Tesla Reveals Redesigned Model S And X With New Interiors And A Silly K.I.T.T.-Style Steering Wheel

Tesla has shared the first information and images of the updated Model S and Model X and unlike previous updates, this one introduces a whole new interior as well as the mind-bending fast Plaid variants.

The new Plaid version of the Tesla Model S features three electric motors with a combined output of 1,020 HP, a $120,000 base price tag, and a promised driving range of 390 miles (627 km). Tesla claims a 0-60 mph (96 km/h) in “1.99” seconds, as well as a top speed of no less than 200 mph (322 km/h), “with the right tires” according to Elon Musk.

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If that’s not enough performance for some of you, Tesla is also going to offer a ‘Plaid+’ variant of the Model S, which offers a combined 1,100+ HP from its three electric motors, torque vectoring and “quickest 0-60 mph and 1/4 mile acceleration of any production ever”, with prices starting at $140,000. Tesla here claims a sub-2 second 0-60 time and a quarter-mile in under 9 seconds (!), as well as an insane driving range of 520 miles (837 km).

Tesla is also offering a 1,020 HP Plaid version of the Model X, which in turn can hit 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds, cover the quarter-mile in 9.9 seconds,  and top out at 163 mph (262 km/h). The Model X Plaid comes with a driving range of 340 miles (547 km) and a price tag of $119,990.

We still don’t have the full powertrain details, but Tesla said during their annual financial presentation for 2020 that they have added a new heat pump, which will allow the Model S Plaid and Plaid+ to run five times as many quarter-mile runs than previously possible.

But the biggest news of the updated Model S and Model X can be found on the inside, where Tesla has given them a completely new interior with three new screens. The dashboard now features a big landscape-oriented 17-inch infotainment display in addition to a smaller 12,3-inch digital instrument cluster in front of the driver. A third 8-inch screen has been added on the rear of the center console facing the rear passengers, providing them with controls for the climate and infotainment systems.

That steering wheel

Perhaps the most shocking new feature of the new Model S and Model X is the KITT-inspired yoke steering wheel. First seen in the Roadster concept, the steering wheel looks like a regular flat-bottom three-spoke item with the top missing. This style of steering wheel is perfectly suited on airplanes or race cars, where you don’t have to rotate it as much as a road car. Tesla’s move to add one in its road cars raises questions about its safety and convenience in everyday situations, like city driving and parking. Unless they have combined it with a really short-ratio rack, or one that’s continuously adaptive, which at this point we don’t know.

Tesla has also removed the stalks behind the wheel, as well as the gear selector. These controls appear to have migrated on the steering wheel itself in the form of touch-sensitive buttons, alongside a pair of scrolling buttons, one on each spoke.

Tesla also says that the two new central displays of the updated Model S and Model X feature a gaming computer with “up to 10 teraflops” of processing power, which is about the same as the latest-gen gaming consoles, enabling them to run games like “The Witcher 3” and “Cyberpunk” in addition to the already available arcade games via a wireless controller.

A premium 22-speaker audio system with active noise canceling, heated seats front and rear, tri-zone climate system with HEPA air filtration, and ultraviolet and infrared protection on every glass surface are just some of the features found in the new Tesla Model S and Model X.  The Model S also gets a new full-glass roof.

The base version of the new Tesla Model S is the dual-motor Long Range, which offers an estimated driving range of 412 miles (663 km), along with a 0-60 in 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. Prices for this model start from $79,990, an increase of over $10,000 over the non-facelifted version.

Elon Musk said that the first examples of the Model S Plaid will be shipped next month.

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