Tesla Model S Plaid: electroshock!

It took more than a year and a half for the most powerful Model S ever designed to finally cross the Atlantic and land on French soil. So, is the Plaid as spectacular as we want to believe? Here is our review!

The Model S Plaid is 2 novelties in one: first of all a new generation of Model S which will be available also in Great Autonomy with a slightly redesigned design (appearance of air intake on the front bumper, new headlights and lights, and a new rear bumper), and above all, we’ll talk about it later, a new interior.

But it’s also this new Plaid version, a bit like Tesla’s RS. The Plaid is to the Model S what the Performance is to the Model 3, says the ultra-sporty version, and even hyper-sporty otherwise!

Good to know: anticipate the purchase and sale.

It is possible to know the sale or trade-in value of your vehicle thanks to the auto Turbo rating of your Tesla Model S, the alternative to the Argus rating.

And the spec sheet speaks for itself. 1,020 hp, 1,400 Nm of torque, 0-100 km/h in 2.1 seconds (no you’re not dreaming, it’s three tenths less than a Bugatti Chiron!), we are in the extraordinary, alone the all-new Lucid Air Sapphire can compete in production cars.

Aesthetically, however, nothing distinguishes the Model S Plaid from the Model S Long Range, or almost nothing! Only the small carbon spoiler on the top of the trunk and the small logo symbolizing the Plaid pattern on the back betray the extraordinary character of this boosted version.

Besides, many of you are wondering the reason for this totally improbable name for a car! I will reveal its origin to you, and it is like the bubbling Elon Musk, the sulphurous boss of Tesla.

An undercover hypercar!

The name Plaid comes from Elon Musk’s passion for Star Wars, but also its parody by Mel Brooks: The Mad Space Story. The director makes fun of – among other things – the light speed sequences from Star Wars by adding the Ludicrous speed (which will give its name to the “Sport +” mode of the previous Tesla, and a higher level the mode “totally stupid speed” !

In the latter, the passage to light speed is symbolized by a kaleidoscope which resembles bedspreads (plaids) with Scottish motifs. Estimate that his new model starts at the speed of light as in La Folle Histoire de l’Espace, he took up this term plaid!

Interior architecture…

It is therefore inside that we find the biggest change since the cabin has been completely redesigned by taking up the plush design of that of the Model 3 (in particular by adding a digital speedometer behind the steering wheel). We therefore find this idea of ​​an ultra-sleek architecture, with zero buttons… Or almost. Because if we note the disappearance of the stalks, however, the controls for the electric windows and door opening remain ! It will be difficult to do more minimalist.

The functions are therefore even more concentrated on the huge central touch screen which grows further from 15 ” to 17 ”, it’s gigantic in a car. And that’s not all since he is now tiltable horizontally.

It can be tilted electrically to the left if the driver is alone and wants to have a better view of the information, or central so that everyone understands the rear seats authorized to consult it, or to the left towards the front passenger if the latter this or this one wants to have fun with it without distracting the driver. Unfortunately I find the inclination too low for it to be anything other than a not really useful gadget.

which is much more this is the new interface, via an update on all Tesla, which takes on particular meaning on this giant screen. It surprises with its fluidity (remember that the Model S’s on-board computer is now as powerful as the Playstation 5), and its navigation worthy of an iPad Pro with windows whose size can be varied and placed where you want on the screen. The variety of functions and information provided by this on-board computer is also increasing, and all this with an ease of navigation that sends other car manufacturers even further back to the Middle Ages of computing.

Among the novelties we note the arrival of the Apple Music app which joins Spotify and Tidal in the musical platforms managed natively in the interface (which will delight iPhone owners who subscribe to it sinceApple CarPlay is not present in Teslas), and especially in the video game section of… Steam, the PC game download platform. In other words you could start a game on your PC at home and continue it in your Tesla (while you wait at a compressor for example)!

Also note the presence of Disney + in the video part. Which is not trivial sincea new screen is also appearing in the Model S, in the back between the seats. It allows you to adjust the air conditioning for the rear seats, listen to music, or just watch videos by using the platforms offered on the main screen: Netflix, Youtube, Twitch and therefore now Disney +. I’m not drawing you a picture on the interest of the thing to occupy your children during travels! Suffice to say that other manufacturers are light years away from such connectivity..

Immediate take off

But what dresses the look the most is the new Yoke-shaped steering wheel, the steering sticks, traditional on planes, but totally anachronistic on a car. And I’ll admit it, before taking it in hand I had a fairly detailed idea, even wondering if I was going to be able to use it. And there, surprise, after a few laps and an extremely quick adaptation period, I loved his grip. It’s certainly a little disturbing at first but very quickly revolutionary once you understand a comment to take advantage of it. In particular the grip when you place the palms of your hands on the stumps, a more restful position than usual car grips the steering wheel less than with a traditional hoop. If allowed, it could even drive one-handed as long as the grip is better.

And since I had read a lot of remarks in the USA that this Yoke was really not practical for manoeuvres, I hastened to test it in conditions… Well yes, at first it’s disturbing, but again once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s no more complicated than with a traditional steering wheel..

In the end, I must confess that not only I loved the Yoke but in the end I couldn’t do without it and when I got back to my car I missed its grip. And if, given the comments of my colleagues, this does not suit everyone, know thatit is not imposed by Tesla and that you can always choose a classic steering wheel on the new Model S.

Space Mountain!

But what I expected the most was obviously the accelerations, what am I saying, the catapult launches of the Plaid. 2.1 seconds from 0 to 100 km/hit’s hard to imagine what you can feel, and if it’s far from being the first car with more than 1,000 hp that I’ve tried, it’s the first with such a low time.

To find out, everything happens – obviously – on the screen: you select the driving mode (Eco, normal, Sport) by trying hard on the Plaid box. Direction, suspensions, maximum power, the car is in configuration. There remains the Dragster box to check (yes, yes!!!). This function preheats the battery to allow repeated stopped starts without it going into degraded mode as was the case on the first Teslas. Please note that it can take up to 8 minutes when the battery is cold..

Then just press launch and a menu will appear explaining to you Launch control procedure. It is quite classic: while on the screen of the speedometer a small animation indicates that everything is ready, you press the brake with your left foot, then while maintaining the braking on accelerates fully with your right foot. All that remains is to release the brake and there….

This is the apocalypse! Those who have experienced the Space Moutain start-up at Disneyland Paris once in their life must have vaguely understood what it feels like ! With one major difference, we have the steering wheel in hand. Your head crashes violently against the back of the seat, you find it hard to hold the steering wheel, and like in Star Wars (like the name “Plaid” is not so badly chosen) the decor around you becomes simple lines of color.

And to reinforce the effect, an animation on the speedometer reproduces the “plaid light speed” mode of Crazy Space History, it’s absolutely brilliant. But not even the time to realize what’s going onyou must already climb on the brakes because, yes, barely time to read this sentence and you are already at more than 100 km/h!
You come out of it physically exhausted, with your hair dressed on your head, and, above all, with a blissful smile! Many won’t agree, but to me that’s worth it the €138,990 of the Model S Plaid.

Especially since out of Dragster mode, the S Plaid is also a formidable supercar on small winding roads. Its steering is very lively, it does not roll without being a plank of wood, its specific chassis is even more stable than the traditional Model S, and its grip is absolutely incredible for a car that displays 2.162 kg on the scale (when its electric competitors are between 2,370 and more than 2,500 kg).

And it’s one of the fastest electrics in the world sinceit is limited to 280 km/h and as an option – a little pettiness in the German manufacturer’s way – to 322 km/h. And for the grumpy people who will answer me that at this speed the battery is drained in no time, I will remind them thata Bugatti Chiron at full speed empties its tank in 10 minutes. Moreover, speaking of autonomy, the Model S Plaid offers 600 km (WLTP) against 634 for a classic Swhich, given the performance, is still pretty crazy.

Tesla Model S Plaid Datasheet
Model tested: Tesla Model S Plaid
Dimensions L x W x H 5.02 / 1.99 / 1.43m
Wheelbase 2.96m
Storage volume 798 l (+ 89 at the front)
Unloaded weight 2.162 kilograms
Powerful 1,034 channels
Drums about 95kWh
(lithium ion)
Autonomy (WLTP) 600 kilometers
Pair 1,400 Nm
0 to 100 km/h 2.1s
Max speed 280 km/h (322 km/h unrestrained)
CO2 rate 0g/km
Prices 138.990 €

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