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New Tesla Model S Plaid review

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With the same design for almost 10+ years, we all knew that some sort of refresh of the Tesla model had to be done. So, welcome the new design of the Model S Plaid.

Exterior Design

First of all the design from the outside, has some minor changes, nothing too drastic. You can still distinguish it as model S compare to other models.

Now it comes with black trim where the chrome used to be. But to be honest, the chrome part looked a little bit outdated, so let’s say we embrace the new change. Good for you Tesla, we won’t miss it.

Front Design

The biggest change on the outside, from what we can notice is that the front grill and the front splitter at the bottom are a little bigger, simpler. Also, the fog lights are narrower, cleaner. It gives the car a unified front look.

Tesla Model S Plaid red
Tesla Model S Plaid red

Interior Design

While the outside design stayed pretty much the same making it very easy to spot the new S model, most of the changes were done on the interior. Overall, we think the interior looks slick. There are a couple of key things that we think are more important here than others.

Yoke steering wheel

Let’s start with the front, with the yoke steering wheel. It is definitely, an out of the ordinary steering wheel. It looks like someone took a regular steering wheel and chopped off the top of it. On one hand, it looks impressive and you can compare it to a fighter jet steering wheel. The downside of having a steering wheel with this design is that you’re losing the maneuverability, especially when you have to do a U-turn.

Tesla yoke steering wheel
Tesla yoke steering wheel

If we look at the rendered images from the interior of the car, we notice there are no paddle shifters, no blinkers, behind the steering wheel. Now, those were moved on the actual steering wheel. There are 2 scroll wheels and then there are the blinkers buttons on the left side together with the button for the headlights.

On the other side, you have the button for the windshield wiper, the microphone for voice commands, and the horn button. We really hope those are physical buttons and not touch screen buttons.

If you think about it, it’s like an F1 car basically, where all the buttons are on the steering wheel for quick and easy access. The driver never has to take his hands off the wheel.

It’s definitely something most of us will have to get used to it. Not having the top half of the steering wheel is very different for a lot of people. We have a lot of negative thoughts about it but it looks slick so we have to try it first.

Horizontal touchscreen

In the interior, the most important change we think is the transition to the horizontal touchscreen. It’s a 17-inch diagonal cinematic display, 2200 by 1300 resolution, ultra-bright, with excellent responsiveness because there is a lot of computing power behind the screen.

Tesla Model S Plaid display screen
Tesla Model S Plaid display screen

Overall it looks like it’s much better integrated into the dashboard. On the website, it says it has a left-right tilt screen. Based on the rendered images, it’s kind of hard to know how it’s supposed to move and how. Will it pop out of the dash and you will start to tilt it towards you? We are not sure, but it made us very curious.

The touchscreen also controls the air conditioning vents like in the previous models. An extra feature is a pair of wireless chargers underneath the touchscreen.

Display screen controls air conditioning vents
Display screen controls air conditioning vents

The display screen behind the steering wheel also got much bigger. Now you have info like your current speed, your drive, and your navigation in the middle and overall it opens up more room on the center display.

Back seat

And then there is a new 3rd display fitted for the back seat passengers. We assume it will let them control the back air conditioning or play video games with some wireless controllers. Usually, screens in the back seat are up against the headrest, making it easier and comfortable for the passengers to watch movies.

Rear Display
Rear Display

Now, being place between the front sits at a lower level might cause some neck pain while playing games. It has to be tested in order to come to a final conclusion. But it’s definitely a cool feature.

Extra features

As it says on the website, the ventilated seats are back, which is a cool feature. Plus a pair of wireless charging mats in that new back seat armrest.

Sound

The new 960-watt audio system comes with a 22-speaker. A key feature is the active noise cancelation system. If it works anything as we’ve seen in active noise-canceling headphones, that means the car has outside microphones to record any outside noise. Then it pumps in anti-noise into the car to make it sound perfectly silent. It’s really fascinating.

Tesla Model S Plaid audio system
Tesla Model S Plaid audio system

Specs & Prices

That brings up last but not least, to the incredible specs and prices. So now, Model S is now simplified having 3 versions: Long Range, Plaid, and Plaid+.

The base price went up to $74,490 for this model. It’s no longer $69,420 but is a dual motor Long Range version and it will do 412 miles and 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.

Then there is Plaid which is a new improved performance model S. With triple motors the range goes down a little bit to 390 miles and it will do 0 to 60 mph in 1.99 seconds. Thanks to the 1,020 horsepower motors the car will reach the top speed of 200 mph.

Now, what’s interesting, is the Plaid+ model. It will do 520+ miles of range and a slightly faster 0 to 60 mph (<1.99 seconds).

Model SRange (Est.)Top Speed0-60 mphPrice
Long Range412 mi155 mph3.1 sec$74,490*
Plaid390 mi200 mph1.99 sec$114,490*
Plaid+520+ mi200 mph<1.99 sec$134,490*

The Plaid model is going to start shipping in March but the Plaid+ is still in development and is coming later in this year in 2021 if it’s on time.

Rumors

The difference in range between the Plaid and Plaid+ models probably will be supported by next-generation batteries. Elon Musk said the company was working on a more efficient shingle-lattice load-bearing battery pack, which would soon replace Tesla’s traditional cylindrical cells.

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