Tesla is expected to reveal the highly anticipated Plaid version of the Model S sometime this year, with deliveries expected to commence before 2021 concludes. We’re expecting not only to have blistering acceleration (nought to sixty in under 2 seconds), improved handling compared to any previous Model S and a slew of visual modifications designed to help it stand out as a dedicated performance model.
What are these visual modifications? Well, based on a recent prototype sighting, they are as follows: subtly bulging fenders that accommodate wider wheels and tires, a unique slightly sportier looking diffuser and blacked out trim (also known as a ‘ chrome delete ‘ option). If this particular prototype’s look is a preview of the actual production model, that means it won’t have the big bolt-on rear ducktail of the prototype spotted testing around the Nurburgring.
That prototype also had a different front bumper, with a more pronounced splitter and a bigger central air intake. It appears that this more recent prototype, spotted by The Kilowatts, doesn’t have that, although this doesn’t necessarily exclude the possibility that it may be available as an option (the same goes for the aforementioned rear wing).
Regarding the wheels, they don’t appear to be an all-new model (to us they look like the Arachnid wheels that are already available), although they do seem to fill the widened wheel arches all the way, so they are probably widened in order to make this fitment possible. The video also mentions revised headlights, and while the footage isn’t high enough quality for us to be able to tell exactly what the design is like, they do appear different.
Gallery: 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid prototype
The new front light clusters won’t just be reserved for the mad Plaid model. They will most likely be part of the much anticipated Model S refresh. We don’t exactly know what Tesla will change, but it appears the headlights are going to be different - they look similar to the ones already fitted to the Euro-spec Model S, although since we’re basing this on what we’ve seen in this video, we can’t state it as a fact yet.
The Model S facelift is mostly expected to concentrate on the interior. Sure, there will be some exterior changes (like the revised lights), but most of the work will be done inside. Basically, Tesla is expected to bring the interior of the Model S (as well as that of the Model X SUV) in line with the more minimalist look of the newer Model 3. In other words, the digital gauge cluster will be made smaller and recessed into the dash, and the portrait style screen will be ditched and replaced by a large bezel-less landscape screen like you see in the Model 3.
The steering wheel will also be different, and maybe even feature touch-sensitive panels in place of some traditional buttons. According to the information we have right now, Tesla will also try to improve the luxury feel of the Model S interior which never felt as posh as in other premium cars.
This will be achieved through using materials that are better to the touch all throughout the cabin, revised and more comfortable seats and better practicality too. We’re currently just going on rumors and speculation here, since Tesla hasn’t confirmed what areas it will touch with the refresh.
Basically, when the Plaid model debuts, it will not only be the quickest, best handling Model S available, but it will also come in this revised package that is sure to make it even more appealing. With it, Tesla wants to show the Porsche Taycan Turbo S a clean pair of heels, all for a considerably lower acquisition price expected to start below $140,000.