On the eve of Tesla’s earnings call, it announced a newly refreshed Model S. As the car nears its tenth birthday, the one you can order now doesn’t look all that different from the one that launched in 2012. It’s the stuff inside and the stuff under the skin that has changed. The Model S has gotten faster, more tech-focused, quicker, and with more range. Some minor complaints have been addressed, but this new one creates so many more questions than it answers.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. First of all, there is a reason steering wheels are round. By cutting the top off of a steering wheel, and flattening the bottom, Tesla appears to be turning the Model S yoke into something more akin to that found in a formula race car. Unless the steering rack is quick enough that you can turn lock to lock without moving your hands, this is a totally ridiculous move. No. Bad Tesla.
If there is anything good to take away from this, however, it’s that the new Model S kept the gauge cluster in front of the driver instead of in the centre stack like the 3 and Y. The company has installed a bigger 3/Y style landscape-style screen replacing the long-time staple of S interiors, the portrait-layout screen. Everything still looks clinical and techno-fanatic in the traditional Tesla fashion, but it’s been improved in the way that people will actually find useful.
From the outside, the changes are minimal. A few tweaks and massages here and there, but it’s mostly the same old S that you’ve grown to know and tolerate. As with everything Tesla, it’s not exactly pretty but it isn’t ugly enough to be a turnoff either. It’ll do, I suppose.
In addition to the already-announced Plaid model, which has three motors and can hustle the S from 0-100 in 1.99 seconds, Tesla has added an option for the so-called Plaid + model. The company claims the car will be capable of “830+ kilometres” of range from a battery of unspecified size, but you can guess that it’s massive. The Plaid + also has a 0-100 time in under 1.99 seconds, but no specific number is given.
The base long-range model starts at $US79,990 ($104,059), which is pretty much exactly where Porsche starts its base model Taycan announced last week. If you want the Plaid, it’ll cost you $US119,990 ($156,095), and a Plaid + is an extra 20 grand.