Remember those modified Tesla Model S prototypes lurking around the Nürburgring last year? They looked significantly more mean than your typical Model S Performance. And now we know they didn't just look mean. The company announced during its "Battery Day" presentation that it will launch the Model S Plaid at the end of next year with some truly incredible numbers.
The only thing more insane than Ludicrous is Plaid.
Arrives late 2021
— Tesla (@Tesla) September 22, 2020
Unlike other Model S sedans, the Plaid gets three motors. The exact layout wasn't given, but we would expect dual motors at the rear for torque vectoring. We do know that all three motors make a lot of power, more than 1,100 horses. The company estimates that the Plaid will be able to do 0-60 in under 2 seconds, and the quarter-mile in under 9 seconds. Furthermore, the company has done testing at Laguna Seca, and the current fast time with the car is 1 minute 30.3 seconds. During the presentation, it was suggested they could shave off another 3 seconds. That would make it about as fast as the current production car record holder, the McLaren Senna, which lapped the track in the hands of Motor Trend in 1 minute 27.62 seconds. As for the Nürburgring, Tesla hasn't said anything yet. Besides outright power, Tesla says the Plaid will have an electric range of more than 520 miles.
Some of these claims are, surely not coincidentally, a close match to claims Lucid is making about its Air sedan, especially the "quicker than quick" three-motor version that was teased out earlier in the day. The Air shown in the video apparently has done the quarter-mile in 9.62 — and aims to do better — and three Lucid motors are capable of 670 horsepower per, meaning the car could theoretically sport over 2,000 horsepower.
The trailer Tesla showed didn't reveal much about what the Model S Plaid looks like. What we could see showed a big rear spoiler, like what we saw on prototypes last year. The fenders might be a bit wider, and there may still be a bit of diffuser leftover from the prototypes. But in the glimpses we could see, it seems slightly less intense than what we've previously seen.
The first Plaids will be delivered late next year, but you can put in your order for one right now. Not surprisingly, the Model S Plaid is not cheap. It costs $139,990, or $141,190 with destination charge. That's about $50,000 more than a Model S Performance. That price also splits the difference of the 522-horsepower Porsche Taycan 4S that starts at $105,150, and the 670-horsepower Taycan Turbo that starts at $152,250.