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Range-topping Tesla Model S Plaid+ cancelled

Updated Tesla Model S and Model X ranges are due in 2022 but Plaid+ model will no longer feature

  • Model S Plaid+ dropped from lineup
  • Plaid model has 1,006bhp and does 0-60mph in under two seconds
  • Available to order now

The Tesla Model S Plaid+ variant has been cancelled, according to a tweet by Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk. The Plaid+ was due to become the flagship model in the facelifted Model S lineup, with an official range of up to 520 miles, but Musk said in the tweet that there’s “no need, as [the standard] Plaid is just so good”.

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The standard Plaid model will now exist as the flagship of the Model S range instead. It uses the same 1,006bhp triple-motor powertrain that was set to be used in the Plaid+, sprinting from 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 200mph. Despite its formidable performance, the car is still capable of an estimated 370 miles of range, making it one of the most capable electric cars on the market.

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Buyers can order the new Model S Plaid via Tesla’s website now, with prices starting from £110,980. According to the Tesla configurator, the first examples of the refreshed Model S will be delivered to UK customers towards the end of 2022.

Tesla unveiled the facelifted Model S and Model X models earlier this year, with a new triple-motor powertrain and a radical looking U-shaped ‘yoke’ steering wheel. The legality of the design was questioned but the Department for Transport and the Sunday Times confirmed that there are no stipulations for the shape or appearance of steering wheels or similar controls, meaning the new steering wheel can be fitted in UK-spec cars.

New 2022 Tesla Model S and Model X interior

The new Tesla interior design is likely to be rather divisive. The all-new steering wheel appears to have been cut in half, so it resembles the controls in an aeroplane - perhaps fitting given the performance on offer. While it has been confirmed as legal, we have doubts about how useful the yoke will be when you’re trying to manoeuvre around tight car parks or execute a three-point turn.

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Tesla has got rid of the stalks behind the wheel too, so all the controls you’d normally find there, such as the indicators and wiper functions, are integrated with the wheel itself. They’re touch-sensitive panels instead of buttons and, again, we’re not convinced this is a better solution than the setup in current Teslas.

With the top of the wheel removed, the view to the newly fitted digital instrument cluster is uninterrupted. Next to it is a new 17-inch tablet-like touchscreen, which we’re told is ultra-bright and responsive, and able to tilt left and right. You can use it as a games console as well as an infotainment screen, although you won’t be allowed to use the function while the car is moving. It’s likely the games console option won’t be able to be selected from the touchscreen once you put the car in ‘drive’.

Tesla has also redesigned the second row of seats. There’s extra leg and headroom, plus another screen in the back of the front armrest. You’ll be able to watch TV or play games on this even when the car is moving. Front- and rear-seat passengers both get access to a pair of wireless phone charging pads. Other tech includes Bluetooth connectivity for multiple devices and a 22-speaker stereo with active noise cancelling.

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The American brand’s ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ has also been enhanced. It can now drive itself on the motorway - even handling lane changes - plus drive out of a tight parking space and park itself. Despite the name, it’s important to remember that the Model S still can’t fully drive itself, and relying on the car completely is illegal in many countries.

Tesla Model S Plaid

Previewed by a slightly unusual Nurburgring lap record attempt last year, the Tesla Model S Plaid is now part of the line-up. Slotting in at the top of the range, the Plaid offers a 200mph top speed and a 390-mile range. It’s worth noting that UK range figures may vary due to the stricter WLTP economy test.

With supercar pace comes a similarly chunky price. While the standard ‘Long Range’ model is available to order from just under £84,000 at the time of writing, the Plaid costs £110,980 before options. Paint colours cost £1,450 or £2,500 and, if you don’t like the standard 19-inch alloy wheels, the 21-inch wheels cost £4,400. Pick another interior colour and you’ll have to pay an additional £2,000, with the Enhanced Autopilot costing £3,400. Above this, the Full-Self Driving Capability is the most expensive option at £6,800.

Tesla Model X Plaid

The new Tesla Model X Plaid gets the same triple-motor electric powertrain and, even with the heavier SUV body, it hits 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds and will complete a quarter-mile drag in under 10 seconds. Up to 340 miles of range is promised, which is only 20 miles off the Long Range version but, again, these figures could be slightly different under WLTP testing. The Model X Plaid costs the same as the Model S, at £110,980.

Read all about Tesla here, or check out our guide to the fastest SUVs on sale.

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