Let’s get the big numbers out of the way first: the biggest update to the Model S since its launch back in 2012 sees the four-door saloon get a tri-motor powertrain with 1020hp and 1050lb-ft of torque. Tesla states that maximum power is produced all the way from 80mph to 200mph.
It uses a single-speed gearbox to deliver 0-60mph in 1.99 seconds (more on that in a minute) and will go on to a top speed of 200mph – or at least it will when the software is updated. Oh, and you’ll be needing the 21 inch wheels to achieve that speed, too.
Now while we’re being pedantic, it’s worth pointing out that the quoted 0-60mph time was set by Tesla using a substance called ‘VHT’, which makes asphalt extremely sticky. You can read all about it over on Motor Trend, whose journalists have already had a go. In the real world it’s still fast and will run 10-second quarter miles, but it’s just not as fast as Tesla claims.
Powering the Model S Plaid is a 100kWh battery which is a heavily revised version of the 104kWh battery in the Model S Performance. It should have better performance over repeated heavy use, rivalling the Porsche Taycan which can do full-bore starts all day long and not overheat.
In terms of range, the US EPA system rates the Model S Plaid at 348 miles, which is apparently a realistic figure. On the WLTP cycle this could be more still, as there’s more urban-style driving included on the European test. Using the Supercharger network will see 187 miles added in just 15 minutes, so it’s a genuine continent muncher – if that’s what you need.
Chassis-wise, the Plaid gets standard air suspension and adaptive dampers as well as larger brakes than the standard cars. Driving modes, including Sport and Drag Strip, tighten things up to make the most of the car’s abilities despite its heft.
On the inside Tesla has made updates across the board, with the new dashboard the most obvious change. The infotainment system is controlled by a gargantuan centrally positioned landscape screen. Gone is a regular steering wheel, replaced with a multifunction yolk – something Tesla has touted in concepts and prototypes for some time now.
If you’re keen to get your mitts on one, the bad news is that you’re going to have to wait until later in 2022 before it’ll reach the UK. Prices are competitive in the field of ultra-powerful electric four-door sports cars, with the Plaid starting at £118,980.