Tesla gives the Model S a facelift with a steering wheel that takes getting used to. Brand new: the Model S Plaid + with 1100 hp and a range of 840 kilometers!
Surprise at Tesla: In conjunction with the release of financial results for 2020, the automaker has summarily the facelift versions of Tesla Model S and Model X presented. Production should start in the coming weeks, deliveries are planned for 2021. In addition to new engines with up to 1100 hp in the Model S Plaid +, there is a sensation in the interior in the form of an extremely unusual “steering wheel”. The control horn-like thing not only met with approval from testers.
Angular Tesla steering wheel like on an airplane
The discussion about the steering wheel has a long history. For the facelift, Tesla completely renewed the interior of the Model S. Instead of a round steering wheel, a control horn flattened at the bottom and cut open at the top was presented. No kidding, the steering wheel borrows from the Tesla Roadster planned for 2022 and is reminiscent of a mixture of airplane control horn and KITT steering wheel. Tesla is taking another step towards autonomous driving.
Interestingly, the US automaker does without pitman’s arms. When the images are enlarged, you can see that the turn signal levers act as touch elements in the steering wheel have hiked. This is not a groundbreaking innovation at first, after all, manufacturers such as Ferrari have long since integrated the turn signal control into the steering wheel. The arrangement is a surprise, however. The touch surfaces for both indicators are arranged one above the other on the left side of the steering wheel. Until now, the direction indicators were always placed on the left and right. It remains to be seen whether the steering wheel will be approved for the German market in this form. And although Tesla boss Elon Musk announced in a tweet that the top model Plaid + will only be delivered with a control horn, there may also be around option.
Also available with a round steering wheel?
The photographed a Plaid + development vehicle with a round steering wheel at the Nürburgring. That can mean three things. Either, Tesla has “turned in” so to speak, and is also bringing the Model S Plaid + with a round steering wheel. Because American journalists have attested the steering horn to be rather poor usability. Horns or indicators were unintentionally activated over and over again. A conceivable second scenario would therefore be for Tesla to simply test the usability of the steering horn. Because a test vehicle was also snapped on the ring with one of these. The Californians may want to revise the part again due to the poor feedback.
Test vehicle could be aiming for a lap record
Possibility number three would be that Tesla sent the Model S Plaid + on a record drive to crack the 7:42 minutes of the Porsche Taycan. Because according to the photographed test vehicle was equipped with a roll cage, sports suspension, and Michelin Pilot Sport4 tires, but the back seat was missing. The round steering wheel could then simply be due to the preferences of test driver Andreas Simonsen, which in turn would not show that Tesla had great confidence in the steering horn. Until we know exactly, we have to wait until the production vehicle is presented.
Speed steps are inserted via touchscreen (update!)
After the Model S dispensed with its previous levers on the steering column for the facelift, the control lever for selecting the drive level was also omitted. In the future, it will be inserted via the touchscreen. With a sliding movement, just like when you unlock your smartphone. This is shown in a Twitter video. A small car icon on the left edge of the screen is dragged up or down with your finger. Up means driving forwards, down means backward – there is no more choice.
In the future, the Model S will even decide independently which direction it should go, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in a tweet. The decision should be made based on camera images, GPS, and objects in the area detected by sensors. Musk also emphasizes that the automatic selection can be overridden at any time via the central display. There has not been something like that before! However, it remains questionable how the system reacts in underground garages or multi-story car parks, for example. There is almost no GPS coverage here. There is also the question of whether such a system will be approved. In Europe in particular, it is questionable whether a vehicle is allowed to switch between driving modes on its own. It is therefore possible that in the future European Model S customers will always have to use the touchscreen to select the direction in which they want to drive.
XXL display installed horizontally as in the Tesla Model 3
But that was not all: the huge display in the center console is no longer upright but installed horizontally. Tesla claims to have improved the resolution of the 17-inch touchscreen to 2200×1300 pixels. The XXL display is now arranged in the same way as on Model 3. The “invisible” interior ventilation without conspicuous ventilation nozzles is also taken over from the little brother. Unlike the Model 3, the Model S retains its 12.3-inch instrument panel. Tesla has also revised the fund. The outer rear seats are more pronounced, and the facelift model has a display integrated into the front center armrest.
New aprons and rims for the Model S
Compared to the interior, the revision of the exterior design is very manageable. The front and rear aprons have a cleaner design, the chrome has been removed (“Chrome delete”), and Tesla has given the Model S new wheel designs. 19-inch wheels (Tempest) are standard, and 21-inch wheels (Arachnid) are available for an extra charge of 4700 euros.
Tesla is secretly increasing the price of the Model S Plaid +
In terms of engines, Tesla has stepped up again. The basic version is the Model S with an all-wheel drive and dual motor for 86,990 euros. The range is Tesla on its homepage with 663 kilometers. In addition, there are two versions with three engines that promise impressive performance: The 116,990 euro Model S Plaid has the equivalent of 1034 hp and is expected to accelerate to 100 km / h in 2.1 seconds. Tesla specifies the top speed at 322 km / h – remarkable for an electric car. At the same time, the Model S Plaid should offer a range of 628 kilometers. Both versions should be available in Germany from September 2021.
It gets phenomenal with the new Model S Plaid +. It uses the same drive with three motors but has a larger battery. Tesla states that the power is over 1100 hp, it should accelerate to 96 km / h (0-60 mph) in 1.99 seconds, with top speed also 322 km / h. At the same time, the estimated range should be 840 kilometers. Originally, the price on the German Tesla website was 139,990 euros, but Tesla has since secretly raised the price for the top model. Now the Model S Plaid + should suddenly cost 149,990 euros – a price increase of 10,000 euros. The expected delivery date is still given as the end of 2021, but there are serious doubts about it because according to the US configurator, the Model S Plaid + will only be delivered from mid-2022. The price increase and postponement only affect the Model S Plaid +. The Model S Facelift can now be ordered for a deposit of 1000 euros.
All important innovations for the Tesla Model S Facelift at a glance:
● Model S and Model X Facelift can now be ordered
● Model S base price from 86,990 euros
● Plaid + with three engines and 1100 hp
● Top speed 322 km / h
● Estimated range: 840 kilometers
● Plaid + from 149,990 euros (announced for 139,990 euros)
● Angular Steering wheel, cut off at the top
● New 17-inch touchscreen arranged horizontally
● Delivery from September 2021