat layout is standard for the X, while a six-seat layout is $6,500, or a seven-seat option is $3,500.
The Tesla Model X Plaid should be available in April, according to the company’s configurator site.