Tesla Model S Plaid is as fast as a multimillion dollar hypercar

  • We tested a 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid, and it hit 60 mph in 2.1 seconds on the way to the quarter-mile trail in 9.4 seconds at 151 mph.
  • That 60-mph time links the Porsche 918 Spyder and 911 Turbo S, and matches the quarter-mile time of a Bugatti Chiron Sport, the fastest we’ve ever measured.
  • Ferrari SF90 Stradale still fastest at 60mph car and driver Record ever, beating Plaid by 0.1 seconds.

    Before you toast us in the comments, let’s first let you know that Tesla’s 1.99-second zero-to-60 mph claim for the Model S Plaid involves launching on a very viscous drag strip surface. Also, this is rounded 1.99 to 2.0 when results are reported to a tenth. Instead, we test each car on an unprepared surface that simulates pavement on regular roads.

    Marc Urbanocar and driver

    In our testing, we hit 60 mph in 2.1 seconds, 0.1 seconds behind the fastest car we’ve ever tested, the Ferrari SF90 Stradale, and tied with the Porsche 918 Spyder and 911 Turbo S. The fastest car we’ve ever scored in a quarter mile, sprinting in 9.4 seconds at 151 mph (7 mph slower than a Bug), is more than $3 million cheaper.

    To achieve these numbers, select the Drag Strip mode on the car’s 17.0-inch touchscreen. This mode heats the battery to ideal temperatures, and when the brake and gas pedal are depressed at the same time, it lowers the front air springs to what Tesla calls a Cheetah Stance. We found that the car’s acceleration was only 0.1% slower all the way through the quarter mile without waiting nearly 10 seconds for the car to squat. Also, the Plaid’s radiator is twice as large as it was before, which helped it run eight passes in a row without the significant performance degradation we’ve seen in previous Model Ss tests.

    Punching acceleration is most noticeable when traveling fast, and when you hit it, you feel the four tires flop over in order to grab it. The Model S Plaid is the fastest car we tested at 30-50 mph, we do it in 0.9 seconds, and 50-70 mph in 1.0 seconds. Tesla claims that the Plaid will one day be able to hit 200 mph, but our test car topped out at 162 mph (you can read more about that here).

    Compared to the standard dual-motor Model S, the Plaid has an additional electric motor on the rear axle. Paired with a 99.3 kWh lithium-ion battery, the three electric motors, which now have carbon sleeved rotors that help them spin up to 20,000 rpm, produce 1,020 horsepower and 1,050 pound-feet of torque. Our test car was also outfitted with $4,500 21-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires.

    Tesla’s most powerful production car may not be the fastest even at 60mph As CEO Elon Musk claims, but it broke records in other performance measures in car and driver tests. And a starting price of $131,440 makes it a performance-in terms of acceleration-on multimillion-dollar exotics.

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