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Tesla launches the sub 2.0s, design refreshed Model S Plaid (performance & exterior)

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Tesla Model S Plaid has come earlier than most expected. During his opening remarks of the Q4 2020 Earnings Call, CEO Elon Musk announced that Plaid Model S and Model X are currently in production at the automaker’s Fremont factory.

This was a well-kept surprise Tesla was able to keep secret from the eyes of the world. Earlier this month Tesla did shut down its Model S/X production lines at the Fremont factory that hinted a little towards the upgrade but it still remained a mystery.

However, we finally have the new design refreshed Tesla Model S and Model X available to order and according to Elon Musk, deliveries will start next month (Feb 2021).

Covering all the aspects of the 2021 Tesla Model S, Model S Plaid, and Plaid+ would make this post too long, so I have distributed it in multiple parts, exterior & performance, interior, the new Yoke steering wheel & autonomous driving

– Jump to specs comparison table of 2021 Model S variants

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Exterior Design Refresh

Although Tesla did not make a radical design shift while releasing the 2021 Tesla Model S but it has been further refined and fine-tuned for a sportier and prominent feel from the outside. One of the design refresh prototypes was spotted on the streets of Palo Alto, CA earlier this month showing a more planted wider Model S than the previous version.

2021 Tesla Model S with design refresh and chrome trim in Multi-Coat Red color. Source: Tesla Inc. (TSLA).

Since the advent of the Model Y, Tesla has been on a quest to remove chrome trim from its cars, with this latest Model S/X design refresh, chrome trim from windows, side mirrors, front and rear fascia has been deleted from the entire S3XY lineup.

Tesla Model S is probably the best car of any kind at any price, available in the world today.

Elon Musk

Wheels

Only the 19″ Tempest Wheels aero cap color is silver, the 19″ inch tires and wheels are included in all three Long Range, Plaid, and Plaid+ variants. The optional 21″ Arachnid Wheels are available for a hefty $4,500 price tag.

2021 Tesla Model S 19″ Tempest Wheel (included).
2021 Tesla Model S 21″ Arachnid Wheels and tires package ($4,500).

Available Colors

The following colors are available for all the 2021 Tesla Model S design refresh version with prices (check Tesla online configurator):

  • Pearl White Multi-Coat – Included
  • Solid Black – $1,500
  • Midnight Silver Metallic (Tesla signature gray) – $1,500
  • Deep Blue Metallic – $1,500
  • Red Multi-Coat – $2,500

Tesla has not provided the official exterior dimension figures of the 2021 Model S refresh version, so a size comparison with the older version s still due on us until the numbers arrive.

2021 Tesla Model S with refreshed exterior design (rear view). Source: Tesla Inc. (TSLA).

Performance & Range

In the Q4 Earnings Call, yesterday as well as on Twitter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has stressed much about how Tesla Model S Plaid is the quickest and the fastest production car ever made. Not only the 0-60 mph time is less than 2.0 seconds, but the quarter-mile time is also below 10 seconds for the Plaid variant and less than 9.0 seconds for the flagship Plaid+ Model S.

The range of the Model S Plaid+ is an astonishing 520+ miles (~837 km), this is also the longest-range electric vehicle in production right now.

This has been made possible by Tesla’s new 4680 cells (only Plaid+), improved battery pack, and the fine-tuned aerodynamic drag coefficient of the new Model S to 0.208 Cd (lowest of any production car in the world as of today).

Tesla Model S Plaid Tri-Motor Powertrain skateboard (battery pack, motors. air suspension, wheels, electrical system).

Tesla describes the performance and range of the new Model S as:

Tesla designed Model S from the ground-up as an electric vehicle — each component, including batteries, motors, and exterior aerodynamics are optimized to benefit from one another and create one of the most efficient, yet unbelievably powerful vehicles ever built.

Tesla
Tesla Model S Plaid with 21″ Arachnid Wheels (side view profile in white color).

Comparing Variants

Let’s compare all three variants of the design refresh 2021 Tesla Model S in terms of range, performance specs, and price.

 2021 Model S Long Range2021 Model S Plaid2021 Model S Plaid+
Range412 miles (663 km)390 miles (~628 km)520+ miles (~837 km)
0-60 mph Acceleration3.1 sec1.99 sec<1.99 sec*
1/4-mile time~11 sec9.23 sec@155 mph trap speed<9 sec
Top Speed155 mph200 mph200 mph
DrivetrainDual Motor All-Wheel Drive (AWD)Tri Motor AWDTri-Motor AWD
Cell form factor18650186504680
Weight4,561 lbs4,766 lbsN/A
Price$79,990$119,990$139,990
Table: 2021 Tesla Model S Long Range, Plaid, and Plaid+ specs compared. *With rollout subtracted. Data Source: Tesla (TSLA).

Next: Get the full details on the new Model S interior and in-car entertainment

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By Iqtidar Ali

Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on XAutoWorld.com, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii