Tesla Model S Plaid - ABC Leasing

Car & Driving
The independent definitive Tesla Model S Plaid video review
How will you view?

This is a sample, showing 30 seconds of each section.

    EVolution(some text hidden)

    By Jonathan Crouch

    Ten Second Review word count: 72

    The Tesla Model S is a very complete luxury performance EV, but to create something very special, its American manufacturer has added more power to create this top Plaid version - a Model S that has gained extra speed without really sacrificing anything. It has 1,020hp, goes 200mph, gets to 62mph in under 2 seconds and costs a fraction over £100,000. The best electric car yet? Possibly. The fastest? For now, certainly.

    Background word count: 142

    Tesla specialises in going against convention. And with this car, the Model S Plaid, it does so once more. It's the ultimate version of the Model S, a car that until 2019 offered an unremarkable top-spec version featuring a 'Performance' badge. This tri-motor Plaid variant switched things up a gear when it arrived in 2020, with a level of performance that decimated the luxury EV opposition. The designation 'Plaid' comes from the parody film 'Spaceballs', released in 1987. In this movie, a spaceship reaches 'Ludicrous Speed' (a designation previously used for quick drive modes on top Teslas) and then the ultimate 'Plaid Speed' representing the pinnacle of performance. And this car aims to offer exactly that, though disappointingly, it's only offered in our market with left hand drive. In compensation though, it's claimed to be the fastest-accelerating production car in the world.

    Driving Experience word count: 469

    If like Elon Musk, you're the kind of person for whom too much is never enough, then only the top tri-motor Plaid version of the Model S will do. Musk once promised us there'd be an even faster Plaid+ variant (subsequently cancelled) and it's hard to imagine how fast that would have been because this ordinary Plaid is in every way extra-ordinary against the stopwatch. An extra motor added onto the rear axle boosts total power output to an astonishing 1,020hp, split roughly 30/70 between the front and rear axle. There's a 421hp motor at the front and two 414hp motors at the rear, these altogether generating a scarcely believable 1,420Nm of torque on tap. As a result, Tesla claims a 0-60mph time of just 1.99 seconds, which (should you be able to replicate it) would make this the world's fastest-accelerating production car. Top speed is 200mph. The only car with four or five seats that can get remotely close to this kind of pace is Porsche's Taycan Turbo GT - and that's vastly more expensive. For this kind of acceleration, you need to engage the car's provided 'Drag Strip' drive mode, which sets the car into what Tesla calls its 'Cheetah Stance', lowering the front to combat front end lift, giving the front motor the best chance of getting its torque to the tarmac. You'd hardly ever bother with that unless you were engaging in tyre-smoking test track heroics, nor would you usually concern yourself with the provided 'Track' drive setting or the system the car offers to vary the AWD set-up's torque split from front to rear. So it's good to know that even in its more ordinary public road-orientated sporty drive modes, this car remains frantically fast. Engage 'Plaid' and 60mph flashes by in 2.7s; in 'Sport' (which you'll prefer because it gives you a bit more throttle travel to play with) the sprint time is 3.7s - which is still quicker than say, Ford's fastest production model, the Mach-E GT. It's a bit of a different story if you stick to the more normal 'Chill' drive setting you'll need to get anywhere near this Model S Plaid's quoted EV drive range figure of 373 miles (21 miles less than the ordinary Dual Motor version). With 'Chill' engaged in a Model S Plaid, 60mph takes 7.3s. Stick to the fast modes and the reality of this car's performance is difficult to accurately share: there's a rollercoaster-like 'strap-in and hold-on' vibe, with instant urge that means overtakes don't really need to be planned - they just happen. And when the road opens up and your right foot flexes, the horizon streams towards you as if on fast-forward, reminding you that the Model S Plaid still holds the coveted Nurburgring Nordschliefe lap record for an electric production car.

    Pictures (High res disabled)


    Category: Compact Car