Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who once failed to sue the Top Gear television program for libel over the show’s review of a Tesla Roadster, is once again beefing with Top Gear over the drag race results between the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan published to its YouTube channel.
In the video we talked about earlier today, Top Gear claimed the results of its drag race between the Tesla Model S Performance and the new Porsche Taycan Turbo S resulted in a 0 to 60 mph time of 2.61 seconds for the Taycan and 2.68 seconds for the Tesla, a 0 to 100 mph time of 6.12 seconds to 100 mph for the Taycan and 6.46 seconds to 100 mph for the Tesla, and a quarter-mile time of 10.69 seconds for the Taycan at 131.6 mph and 11.08 seconds for the Tesla at 124 mph.
The results clearly define the Taycan as a stronger performer, despite the claimed performance from both manufacturers showing Tesla should be the more capable car—a strong criticism of the Taycan when it was first revealed earlier this year.
Porsche claims the Taycan Turbo S has a 0 to 60 mph time of 2.6 seconds, and runs a claimed 10.8-second quarter mile. Tesla claims the Model S Performance has a 0 to 60 mph time of 2.4 seconds, and owners have recorded running a 10.6-second quarter mile.
Since uploading the video, Top Gear’s numbers have come under criticism, particularly from Tesla CEO Elon Musk:
Drag Race Times analysis is correct. Also, there’s a software upgrade for Model S coming out that increases peak power by 50HP, so Model S should beat Porsche Taycan Turbo S by a wider margin in 0 to 60 & 1/4 mile races.
— Treelon (@elonmusk) October 31, 2019
Musk cited Drag Race Times, a YouTube channel specialising in drag race results and analysis. As highlighted by Drag Race Times, Top Gear’s results for the Model S it tested are suspiciously identical—to the hundredth of a second—to an earlier test Top Gear did between the Model S and the Mercedes-AMG E63 S.
Drag Race Times claims “there is no way” a separate drag race months apart would get identical results.
Update, 4:45 p.m.: A Top Gear Magazine spokesperson reached out to Gizmodo to confirm that the latest video did in fact use the results of a previous test, claiming it was the fastest the magazine has ever recorded the car, with the 2017 Tesla outperforming the results of the 2019 Tesla featured in the latest video against the Taycan:
We drag raced the Taycan and the Tesla Model S five times, and each time the result was the same – the Porsche was faster.
The figures for the Tesla that we published alongside the story were the fastest figures we had ever recorded for a Model S, achieved on a previous occasion.
These figures were slightly faster than those achieved on the day when the Tesla was racing back to back with the Taycan. The important point remains, however, that in our tests the Porsche consistently edged the Model S.
TopGear.com also released a clarification post about the video, which you can read here, including numbers from the 2019 Tesla test:
The best figures we recorded for the Taycan Turbo S were:
¼ mile: 10.69s @ 131.6mph
The best figures we recorded for the Tesla Model S Performance were:
¼ mile: 11.23s @ 123.2mph
The numbers we posted in the video for the Tesla were:
¼ mile: 11.08s @ 124.0mph
These were numbers we recorded in a Model S on a previous occasion. We ran them because these are the best figures we’ve achieved in a Model S to date so we know that’s what the car is capable of.
Results from Top Gear’s test from two years ago, when the Model S Performance was previously branded as the P100D:
Results from Top Gear’s latest test with the Model S Performance:
One suspicion for the slower Tesla times outlined by the Drag Race Times video and highlighted by Electrek is that the latest Top Gear video shows the Taycan using launch control, but fails to show the Tesla using its launch control feature. Gizmodo has responded to the Top Gear team for further clarification.