Tesla’s taken another step forward on performance.
On paper, there’s no denying the brand new Tesla Model S Plaid is a performance beast. Last night, though, we had another opportunity to actually see it in action, as CEO Elon Musk did an acceleration run on the test loop right outside the company’s Fremont, California factory last night. With 1,020 horsepower, a quoted 200 mph top speed and sub-2 second 0-60 time (not to mention a 9.23 second quarter-mile time), the Plaid aims to move the whole game forward not just among its main rivals, but to show just what sort of performance electric cars can achieve.
Here’s the thing, though: Tesla knows it can’t get away with just fitting another electric motor — as automakers in the old days would have packed a big engine into its mainstream models — and call it a day. As direct rivals to its flagship sedan crop up year by year, the company gave its aging Model S a much needed revamp, offering updated interior styling and technology to go with the sheer performance.
Headline interior changes include an updated 17-inch infotainment screen driven by substantially more powerful hardware allowing movies and video games to play at 60 frames per second (with another screen in the rear), steering “yoke” (replacing the standard wheel), a new 22-speaker premium audio system with over-the-air update capability and a diffused HVAC system that eschews traditional vents, offering a much cleaner interior look.
Performance, battery size, range and price: How the Tesla Model S Plaid stacks up
At $129,990 to start (before destination, taxes, fees and so on), the Tesla Model S Plaid is a significant hit to your wallet. However, even against its main rivals it still comes out as a relative performance bargain, in most cases. Here’s a closer look at how it comes together (on paper) against the Porsche Taycan and its platform-mate Audi e-tron GT, as well as the forthcoming Lucid Air and Mercedes-Benz EQS.
On those last two, there’s still more information pending. The Lucid Air has yet to reveal all the details on its base “Pure” model (due out by 2023), while we have yet to see range or price figures for the EQS.
By the specs:
|Tesla Model S Plaid||1,020 hp||1.99 sec||100 kW||390 miles||$129,990|
|Tesla Model S Long Range||~420 hp (not disclosed)||3.7 sec||100 kW||412 miles||$79,990|
|Audi RS e-tron GT||637 hp||3.9 sec||93.4 kWh||232 miles||$107,100|
|Audi e-tron GT||522 hp||3.1 sec||93.4 kWh||238 miles||$99,900|
|Mercedes-Benz EQS580||516 hp||4.1 sec||107.8 kWh||TBA||TBA|
|Mercedes-Benz EQS450||329 hp||5.5 sec||107.8 kWh||TBA||TBA|
|Porsche Taycan Turbo S||750 hp||2.6 sec||93.4 kWh||192 miles||$185,000|
|Porsche Taycan Turbo*||670 hp||3.0 sec||93.4 kWh||201 miles||$150,900|
|Porsche Taycan 4S*||522 hp||3.8 sec||79.2 kWh**||199 miles||$103,800|
|Porsche Taycan (base)*||402 hp||5.1 sec||79.2 kWh**||200 miles||$79,900|
|Lucid Air Dream Edition||1,080 hp||2.3 sec||113.0 kWh||503 miles||$169,000|
|Lucid Air Grand Touring||800 hp||3.0 sec||113.0 kWh||517 miles||$139,000|
|Lucid Air Touring||620 hp||3.5 sec||TBA||406 miles||$95,000|