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We told you so: Tesla revamps Model S with new face, new features

Its new look brings it more in line with the rest of Tesla's fleet.

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Insider sources last week told Roadshow that Tesla was on the verge of releasing a refreshed Model S, as its flagship sedan has gone largely unchanged since its 2012 debut. To keep up with a growing electric car market and to keep its vehicle in line with newer offerings -- such as the Model X SUV and the forthcoming Model 3 sedan -- Tesla's newly unveiled 2017 Model S proves that neither our sources nor we are crazy.

As presaged in a leak to both Reddit and Electrek, the 2017 Model S packs a face familiar to Model X fans. Gone is the fake grille of old, and in its place is a cleaner front fascia with just a bit of character under the hood. EVs don't need airflow under the hood anyhow, so why bother pretending that they do? The headlights are tweaked, as well, giving the Model S a fresher overall countenance. At the least, it no longer looks old, and it might spur a few more buyers to consider it.

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Watch this: New Tesla Model S includes Bioweapon Defense Mode

In terms of features, there are a few, smaller updates. The car now has full adaptive LED headlights, which utilize 14 LED turning lights capable of three different positions for plenty of light on dark mountain roads. The Model S also picks up the "medical grade" HEPA air-filtration system seen in the Model X, and it's likely that the silly "Bioweapon Defense Mode" will also make an appearance.

Sadly, there is no mention of a 100 kWh battery option. The battery is still being advertised as maxing out at 90 kWh. But there is an up-rated charger, at least, with the base unit now pulling 48 amps (up from 40), with a 72 amp charger on option.

Thankfully, current staples like free access to Tesla's Supercharger network and an eight-year, unlimited-mile battery and drive-unit warranty are sticking around. But as buyers are now being met with more options than ever (with plenty more still on the horizon), it's important for Tesla to keep up with the Joneses, even if the Joneses are a very small family for the time being.

Update: Michael was kind enough to forward on an email that Tesla sent to those with outstanding Model S pre-orders. The note confirms that the new looks and the LED headlights will be included on new cars: "The Model S nose and headlights have been changed to be similar to the Model X. Because you have already placed your order, these will be applied to your Model S at no additional cost to you.

2016 Model S refresh, in pictures

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Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.

Updated April 12, 2016 7:48 a.m. PT

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Written by  Andrew Krok
CNET staff -- not advertisers, partners or business interests -- determine how we review the products and services we cover. If you buy through our links, we may get paid. Reviews ethics statement
andrewkrok.jpg
Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
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