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The 1,000 hp drag race battle: Tesla Model S Plaid vs. Ferrari SF90 Stradale

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Ferrari once said “we are not interested in electric cars,” this was the year 2015 and this statement came through one of the Top Gear episodes where the host James May reviewed LaFerrari.

Fast-forward a few years, Ferrari is not only making hybrid cars but even producing a plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV) supercar named the Ferrari SF90 Stradale. The Italian exotic carmaker doesn’t stop there, it’s going to reveal the company’s first fully electric car in 2025 — very interesting.

With a winning streak against several supercars and even defeating a Suzuki Hayabusa, the Tesla Model S Plaid is now up against a comparable contender, the Ferrari SF90 Stradale.

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Both of these cars have around 1,000 hp of power. Ferrari has mated 3 electric motors to a V8 turbo-dry sump engine, this makes the SF90 go from 0-60 mph in just 2.3 seconds. Not a very close match for Tesla Model S Plaid’s 1.99 seconds but the Ferrari can probably catch the Tesla in a 1/4-mile stretch.

Tesla Model S Plaid vs. Ferrari SF90 Stradale specs comparison

Let’s compare the performance specs and price of both cars to first take a look at how both of these cars compare on paper.

 Tesla Model S PlaidFerrari SF90 Stradale
TypeBattery Electric Vehicle (BEV)Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Drivetrain/MotorsAWD / Tri-Motor (AC permanent magnet synchronous motor, carbon-fiber-wrapped rotor, liquid-cooled, with variable frequency drive (1x motor in the front, 2x motors in the rear)All-Wheel Drive / 3 motors (2 front, 1 rear)
EngineNot ApplicableV8 – 90° – turbo – dry sump (mid-engine)
TransmissionFront: Single speed fixed gear, 7.5:1. Enhanced lubrication, Rear: Independent single speed fixed gear, 7.5:1. Dry sump lubrication8-speed, F1 dual-clutch transmission
All-electric range348 miles (560 km) with 21″ wheels / 396 miles (637 km) with 19″ wheels. EPA estimated.15 miles (25 km) using eDrive mode
Acceleration 0-60 mph1.99 sec2.3 sec (2021 model year)
Power1,020 hp986 hp
Torque1,050 lb-ft (Motor Trend)800 Nm (590 lb-ft) @ 6000 rpm
Top speed200 mph (322 km/h)*211 mph (340 km/h)
Torque vectoringYesYes
Launch controlDrag Strip ModeYes, needs 5 secs to activate
1/4-mile time9.23 seconds9.9 sec
Base price$129,990$511,250
Source: Manufacture specs, Car And Driver. *When equipped with the proper wheels and tires (expected availability by fall 2021).
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For the price of 1 Ferrari SF90, you can actually buy around 4 Model S Plaid sedans with better performance specs. The internal combustion engine (ICE) supercar universe is facing this dilemma, they are not just releasing emissions into the atmosphere, they’re multiple times more expensive than Tesla EVs.

With expensive upgrades, DragTimes host Brooks Weisblat bought the 2021 Ferrari SF90 Stradale for around $566k. That’s more than 4 stock Model S Plaid cars with 21″ Arachnid wheels upgrade of $4,500 each.

Drag Races

This was a 5 round drag racing battle between the Ferrari SF90 Stradale and the Tesla Model S Plaid. Ferrari got two bonus wins as the Plaid driver ran a red light at the start of the race.

Despite having a head-start in the 3rd attempt, the Ferrari lost the round to the Plaid. Model S did the quarter-mile in 9.363 secs @147.81 mph vs. Ferrari SF90’s 9.590 @147.09 mph.

At the start of the first race, Tesla Model S Plaid was at 92% state-of-charge (SoC) but the heat pump and radiator upgrades in the 2021 Model S give it the ability of repeat performance. DragTimes previously completed 41 quarter-mile runs on a Model S Plaid in a single night and it still delivered a great performance.

So in the 4th and 5th attempts, both the cars gave somewhat similar numbers as in the 3rd round. The consistent performance of both cars at the dragstrip is admirable.

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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