Jay Leno Rides In New Tesla Roadster: Drives Model 3


Jay Leno takes a spin in the quickest car ever made

The fame surrounding the 2020 Tesla Roadster is unbelievable for a car that is yet to see the light of day. Everything that was shown to the public so far has been part of the Tesla testing fleet and we’re still a year (at least) away from seeing it live.

However, some lucky individuals are getting a chance to experience the sheer brutality of the Roadster first hand – even before its official launch date. One of them is no other than Jay Leno.

Jay is a comedian, he is an actor, producer, writer and television host. But, he’s also a die-hard petrolhead. Leno started hosting the NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno back 1992. Then, beginning in September 2009, Leno started a primetime talk show, titled The Jay Leno Show, which aired weeknights at 10:00 p.m. ET, also on NBC. After some controversy, some problems with Conan O’ Brien and the usual drama going behind the scenes at pretty much every TV network out there, Leno hosted his last episode of The Tonight Show on February 6, 2014, slowly heading for semi-retirement.

But, Leno being Leno, he couldn’t stay still for long. Owning approximately 286 vehicles (169 automobiles and 117 motorcycles), it was only natural to start his own car show. Titled Jay Leno’s Garage, this week’s episode brings us a true electric car treat. Leno was invited to Hawthorne, California in order to meet up with the Tesla chief designer, Franz Von Holzhausen.

Having owned the first Tesla Roadster, Leno gets a chance to witness the out-of-this-world acceleration and performance of the 2020 Tesla Roadster first hand. While we only get a small teaser from the video below, some things are clear about the Roadster: it’s a gorgeous car, it’s an aggressive looking car and it can bend time and space, putting its tires into a state of sheer horror. It also seemingly has a special ability to put a wide grin on everyone driving it.

Grab a video of Jay visiting Tesla right above.

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59 Comments on "Jay Leno Rides In New Tesla Roadster: Drives Model 3"

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I wonder what the fellas at top gear will say about the 2020 roadster, I like their commentary on cars but can’t stand that they hate electric and Tesla.

I found Topgear’s review of the original Roadster, which I purchased and drove for 4 years, reasonably accurate. Much more info on that show’s Tesla Roadster review than silly stuff here that shows you basically nothing. About twenty times more.

Always chuckle at your posts about being disappointed with your Roadster when you had it.

Bill you’ll gag when it sells for $2,000,000 at auction. Truly the Cobra for today. They only made a few.

Hey, Shelby made a special car for Bill Cosby and he called Carroll and begged him to take it back. Too fast, he said. That very car is worth millions today.

James you truly have problems with reading comprehension. I’m glad I bought my $120,000 stripped original Roadster. I also believe I traded it In at the proper time.

Last I heard a Rich guy in Texas owns it now.

Roadsters are only ‘high-value’ when they are stored and kept as show cars. I couldn’t afford to do that as I had to drive mine every day.

It does show the unbelievable arrogance of you guys, most of whom have never even SEEN a roadster let alone drive one or own one for four years as I have, that you know so much more about it.

If only Tesla would make roadster ‘light’ for like 40-50K that would be awesome. You know 0-60 in 3.5 seconds so us plebeians could have a sexy battery powered convertible. Doesn’t look like Mazda is going to do it any time soon.

You can wish.

The reality is that a roadster is a second car for almost all and even at $50k, not many can afford a second car at that price. Miata sales are pretty small even at $30k. Those that can afford a weekend Roadster tend to be affluent enough to spend more. Seeing that Porsche has figured about the sweet spot, $70-$90k would be a better target. Ignore the base Boxter at $60k that is so spartan that everyone adds options.

Sadly, I regret to say you are correct, the roadster is all but dead in the new car world. Not just in America, but worldwide. The only bright spot there seems to be Corvette. In my part of the world it’s going strong and seems to be outselling roadsters from any county. Go USA!

I’ll be amazed if Mazda continues with the MX-5/Miata. The latest version seems to be a sales dud. No more so than many others though. Even Tesla seems to feel they have to make their “roadster” with a back seat, although this decision may have to do with taxation laws in Europe. My understanding is that over there some countries tax at a higher rate for only two seats vs. four and that is how the “2+2” came to be. Basically a tax dodge.

I really wish Tesla would decide on a new name for their upcoming supercar. Back seats and no folding top really disqualifies it as a roadster technically How about Model R so at least it will spell S3XYR. When they get to that pickup I don’t know where they’ll go. S3XYR P? Sounds disturbing. LOL!

The Miata is late in the game, but looks to finally have succumbed to Americanism. In other words, excess. Now with electric hardtop, cup holders, bigger body and ….Apple CarPlay?

Remember the first pony cars and how over the years they put on the pounds and the 5 mph safety bumpers? Soon a Camaro looked like a two door Impala and sales just melted away. After a lengthy hiatus, GM took Camaro back to its roots, sizewise. Heck, they even went back to 1969 for its body design!

One big advantage Porshe fans realized was big savings when insuring a 911. Companies had one tier for 2 seat sports cars and a lower tier for cars with a back seat. They didn’t seem to care if said seat was only window dressing large enough for one golf bag.

Miata needs to strip down and lose pounds and $8,000 of MSRP. The chick car stigma hit MX-5 sales like the term “minivan” hit MPVs. Sad because for weekend warriors at the Autocross course or racetrack, they have no rival.

They do… it’s called the Model 3.

There’s a convertible Model 3?? This I have to see. If you think that glass roof is the same as a convertible, you’ve never driven a real convertible.

Any car is a Targa Top, if you have the right cutting tools 😉

Big plus. Yesterday’s article on the Taycan being a true Porsche prompted me to ask for a Speedster, a simple sports car from Porsche’s early days. Just a battery pack, big motor and two seats.

Why can’t we have a simple sportscar? Just no top, a compact, MX-5 Miata on electrons? Price it at $27,500 and I’m there!

A Tesla Roadster plaid launch *towards* a closed metal garage door and brick wall? …with video camera recording & Jay Leno in the passenger seat.

Franz must have mega high confidence in the Roadster’s breaking system.

You have to choose your words carefully; did you really mean “breaking,” or did you mean braking? In this case, either could apply 😛

…. Lol


There’s really nothing of note on this video. The long version of this will probably come out next week on his Youtube channel and should get into the nitty gritty.

Even the long version won’t reveal anything much for Tesla fans. But there is still a lot of public out there who know little to nothing about Tesla. Jay Leno’s garage has a lot of petrol head viewers. This will be a good way to reach them (hopefully).

You are probably right but I am hoping they show a little more of the car… rear seats, back storage and maybe talk about how they stacked the batteries and the wattage on the 3 motors.

Jay Leno’s boyish enthusiasm during the launch in the Roadster 2020 was heart-warming.

You can see the roadster from 3:30 on. But most shots are just CGI renders. It looks like they don’t want the actual car to be filmed in great detail yet.

@elect said: “…most shots [of Roadster] are just CGI renders…”

Lol…. no CGI… it’s all real.

Or perhaps that was meant to be a funny /s?

Look at the floor. The close ups are CGI. They show the same animated sweep 3 times.

…no CGI renderings of the car… all real.

real real real – the truth hurts haters – this thing is going to blow everything away for years.

Maybe they should make it look good then? Drop the design team now. You have a “futuristic ‘ car with styling from the 1990’s. Poor show Tesla.

There are some extremely short, small fraction-of-a-second CGI shots inserted into the video, but by far the majority of it is actual video footage. Or do you think they actually inserted a CGI Jay Leno head and a CGI license plate on the back, “Eject”?

Any shot in which you see another car or the shadow of another car, it’s real footage.

BTW — It’s perfectly normal to re-use footage in a video, especially when there is narration involved. A good editor — and this is a well edited video — is going to choose the shot which goes best with the narration, and sometimes the “prettiest” shots get used several times.

Thank you another person that isn’t blind. I simply would have preferred to see close up sweeps of the actual car. But obviously they didn’t want to show us yet.

I gloss over your usual attacks against me. However, please spell my name properly i.e. all lowercase.

Proper names are properly spelled with initial capitals, so — unlike you — I am spelling your screen name properly. Also, if you’re one of the serial Tesla bashers who have made a habit of belittling me with infantile bodily-function nicknames such as “Pu-Pu” or “P-P”, rather than my preferred diminutive “Pushy”, then you’ve got no right to complain.

I’m willing to make an exception re upper case initials for e e cummings, as a whimsical historical oddity… but you’re no e e cummings, Eject.


On no instance I have referred to you by name or by abbreviation. There is no need if I answer to a comment. Which I also have done for the first time in this thread to you.

@Pushmi-Pullyu said: “There are some extremely short, small fraction-of-a-second CGI shots inserted into the video…”

Do you have an example frame 00(min).00(sec)?

I see no CGI car rendering…


@eject said: “3:37-3:40 [is CGI].

If 3:37-3:40 is CGI then that would have to mean that 4:41-4:42 (Franz hands on steering rendered into same interior car scene) is also CGI. To do that at that high of CGI fidelity would be a crazy amount of time/cost involved.

Lol… not CGI.

CGI? DragTimes Roadster Test Drive:

There are several very quick CGI shots in succession starting at 3:33. In particular, look at the overhead view of the nose of the car at 3:34, in which there is no shadow, and compare that to a real shot a few seconds later, when you can see there is a shadow at the front of the car.

@Pushmi-Pullyu said: “There are several very quick CGI shots in succession starting at 3:33…”

Not CGI…

if you look closely the roofline of a Tesla building where they are shooting the video comes into top right of frame for 1/8sec between 3.33-3:34 as the camera rotationally sweeps the closeup of the car hood that you claim is CGI.

It would be nonsensical to render into a CGI stock clip that building roofline for 1/8sec to pass off a CGI stock clip as real video especially it being a rotational pan sweep which is supper tricky to CGI render because it would require to underlay render the building roofline sweep at the same inclination angle and rotational axis pan as the CGI stock clip…. theoretically possible but not happening… supper super difficult for 1/8sec benefit that no normal person would notice except us crazy ones.

“if you look closely the roofline of a Tesla building where they are shooting the video comes into top right of frame for 1/8sec between 3.33-3:34”

You’re not talking about the same shot I am. I’m talking about the shot that has the “camera” looking straight down from above the hood.

There’s no question that is a CGI insert. You can even see lines in the pavement under the car which are quite different from the real ones in other, real shots.

I’m fairly sure that several of the extremely short shots of the interior of the car are also CGI, altho they go by so fast I can’t spot telltale details in them as I did in the one I describe above.

I didn’t see any CGI?

That’s because whoever edited the video did a pretty good job. The CGI is well-matched to the real shots.

As a couple of others have said, the entire section of the video that shows the 2020 roadster looks highly processed, and no doubt that processing was used to help match the real video footage to the CGI. It’s also possible that, as Eject suggested, they’ve “massaged” it, using digital processing to hide some details.

Can you point to a specific time-stamp in the video you believe is CGI? I’m just not seeing it.

Lol, I work in CGI, and I can tell you without a doubt there is no CGI in the this video. The shots you see to be referring are just meticuluously laid out, smoothly filmed, and over-processed video. The location of the close up shots can be seen when they shoot the acceleration run. You can see the old roadster and shrubs blowing in the wind in the background. Tesla would not put the money into recreating that location and adding all of those details when they have a perfectly functional prototype that they can film. Geez, people act like good CGI is easy and inexpensive. It is absolutely not.

Certainly not all the footage that Eject is claiming is CGI is actually computer renders, but there are some tight “insert” shots which are; some of the ones which don’t show the surroundings.

If you actually did work in CGI, then you very likely would be able to tell the difference rather easily. The CGI shots are where the reflections off the paint job are quite simple, with little gradation in color, and little detail. The real shots are where the reflections are actually reflecting complex surroundings, and show a lot of gradation in colors, and a lot of detail.

You would also be able to recognize that the CGI shots have been inserted, and don’t show the surroundings or landscape shown in the real footage. It’s obvious, at least to me, that the CGI shots were promo shots created for Tesla, and were not made specifically for this video. You’re correct to say that Tesla would not put money into recreating the location of this video in CGI — and they didn’t. The CGI shots are from stock footage.

I’d agree with hello.haters. I also work with computer modeling, rendering and animation, and there isn’t any CGI here… even for a fraction. It’s simply good cinematography, lighting and post-production video effects.

A beautiful car seen the show last night car is amazing if you can afford a Ferrari or Lamborghini this will give you something to consider. If I win a Mega Lottery maybe I’d spend money on a car like that but I don’t know I’m a little to practical to want a car that expensive regardless how much I had.

What is this “Tesler” company that Jay keeps talking about? Some sort of johnny come lately Tesla imitator? 😉

Okay, enough with poking fun at Jay’s accent. What is that, a Brooklyn accent?

I notice that Jay didn’t actually get to drive the 2020 Roadster. 🙁 Well, I rather imagine he’ll be one of the first to buy one when it goes into production!

There’s this new kind of torque again, 10,000 meters worth….. But in the States, I guess you’d refer to it as ‘miles of torque’. This guy must be the chief styling engineer, like Fisker. A detail guy wouldn’t be so flippant with statements, unless they are trying to come up with new, Tesla Specific Jargon – which I’m sure all the fanboys would love since it would give them another way to arbitrarily differentiate themselves.

I’m wondering why they never show any detail about the car itself? They claim they aren’t worried about competition. I’ve seen more detail in the multiple fires they’ve had lately than this roadster, which you’d think they’d plan on selling eventually. They could gin up more interest now if they did.

Uh, You did notice that they correctly labeled it as Newton meter. Ja?

Uh, Ja I did. But its hard to label a mouth.

Correct if I am wrong, but is not the rimac the quickest?

Don’t know, anyone tried one out?

Well the Gen2 Roadster isn’t here yet, but that would be a great race to watch. Gen2 Roadster vs. Rimac Concept 2. (also not sure if the Rimac qualifies as a “production” vehicle)

Who wants to be the last dummy who spent a million to buy a new gas Supercar that gets beat by a Tesla Roadster 2.0 costing a quarter million? If I owned a gas Supercar, I would sell it now, while I can still get a good price on it. Car buffs: you were warned…

@Jim wants said: “Who wants to be the last dummy who spent a million to buy a new gas Supercar that gets beat by a Tesla Roadster 2.0…”

ICE supercars will become like luxury mechanical watches…

purchased for appreciation of high mechanical craftsmanship and brand status… not purchased for superior performance.

Yup. Gasmobile supercars will become retro, like the Morgan Roadster. There will still be people buying them, altho in gradually decreasing numbers as the years pass.

Wonder if it requires $30,000 tires and a one-of-a-kind private track to achieve top speed like the Veyron did?

Probably? I don’t see how one could reach >400 km/h with normal tires or on a normal track…

I sat through the whole hour to see about 55 seconds more video of the Roadster II than that teaser video they showed back on Monday. Of course, it was all literally in the last two minutes of the show (not counting the wrap-up/recap), and right after the longest ad break of the hour. At least Weird Al was amusing.

Hey, but on the upside, it’s good to see any coverage in the “mainstream media,” and not just YouTube videos. That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to finding out the DougScore…

Was the 600-mile range just a natural result of the power needed and the lightness/aerodynamics of the car, or was that actually a targeted metric? I just don’t see someone driving 600 miles non-stop in a roadster.

Yes, since Tesla’s batteries are optimised for energy density rather than power density, they need a whole lot of them to get the necessary power.

The 620 miles range is presumably on EPA cycle, which is like 65 mph IIRC? When driving real fast, the actual range will be much lower, and just enough to avoid frequent charging stops I’d say…

They need to make their cars look better, drop the American designers (they are the bottom of the heap) and get some Europeans in to make the car more desirable.

At best they look average, like a Toyota or a Mazda but nobody who isn’t interested in a BEV perse could possibly be enticed by the looks of a tesla.

I suppose it works in America where they know how to make (and sell) ugly, aesthetically challenging vehicles better than anyone.

Sort it out, your design language is all wrong throughout the range.

Lol at when he says that autopilot helps to make it a “drivers” car.
Surely it’s a feature for people who have no interest in driving (or those who want to be rammed into motorway barriers).