There are currently two versions of the Tesla Model S: the Plaid and the Long Range. Externally they look identical, but several of the vehicle specifications are different, and the performance is somewhat varied between the two.
The Tesla Model S really looks like the sleek, super-fast production vehicle that it is. While there are two variations to choose from, buyers do not have to decide which looks better, because on the inside and out they have the same features and trim. The difference is in the motors and drivetrain.
The Tesla Model 3 is the most affordable F-1 style speed car in the world. From being able to carpool to providing in-drive gaming, to breaking quarter-mile world records, the Tesla is the most fascinating EV on the market. This article will take a look at both versions of the Tesla Model S on the inside, outside, and under the hood to see why this car is so sleek, efficient, and fast.
The Tesla Model S is all about the driver. It is about delivering a sleek, sexy car that takes much of the burden off of the driver for both navigation and safety, allowing drivers to relax and experience the thrill of the drive more than they ever have before.
From the driver’s seat, the first thing to notice is the new steering wheel, which is actually an F-1 style yoke, and a nearly complete absence of knobs and buttons. Aside from a few touch-sensitive spots on the center steering yoke panel and a couple of scrolling thumb rotors on the steering yoke panel, all the other car functions are controlled via touchscreens, and there are quite a few of them.
- A 12.3-inch flat panel behind the steering yoke gives the driver all the usual car stats such as drive mode selection, battery life, and outdoor temperature. It also notifies the driver of the location of surrounding obstacles and traffic. This information is gained through the car’s cameras and ultrasonic sensors.
- A large 17-inch touch screen 2200×1300 display sits in the center console area in landscape orientation and allows the driver to control all aspects of the vehicle including climate control, navigation, messaging, personal schedules, phone calls, streaming entertainment, and gaming. All in crystal-clear HD resolution.
- A nice sized 8-inch rear entertainment screen keeps rear-seat passengers in the loop and entertained. Because the car is completely Bluetooth compatible, passengers can link wireless game controllers to the infotainment screens for remote gaming in comfort.
The in-car electronics are one of the major talking points on the latest Model S rollout and for good reason. While navigation is available on the center console display, it is also simultaneously viewed on the driver’s side dash display along with all the other information. This has a bit of a rocket ship feel from the driver’s seat, and we love it.
The second thing that drivers will notice is the lack of interior plushness. The inside of the Tesla Model S is simple, sleek, and slightly on the cheaper side. There is leatherette (vinyl) covering the seats and other frequently touched surfaces such as the interior door handle. The other surfaces have variations on plastic and fabrics as coverings.
It seems that Tesla is investing more in range, speed, and entertainment capabilities and is focused less on interior luxury. There should be some concession made here due to the high price tag of the vehicle, but it seems that Tesla owners are happy with the trim level as it is. With the over-the-top integrated electronics, it is easy to overlook leatherette and plastic.
The passenger view stands out as unique among all the cars on the market today. The Porsche Taycan seeks to outdo Tesla as far as the number of infotainment screens that can be packed into a single vehicle. However, no carmaker has yet come close to the integration of technology that Tesla has accomplished so far.
Passengers are now able to engage with infotainment screens and entertainment options from every seat in the vehicle. The front passenger can interact easily with the landscape-oriented center console. This also allows for perks such as dual-zone climate control with smooth air circulation throughout the vehicle.
- Bluetooth, wireless, and USB-C charging ports are available for every seat in the sedan. The front lower console has a charging station that can fit two iPhones with ease, giving both driver and passenger equal charging and phone viewing capabilities.
- The roof is the ever-popular glass roof. This innovative two-panel design is extremely strong, beautiful, and provides both UVA/UVB protection and infrared light. No worries about sunburn or cracking vinyl seats under a Tesla glass roof.
- Rear passengers can share an interaction with the smaller 8-inch rear console. This is entertaining for kids and adults alike. Road trips slip by unnoticed while passengers enjoy entertainment and gaming.
- 22 speakers powered by a 960-watt audio system. This is not the absolute most impressive audio system available anywhere, but it is no joke. Every seat in this vehicle has a spectacular audio experience, and this is a big enjoyment for every passenger in the car.
Other than the entertainment features, passengers do not notice much in the way of upgrades. The interior has been redesigned to allow for a little more headroom and legroom, which is much appreciated by adults in the rear seat.
Again, the trim of the car is relatively plain with the main focus on vinyl seating, but the airflow in the cabin is very refreshing, and carbon filters ensure that the air inside is healthy and allergen-free as well. The main pluses are the glass roof and entertainment screens.
The lack of interior and exterior posh and polish meant that MotorTrend’s call-out of the 2021 Tesla Model 3 as the best compact luxury sedan of 2021 came as a very confusing turn of events. This has left companies like Porsche, seeking to gain market share in the luxury EV category with the new luxe Taycan scratching their heads.
The new 2022 Tesla Model S looks a lot like the old Model S, but more trim, sleek, and a bit more aggressive. The details are hard to pick out at a first glance.
- Tesla swapped out all the chrome bits for either body-color painted pieces or black satin trim. The result is an even more sleek and unified look across the entire body. Overall, the look is just a little more aggressive and tight than the older model.
- Other slight alterations include a slightly wider body and chassis, and small tweaks around the fog lamp and front air dam areas.
- These slight modifications have resulted in the lowest drag coefficient of any consumer car available anywhere. This means it is also the most efficient consumer car available on the market today.
- Tesla has redesigned both the wheels and tires to sit as low as possible, which minimizes drag and maximizes road contact for steering and rollover safety. The specially designed wheels also ensure that the insane power output is transferred to the pavement for maximum acceleration.
- Tesla has retained the sleek aerodynamic body details of the previous generation including inset door handles, minimization of cracks and bezels, and aerodynamic mirrors, grills, and air dams.
To casual observers, the new Tesla Model S upgrades will probably escape notice, but the car looks overall more sleek and racy. This is a body design that will age better than probably every other car on the market today.
Technically, the Tesla Model S does not have a hood or a trunk, because the batteries and powertrain are all located around the wheel axles and under the body of the car. This means that the Tesla has a front trunk and a rear trunk, which make for great storage units.
- Between the two trunks and the fold-down rear seats, Tesla advertises the fact that users can store luggage in the front trunk while storing a bicycle in the rear trunk with the seats folded down. No more removing bike wheels to stuff it in the back. That is a hefty amount of storage.
- The motive batteries lie flat underneath the passenger compartment. The battery that powers user electronics and interior perks is located in the front trunk on the passenger side.
- The Tesla does not have a transmission. Instead, it has a single 10:1 gearbox. Due to the efficiency of the electric motors, they produce 100% power even at 0mph. This means that they do not have to gear up as combustion engines do. This also allows them to outperform all competition in road-searing drag races.
- The Tesla Model S Long Range has two synchronous motors. One on the front axle and one on the rear axle. They combine to produce a max of 670hp.
- The Tesla Model S Plaid has three synchronous motors. One powers the front wheels, and two in the rear that power each rear wheel independently. This delivers an absolutely blazing 1,020hp.
The new 2022 Model S battery architecture allows the Tesla to perform back-to-back quarter-mile runs with consistent performance. This overcomes a problem that the Tesla had where it could run a blistering first quarter-mile, and then it would suffer from decreased performance.
Tesla was challenged on this point and came up with a powertrain and battery pack redesign that delivers peak performance repeatedly, on the same charge. This is a major step forward for Tesla. Not only are they delivering the fastest EVs in the world, but the ludicrous speed performance is repeatable.
Other than the super high-tech motors and battery pack updates which also allow for faster charging, there is nothing overtly noticeable in the under-the-hood analysis. The Tesla is apparently straightforward, but the devil is in the details. It is engineered to look simple and perform like a land-bound rocket. Which it does.
There are no real differences in looks between the Tesla Model S Long Range and the Model S Plaid. They are both super sleek and beautiful cars. Some buyers have complained that there are inconsistent build qualities on all Tesla models, and the Model S is no exception. There are occasional complaints about trim pieces that come undone and things like that.
The interiors of both vehicles have the same trim levels and amenities. It is the battery packs and drive trains that set the two vehicles apart. Here are the specs on the Tesla Model S Long Range.
- Dual synchronous motors – one in the front and one in the rear.
- All-wheel drive, due to the dual synchronous motors.
- 670 peak horsepower.
- 0 to 60 acceleration in 3.1 seconds.
- EPA estimated 405 miles of range.
- The price starts at $84,990.
It is important to note that range is affected by various factors. It takes a while to get the Tesla charged to 100% battery capacity. Because of this, most drivers will not be able to get the car charged to full capacity during a road trip. It will most likely be at 80% and lower, so drivers should plan accordingly.
Also, battery life degrades significantly over several years, and the range decreases accordingly. The batteries will take less charge and give less range as the car ages. Extreme heat and cold also take a toll on battery longevity and range. Finally, individual driving habits have a major impact on the available range in an EV.
Having made those concessions, Tesla has still engineered a vehicle that can deliver outstandingly fast acceleration rates while maintaining over 400 miles of range on a fully charged battery. A 3.1-second acceleration from 0 to 60 puts it in the same class as a McLaren, but this is a safety-first car that can haul a small family around town.
The same in styling and amenities to the Long Range, the Plaid takes performance to an atmospheric level. This car outperforms so shockingly that the competition is left staggering and wondering how to keep up. So far the Plaid is in a class of its own.
- Three synchronous motors power the car
- All-wheel drive
- 1,020 peak horsepower
- 0 to 60 acceleration in 1.99 seconds
- Estimated range of 390 miles
- The price starts at 129,990
It remains to be seen what the real-world range is for both the Tesla Model S Long Range and the Tesla Model S Plaid. However, considering the massively increased performance thanks to the third motor in the Plaid, a sacrifice of 15 miles of range may be worth the tradeoff.
From an onlooker’s standpoint, the Model S Plaid looks like a blur. This car set the new quarter-mile world record with an asphalt-melting run time of 9.2 seconds. For this speed to be available in a production car is mind-bending. Buyers can get a Formula One fix on the weekend in the Tesla family commuter.
Considering that these two new models launched for the 2022 (approximate) model year, there may not be any significant updates for a while. The previous model had launched in 2012, so this overhaul comes a full decade after the initial design.
Of course, Tesla continuously updates and tweaks production models, so that does not mean that there will not be additional tech added and greater efficiencies included in future model years, but another complete overhaul in the near future seems unlikely.
Elon Musk had hyped the addition of a Plaid+ version of the Model S sedan but then canceled production plans in June 2021. Elon Musk cited the exceptional performance of the Plaid as being reason enough to not pursue a juiced-up version of the car. However, some buyers are left wishing, due to the increased range that was anticipated in the plus version of the Plaid.
- Musk had hinted at supercar-style acceleration for the Plaid+, but does a 0-60 in under two seconds need that much improvement?
- Musk had estimated the Plaid+ sedan to have a range of 520 miles. That is a full 120-mile range extension that many Tesla owners wish they had.
The assumption is that those who need extended vehicle range will opt for the Long Range version, which also has blazing fast acceleration. However, at 405 miles of range, it falls far short of the 520 that buyers were looking forward to in the Plaid+. Time will tell if this version of the Model S gets a revisit.
It is exciting to see that Tesla has revamped the battery configuration and drivetrain to overcome some previous performance obstacles such as loss of power after the initial acceleration tests. These new Model S versions are zippy, sporty, sleek, and spacious.
The Long Range version of the Model S is ideal for those who want to spend a little less and still get a super-fast car with a somewhat longer range. The Plaid version is perfect for those who want the fastest production car in the world to park in the garage. Both vehicles have a distinct look compared to other cars sold on the market today.