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Tesla Model S Plaid arrives with $131,100 price tag, 390-mile range

Elon Musk kicks off deliveries of the Model S Plaid, Tesla's quickest, most powerful production car.

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The Model S Plaid will hit 60 mph in 2 seconds.

Tesla

The first production Tesla Model S Plaid rolled off the line on Thursday, with company CEO Elon Musk showing the electric four-door at an event in Fremont, California. The Plaid is the range-topping Model S, packing 1,020 horsepower, a 0-to-60-mph time of 2 seconds and an estimated 390-mile range.

That insane performance comes thanks to a new carbon-sleeved, tri-motor setup, which allows for rear torque vectoring. There's also a new heat pump, which means there's no degradation in performance. In addition to the extremely quick 0-to-60-mph time -- Tesla actually quotes 1.99 seconds, but come on -- the Model S Plaid will allegedly run the quarter mile in a blistering 9.2 seconds at 155 mph. For comparison, a McLaren 765LT can run the quarter mile in 9.9 seconds.

When the Model S Plaid was first announced in January, Tesla said it would have a 200-mph top speed, but that's not actually the case -- for now, anyway. According to an addendum on Tesla's website, the 200-mph top end will be achievable "when equipped with the proper wheels and tires," which the company says will be available this fall.

Refreshed Tesla Model S has a Knight Rider steering wheel

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Speaking of which, the 390-mile range only applies to Plaid models fitted with the base 19-inch wheels. The optional 21-inch wheels lower the range to an estimated 350 miles, and cost $4,500 extra to boot. In other words, no, you won't be able to have a car with both a 390-mile range and a 200-mph top speed. But at least you'll get this cool badge to let everyone else know your Tesla is special.

An even more extreme Model S Plaid Plus was originally planned, with a whopping 1,100 hp, sub-2-second 0-to-60 time and an estimated 520 miles of range. Whether or not that unprecedented range is actually attainable is a moot point, however, as Musk canceled the Plaid Plus last weekend, saying the standard Plaid is "just so good."

The Plaid has all the same updates that Tesla gave the Model S earlier this year, including subtle exterior styling tweaks and a big interior upgrade. There's a 17-inch horizontal central control screen and that crazy steering yoke. There are no traditional control stalks, either, and the gear selector controls are built into the touchscreen. The Model S "guesses drive direction based on what obstacles it sees," Musk said via Twitter in January.

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The Model S' new interior has a 17-inch screen and that weird steering yoke.

Tesla

The Model S Plaid gets new carbon fiber or wood trim along with increased interior storage. Rear passengers are treated to more generously bolstered sets with more room, a fold-down armrest, and there's an 8-inch screen that offers the same infotainment and gaming functions as the front display. The Model S comes standard with a glass roof, three-zone climate control, a 22-speaker audio system, heated seats for all passengers and ventilated front seats.

Pricing for the Tesla Model S Plaid starts at $131,100 -- including $1,200 for destination but not including any potential tax credits -- which is $10,000 more than originally expected. White is the only no-cost exterior color, with black, gray and blue costing $1,500, and red coming in at $2,500. The standard all-black interior option is free, but both the black-and-white and cream options cost $2,000. Finally, the only other add-on is the misleadingly named Full Self-Driving option, for $10,000. As a reminder, the Tesla Model S is absolutely not a self-driving car; the company's Autopilot tech is an SAE-classified Level 2 driver-assistance system. All in, a fully loaded Model S Plaid costs $145,600 before available savings. The cars are available to order now.

In addition to the Model S, Tesla will soon offer a Plaid version of its Model X crossover. The larger Tesla EV will have 1,020 hp, a 2.5-second 0-to-60-mph time, a 163-mph top speed and a 340-mile estimated range. The Model X Plaid is priced at $121,100 including destination, and the first deliveries are slated for January or February of 2022.

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Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.

Article updated on June 10, 2021 at 10:22 PM PDT

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steven-ewing-headshot
Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
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