“The quickest production car ever,” says Tesla of the new Model S Plaid. Bold claim, and one worth testing when we can get our hands on a car. So without further ado, let’s look at the company’s own numbers.
First, acceleration. “No production car has ever done 0-60mph (97kph) in under two seconds,” said Elon Musk at a glitzy event at Tesla’s Fremont, California factory, where the company delivered the first handful of Model S Plaids to owners. Mate Rimac may disagree, and so might a few of you. Depends on your definition of a ‘production car.’
Tesla claims the 1,020hp Model S Plaid accelerates from zero to 97kph in 1.99 seconds. That’s an American-style 0-97kph, mind, allowing for a one-foot rollout. So its actual standing start-to-97kph and 100kph times are likely to be a little over 2sec. Still, that’s uncomfortably, outrageously rapid for any kind of car, not least a four-door sedan with a decent boot and seating for five.
And we’re promised that because Tesla’s doubled the size of the radiator, the Plaid can, in the words of Elon Musk, do “back-to-back 0-60s, go on the track and just haul ass” without “getting winded”—good, because this is something the Model S has struggled with in the past. The new motors—of which the Plaid has three—have carbon-sleeved rotors (a first, apparently). Snazzy.
Next, outright speed. Tesla claims the Plaid is a 322kph car “when equipped with the proper wheels and tires”, which ought to be available sometime this autumn, and clocks a 9.23sec quarter-mile at 249kph. Outrageous. Musk says it’s “the fastest production car to complete a quarter-mile”—yet another claim Mr. Rimac might have something to say about.
Claimed range is around 628km thanks to a new battery of unspecified capacity and revised aero—Musk says the Model S Plaid has the “lowest drag coefficient of any car ever made” at 0.208, another controversial claim (yes, we have asked Merc for the third decimal point). Charging performance has been improved so the Plaid can take on up to 301km of range in just 15 minutes at a Tesla Supercharger.
You might remember there was to be an even faster, longer-range Model S called the Plaid+. But that’s no longer a thing—a few days ago Musk tweeted “Plaid+ is canceled. No need, as Plaid is just so good.”
In the UK the Model S Plaid costs £118,980 (P8.02 million). Tesla’s site estimates deliveries will begin towards the end of 2022.
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.
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