Two Words: Absolutely Astonishing!
by Paul Herrold
Unless you’re used to being catapulted off the deck of an aircraft carrier in a fighter jet or strapped into the racing seat of a Top Fuel Funny Car at the NHRA Nationals, there are few experiences that will prepare you for a 0-60mph launch in the new Tesla Model S Plaid edition. With a recorded 1.99 seconds to 60mph, you’ll be shoved back into your seat so hard that you might find it hard to breathe; the acceleration forces on your body are—quite literally—breathtaking! I just had to go for a ride after my neighbor received one of the first examples of this “missile.” And what a ride it was!
The all-electric Model S was introduced in June 2012 as the first vehicle to come out of Elon Musk’s start-up company Tesla (well, not counting the first roadster with a body borrowed from Lotus). A big hit with critics, customers, and—most importantly—investors, the Model S launched the company and its founder into stardom. Practically unchanged since its debut, the 2021 model year finally sees a major refresh with some new bodywork, interior, and an available powertrain configuration that uses three independent motors to offer a mind-blowing 1,020hp. Yes, this is a 4-door, 5-passenger, All-Wheel-Drive luxury sedan with over a thousand horsepower! Sure, there are still a few minor build quality issues but overall, you have a super smooth, whisper-quiet daily driver that can hit 200mph and—for the drag racing fans out there—a standing ¼ mile in 9.23 seconds at 155mph!
But don’t think of this car as a one-trick pony—it offers more than just stunning acceleration. Unlike Teslas of the past, the Plaid edition is finally a driver’s car. With its adjustable air suspension and selectable different drive modes, you can turn your Tesla into a relaxing highway cruiser or an all-out sports car. It’s a car that can change its mood easily.
And speaking of change—you’d best forget the flat-bottom steering wheels on most sports cars, or the square steering wheels found on new Ferraris and Corvettes. Tesla one-ups everyone with a full-on steering yoke, just like the one from the 1980s TV show Knight Rider. If you fly Boeing airplanes for a living, you are going to be right at home in this car. Admittedly, parking maneuvers can be a bit difficult, but the yoke does allow a full view of the instrument gauges from any angle and it always keeps your hands in the correct 3 and 9 o’clock position – it just obviously takes some getting used to. Also featured on the 2021 Model S is the “predictive gear selector” that automatically puts the car into Drive or Reverse. Using parking sensors and cameras, the car predicts if you want to go forward or back-up. Yes, it really does work! However, just in case, you can override it.
As you can imagine, performance like this doesn’t come cheap. The Tesla Model S Plaid starts at $129,990.00 and—if you want to be part of the 200mph club—you’ll have to pony up an extra $4,500.00 for the 21” wheels which dials your driving range back from 396 miles per charge to 348 miles. Other add-ons include the near self-driving “Autopilot” system at a whopping $10,000.00, bringing the grand total to $145,490.00. It’s not cheap, but when you compare the price to other cars offering this kind of performance, the Tesla is actually a bargain. Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Porsche… no one else can match these performance figures, carry 5 people, and have enough trunk room for a Costco run at this price. The Tesla Model S Plaid is truly your ultimate everyday supercar—it’s absolutely astonishing!
© 2021 Sons of Speed LLC