Currently reading: Tesla Model S: 1100bhp Plaid+ officially axed from plans
Headline-bating 520-mile hyper-saloon cancelled, with CEO Elon Musk claiming "no need" for more power
Autocar-Felix-Page
News
3 mins read
7 June 2021

The Tesla Model S and Model X have received their most substantial updates since going on sale, ushering in a radical new-look interior and the long-awaited Plaid performance powertrain.

Headed for launch in the US next month, the Model S Plaid and Model X Plaid take 1006bhp from a tri-motor electric powertrain, which in the Model S is good for a claimed 0-60mph time of 1.99sec.

The Model S Plaid will also get from 0-155mph in a quarter of a mile and top out at 200mph "with the right tyres," according to CEO Elon Musk.

The larger Model X Plaid needs 2.5sec to complete the 0-60mph sprint, but that still gives it the "quickest acceleration of any SUV".

However, the 1100bhp Plaid+ version of the Model S, which would have bumped range up from an estimated 390 miles to more than 520 miles (on the US EPA test) - more than any EV currently in production - and further cut the 0-60mph time, has been officially cancelled. 

Taking to Twitter to build anticipation for the imminent dynamic debut of the Model S Plaid, Musk said: "Plaid+ is canceled. No need, as Plaid is so good."

He called the standard Plaid the "quickest production car ever made of any kind" and confirmed a sub-2.0sec 0-60mph sprint time. To officially claim that title, the Model S Plaid will need to beat the new Rimac Nevera hypercar's 1.85sec 0-62mph time. 

 

 

The Plaid+'s cancellation comes following a month of speculation, since Tesla quietly stopped taking pre-orders for the 2022 model in May. It hasn't been publicly disclosed how many customers had placed deposits. 

The Plaid powertrain is described by Tesla as "beyond ludicrous," in reference to the Ludicrous Mode function that gives its cars stand-out acceleration capabilities. 

The update also brings new battery technology for improved range and efficiency. Precise technical details are yet to be confirmed, but new thermal architecture gives faster charging and gives "more power and endurance in all conditions".

Inside, the Model S and Model X have been completely overhauled, with the old vertically oriented touchscreen making way for a new 17.0in widescreen display that offers "exceptional responsiveness" and can be tilted from left to right to give easier access for passengers or drivers as needed.

There's also a new, separate 8.0in infotainment touchscreen mounted at the rear of the centre console, giving back-seat passengers access to various entertainment and comfort functions.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Read our review

Car review

In theory, this all-electric luxury car looks a hit. So is it in practice?

Back to top

Perhaps most notable is the introduction of a new steering wheel design that's seemingly modelled on those used to steer aircraft. Tesla calls it a "stalkless steering yoke," having done away with the conventional driving-mode and indicator stalks, relocating these controls to the large new central touchscreen.

The car "guesses drive direction based on what obstacles it sees, context and nav map," according to Musk, but this can be manually overridden. 

This device has been deemed legal for use in the UK and Europe, but a conventional round steering wheel will also be available. 

Software updates include the infotainment system being upgraded with a processing power of 10 teraflops, which means the Tesla Arcade gaming function is now comparable in terms of functionality with modern gaming consoles.

A 22-speaker, 960-watt audio system is equipped as standard and new microphones have been fitted to offer active noise-cancelling. 

Deliveries of the new cars will get under way in the UK in 2022, with prices starting at £83,980 and £90,980 respectively for the entry-level Long Range versions of the Model S and Model X.

Prices climb to £110,980 for the Plaid versions of each.

READ MORE

Tesla Model S review

Tesla Model X review

Join the debate

Comments
44
Add a comment…
Peter Cavellini 7 June 2021

The question is , do we need to go this fast?, over the past few years the engineering to get as much horsepower out of an engine has risen to the point that your average hot hatch has more power than a Ferrari of 30 yrs ago!, now with EV power, we're getting cars with one, two thousand horsepower and obscene amounts of instant torque, which is amazing, but, has this taken the fun out of making a char going fast?, as has been said, you can't use all the power, you will have to be careful when and where conditions you get the need for speed, nought to sixty?...boring!, by the very fact we can make collection off parts go so quick is commendable, but, we will never ever make a road car beat one second.

Bob Cholmondeley 7 June 2021

A sub 2 second (allegedly) 0 to 60 time in a 5-seat saloon, serves no purpose other than something for owners to boast about. There are already plenty of vars available with such a high level of performance that they cannot be safely exploited on the public road, for anything more than very brief squirts at full throttle. This car is ridiculous, just to stroke Musky's ego.

 

I've never said this about any previous car but, this is the hosrepower race gone too far.

Folsom 7 June 2021

The Good : Model S is a legend. Started the whole thing that has the industry turned upside down. Nailed modern and sleek looks and has aged well - amazing for a new manufacturer. Was fast in a way that nothing at the price was. One pedal driving is great in traffic, and the large central interior screen has been copied by many including the big daddy, the Mercedes S-Class. A very significant car in automotive history.

The Bad : Now is the unenviable task of keeping that momentum. The Model 3 does enough for most buyers and the established luxury marques have enetred the market doing luxury and refinement better. The Plaid may still outperform anything at its price point but the limitations of the design mean it will not be the world's fastest car without need for an asterisk. The Model S has had a great run, but like all things, time has moved on.

The Ugly : Cancellation of the "Plaid +" version is now following a pattern of over- promising and under-delivering. The Cybertruck is by design limiting itself to a niche following, the 'Semi' will play in a market where 1 million mile reliability is king, and transportation has a developed matrix of routes around quick refueling stations designed for the vehicle size and driver needs. Methinks they're simply trying too hard at Tesla. Its not easy second time around - just ask the Mercedes CLS Gen2 designers...

Find an Autocar car review