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“No assembly car has anytime done 0-60 mph in below 2.0 seconds. “—Elon Musk
After an absolute MotorTrend aboriginal analysis of the new 1,020-hp 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid, a car with a promised 1.99-second 0-60-mph time, we can affirm the 2.0-second 0-60 barrier charcoal unbroken. Unless, that is, you address your own rules.
But Isn’t 1.98 Abnormal Quicker Than 2.0 Seconds?
As abounding MotorTrend readers know, we usually analysis at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Our figure-eight and skidpad testing happens in Lot 1. (You can see our annoy marks on Google Maps, in fact.) Our dispatch and braking tests action on Auto Club’s dragstrip. But we run the band astern to bigger simulate the blazon of burghal and agnate anchor akin begin on amaranthine streets about the world. Active the clue in the “correct” administration agency ablution on a able apparent coated with super-sticky VHT, a thick, black, grippy adhesive that allows cars to advance quicker than is accessible on accustomed roads. Because testing on VHT isn’t adumbrative of the distance real-world drivers about encounter, our annal appearance we’ve done so alone alert in MotorTrend’s 72-year history: in 1969 and 2002, both times in heavily modified, drag-race-prepped Corvettes.
During planning, Tesla requested that we not use our accustomed facility. Afterwards abundant aback and forth, we offered to defended use of an automotive proving arena area we conduct Of The Year testing. Tesla afresh told us we could acquire its action of hosting us at Famoso Approach abreast Bakersfield, California, or we could balloon the accomplished thing. We accepted.
Then, at the clue on analysis day, Tesla abreast us it would crave our disciplinarian to barrage the car alone on the VHT-prepped surface. But afterwards added on-site negotiations and a astern pre-run by Tesla’s own analysis driver, we came to an agreement: We could conduct runs in anniversary direction, on both the Tesla-requested VHT and, per our accustomed procedure, on approved asphalt. As we were advancing to run our tests, the Plaid’s handlers accustomed a buzz call, and aback our options were already afresh to barrage alone on the VHT-prepped surface—or leave.
After our own centralized discussions, we chose a third option: We agreed to Tesla’s distance at Famoso and fabricated affairs to arch to our Fontana analysis clue the afterward day to see how quick the Model S Checkerboard would be aback activated below the aforementioned distance we’ve acclimated to cautiously and finer appraise aggregate from abridgement cars to the world’s fastest hypercars.
What Is the Model S Plaid?
The reworked sheetmetal appearance cautiously flared fenders advised to board added auto and tires. The auto now admeasurement 9.5 inches advanced in advanced and 10.5 inches advanced in the rear, increases of 1.0 and 1.5 inches. The car additionally appearance revised advanced and rear fascias, additional a reworked hood. The highest-performance Checkerboard additionally gets a new rear diffuser and a carbon-fiber spoiler.
Inside, Tesla acutely reworked the autogenous to accomplish it added luxurious, spacious, and entertaining—in fact, the aggregation says the advanced bench balustrade are the alone retained parts. The new birr is the bigger change. It appearance a landscape-oriented infotainment arrangement agnate to that of the Model 3 and the Model Y, a new agenda apparatus cluster, a new awning for rear passengers, hidden HVAC vents, and, of course, the arguable “yoke” council wheel.
The best cogent changes are hidden below the skin. The Model S Checkerboard appearance Tesla’s first-ever triple-motor system, bearing a amazing 1,020 application and 1,050 lb-ft of torque.
The Plaid’s distinct advanced and accompanying rear motors are about adapted versions of those begin in the Model 3/Model Y. However, in the Checkerboard they affection atypical carbon-fiber sleeves that acquiesce the motor rotors to circuit at 20,000 rpm to accomplish the car’s claimed 200-mph top dispatch afterwards punching through the stator. These carbon sleeves, Tesla says, accomplish a added circuitous two-speed manual like the one apparent on the Porsche Taycan unnecessary. They additionally accord the Model S Checkerboard a shockingly beeline powerband: Tesla says aiguille application happens at 80 mph and holds abiding all the way to 200 mph (provided you’ve alone $4,500 on the alternative 21-inch auto and your car has a yet-to-be-released software update; in its accepted accompaniment the Checkerboard is bound to 163 mph).
The array backpack was consistently the Achilles’ heel of beforehand Model S accomplishment variants, so Tesla adapted it decidedly to booty abounding advantage of the tri-motor system. It’s hardly abate than afore (100 kWh on the Checkerboard adjoin about 104 kWh on the Model S Accomplishment this car replaces), but Tesla focused its efforts on convalescent coolant and electrical accepted paths. The end ambition is bigger thermal capacity, ensuring the Checkerboard can bear abiding accomplishment afterwards overheating or adeptness reduction. As an added bonus, Tesla engineers say the changes advice the Model S array backpack allegation quicker, too. The EPA ante the Model S Checkerboard on 21-inch auto (like our analysis car) at 348 afar of range. We begin that amount to be about authentic in our own absolute ambit and allegation tests.
Rounding out the Model S Checkerboard is a revised air abeyance with adaptive dampers, custom Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, and the advanced brakes are now hardly above than before.
How Quick Is the Model S Checkerboard on a Able Surface?
No amount the surface, to get the quickest barrage from a 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid, you charge dive into the car’s infotainment arrangement and baddest Drag Band mode. Over the abutting eight to 15 account (the time bare varies), the car preconditions the powertrain for adamantine acceleration, heating or cooling the array as bare and air-conditioned the motors.
Once you’ve enabled Drag Band mode, bound call the tires on the VHT—at Famoso, it was caked on so blubbery it actual about pulled our shoes off—by cutting the burke to bright any bits from the tires. To appoint barrage control, advance adamantine on the brake, columnist the accelerator to the floor, and wait. Over the abutting nine or so seconds, the Model S’ adenoids drops into the Plaid’s “cheetah stance.” Aback the final “launch ascendancy ready” bulletin is displayed, durably columnist your alembic adjoin the beanbag (trust us), absolution the brake, and adhere on.
The Model S Checkerboard zips bottomward the division mile in a awfully quick 9.25 abnormal at 152.6 mph. The run from 0 to 60 mph happens aloof 1.98 abnormal afterwards the atrociously adamantine launch. The Checkerboard covers ambit so quickly, it’s difficult to alike annals what’s happening. The bond gets ablaze in your hands, your abutting anatomy ache as your helmeted arch address into the headrest, and your ambience becloud into bald shapes and colors as a division mile of pavement vanishes beneath you.
Cheater apparent or not, the time is awfully impressive. Alike added absorbing and accurate to Tesla’s word, the Checkerboard is able of announcement those times consistently, never capricious by added than a atom of a additional or so anniversary time we rocketed bottomward the strip. We’ve never activated a car so automatic in its consistency.
The bigger differentiators we begin amid quicker and slower runs were mostly environmental, like rolling over a tar snake at the amiss time or, as the day abject on, the hot afternoon sun authoritative it hardly added arduous for the Checkerboard to accumulate its batteries and motors at their ideal temperatures. The brakes were the car’s sole wart, overheating afterwards our aftermost run of the day.
Tesla’s declared account for its attitude with us apropos VHT launches is that “most customers” will run the Model S Checkerboard at dragstrips. But admitting its speed, we’d be abashed if this were true. For starters, the NHRA—drag racing’s acceptance body—will ban any agent quicker than 9.99 abnormal or faster than 135 mph in the division from active at any of its advance if said agent does not accept the all-important assurance accessories (as it abundantly did to the Dodge Challenger Demon). This includes a abounding cycle cage, window net, disciplinarian abstemiousness system, driveshaft bend (obviously not applicative in this situation), and adept blow switch, not to acknowledgment a abounding chase clothing and helmet for the driver. Tesla is acquainted of this; its cadre joked with the clue agents about actuality befuddled off the band for actuality too quick afterwards our runs. Tesla says it has no affairs to action any of the all-important assurance accessory to accomplish the Model S Checkerboard NHRA-legal.
Even with the all-important assurance gear, the Checkerboard isn’t ill-fitted for bracket antagonism aback application barrage control. Afterwards a affable dragstrip Christmas timberline operator, you’re acceptable to still be continuing at the staging band aback the lights about-face green: Remember, the car needs about 10 abnormal aloof to get into its bobcat stance.
How Quick Is the Model S Plaid, Really?
The abutting day at our accepted Fontana stomping grounds, we performed our braking and skidpad testing and afresh all but one of the dispatch tests we ran at Famoso. We were clumsy to run the abounding division mile again, as Fontana requires us to appoint EMTs and adeptness cadre aback our testing adeptness ability aerial speeds. They additionally crave two weeks’ apprehension to do so, which we didn’t have. Alike so, application our Vbox abstracts from both the able apparent at Famoso and the unprepped burghal at Fontana, we could stitch calm a reasonable appraisal of what the Model S Checkerboard is able of in a non-VHT-aided division mile.
With an air of anticipation, we lined up the Model S Checkerboard for its dispatch tests and waited impatiently as the car spent the abutting 10 account or so basic itself in Drag Band mode. The times to exhausted in adjustment to be the quickest assembly car we’ve anytime tested: 0-60 mph in 2.28 seconds, accomplished in 2017 at the aforementioned clue with a Model S P100D Ludicrous , and a quarter-mile run of 9.74 abnormal at 148.5 mph, done in 2015 in a Ferrari LaFerrari.
Once accessible and in its bobcat stance, the Model S Plaid’s barrage is drama-free, alike afterwards the added advantage of VHT. The electric car accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in aloof 2.07 seconds, added than 0.2 additional quicker than our antecedent almanac holder. Eliminate the accepted one-foot of rollout and the Checkerboard accelerates from 0-60 mph in 2.28 seconds, matching the antecedent almanac holder with rollout. And if we could accept kept going, our abstracts says it’s able of active through the division mile in 9.34 abnormal at 152.2 mph.
The gap amid the Model S’ times on able and unprepped surfaces is astonishingly close, as aloof 0.09 additional separates them to 60 mph.
Amusingly, the Checkerboard launches so berserk hard, it generates added than 1.00 g from 0.2 additional to 2.6 abnormal afterwards launch, peaking at 1.227 g at 32 mph. That’s added g than the car generated in its best 60-0-mph stop, which appropriate 104 anxiety and ailing at 1.221 g.
So, yes, this all makes the 2022 Tesla Model S Checkerboard the quickest assembly car we’ve anytime tested—an immense accomplishment. It’s additionally amid the quickest cartage on auction today, admitting Rimac afresh claimed quicker 0-60 and quarter-mile accomplishment for its Nevera hypercar with a European announcer driving. We attending advanced to apart acceptance Rimac’s claims, as well.
The Model S Plaid’s 1,020 application and lightning-quick dispatch paid assets in our figure-eight test, too. It lapped our advance in 23.5 abnormal at an boilerplate of 0.90 g. Meanwhile, “with the council and anatomy in Sport mode, it feels adventurous but additionally rather abundant on the skidpad,” alley analysis editor Chris Walton said. “It eventually begins to alluvion wide. It’s not necessarily understeer but added like drive carries it there. Eventually, both the brakes and tires lose effectiveness.”
Not agreeable with ballyhoo our 0-60 and quarter-mile records, the Model S Checkerboard claimed yet addition one: Its baking 0-100-0-mph aftereffect was 8.2 seconds, besting the antecedent almanac holder, the McLaren Senna, by 0.3 second.
Activity to Checkerboard in the Real Apple
Ironically, the amazing straight-line achievements abstract from addition awe-inspiring achievement: The Model S Checkerboard is actually artlessly the best Tesla yet. It doesn’t amount if you’re canoeing bottomward the highway, activity through burghal traffic, or slicing bottomward your admired aback road. The Model S Checkerboard delivers, no amount what you ask it to do.
On the artery and about town, the 2022 Tesla Model S Checkerboard is comfortable, quiet, and a adorable abode to canyon the miles. Thanks to its air abeyance and adaptive dampers, the ride is adaptable and able-bodied controlled over all but the best barbarous of impacts.
The ellipsoidal council yoke, as expected, is a absolute affliction to use at low speeds. The Plaid’s 14.0:1 council arrangement needs to be at atomic alert as quick to accomplish alongside parking, multiple-point turns, and U-turns beneath arresting and added intuitive. Alternatively, a variable-ratio council arrangement could advice at lower speeds, too.
The Plaid’s adeptness added than makes up for the bond hassle. We’re acclimated to burning off-the-line dispatch from EVs, but this car’s adeptness to bear and advance a analogously acute boost able-bodied into actionable speeds is actually a new experience. Every on-ramp and freeway casual action becomes an exercise in self-control, as alike breath on the accelerator for a exhausted too continued could bound aftereffect in an unscheduled roadside arrangement with the artery patrol.
On Southern California’s acclaimed Angeles Crest Highway, the Model S Checkerboard demonstrates Tesla abstruse a lot aback its flagship car aboriginal hit the road. Although maybe not as pin-drop absolute as is the Porsche Taycan Turbo S on the aforementioned road, the Model S Checkerboard is Tesla’s best acute accomplishment car yet.
Unhindered by the thinner air aftereffect at distance that plagues cars with centralized agitation engines, adeptness commitment charcoal otherworldly, like a torquey small-block V-8 with an amaranthine powerband. The Tesla’s 1,020 horses and 1,050 lb-ft of torque acquiesce you to rocket adamantine out of corners and eat up every straight. The Plaid’s brakes, admitting overheating at the track, are added than up to the assignment of reining in the Tesla on accessible roads, admitting we’d adopt added antecedent chaw at the top of the pedal’s travel.
At college speeds on a acceptable aback road, the bond becomes a nonissue, as you never charge to punch in added than 90 degrees of input, alike on bound ambit turns. The steering’s bogus depression gives the consequence it lacks a bit of precision, but it’s accessible to accumulate the auto acicular area you appetite them. Somewhat surprisingly, we didn’t feel abundant torque vectoring advancing from the rear axle. Getting on the burke aboriginal midcorner doesn’t aftereffect in the Model S pivoting bound and clawing out of the ambit like you acquaintance in best added high-power all-wheel-drive vehicles. Instead, it pushes adamantine on its alfresco tires alike as it avoids accurate understeer. A added advancing Sport abeyance ambience could help; alike with the arrangement in its firmest mode, the Checkerboard still apparent a addiction to angular hard, abundant in the way abounding hot hatches do.
How Abundant Does the 2022 Model S Checkerboard Cost?
Prices for the 2022 Tesla Model S Checkerboard alpha at $131,190. The actually loaded Checkerboard we activated costs $149,190, about the amount of a Taycan Turbo, and about $15,000 beneath than a Taycan Turbo S. (Of note: Teslas no best authorize for any federal tax incentives.) And if you’re apprehensive why Tesla alleged this the Plaid, well, it’s the alone footfall above Ludicrous—the company’s characterization for its heretofore quickest dispatch mode—in the 1987 Mel Brooks ball cine Spaceballs. And no, there is no checkerboard anywhere on or in the car.
Although the 2022 Tesla Model S Checkerboard didn’t bear a sub-2.0-second 0-60 time on archetypal asphalt—at atomic not yet—it’s no beneath of a arresting accomplishment for the California-based automaker: The quickest car we’ve anytime activated is a $150K five-seat sedan, not some multimillion-dollar, carbon-fiber-encrusted alley missile. It’s appreciably able-bodied rounded, announcement a aggregate of comfort, luxury, performance, and ability that remained a sci-fi fantasy in 2013 aback we called the Model S the MotorTrend Car of the Year. Regardless of how abundant you affliction about dispatch numbers and how they’re achieved, conceivably the best important takeaway is that the Model S Checkerboard is actually amid the best cars on the bazaar today.
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