Tesla reckons 200mph is coming; a Taycan-toppling 175mph arrives first
By Matt Bird / Wednesday, January 5, 2022 / Loading comments
It’s nice to know that even in the world of electric vehicles some old-fashioned Top Trumps stats are still being used to promote a car. Speed and power, whatever the source, is exciting, which Tesla knows as well as any other carmaker. See its latest Over The Air software update for the Model S Plaid: the 1,020hp flagship is now capable of 175mph, instead of 163mph. So the promised 200mph remains elusive, but as is often the way with things Tesla promises, you can bet it’s somewhere in the pipeline.
Still, 175mph remains significant, not least for an electric vehicle that’s now 10 years old. And plenty of EVs are still sold with what look like fairly measly top speeds, however irrelevant they are to everyday driving on restricted motorways. The new headline speed means the Plaid is faster at the top end than any Porsche Taycan (162mph for the Turbo S) plus many of the petrol-powered German saloons; even with the 155mph/250kph speed limiters raised, it’s often to 280kph – or 174mph. And, yes, it’s a solitary mile per hour, but don’t forget Top Trumps. More is better, no matter the margin. Furthermore, from what can be gleamed so far, 200mph won’t be far off; the claim was always that the Plaid need burlier brakes to deal with the double ton, and a set of ceramics is set to be offered from mid-2022. So maybe it’s then…
Until that point, there’s a new Track Mode as well as the top speed increase to keep Plaid buyers entertained. Like many a similar setting in combustion powered cars, Tesla’s Track Mode ramps up the Model S to be as sharp on circuit as possible. Both the torque vectoring and regenerative braking are enhanced beyond standard, the suspension is dropped, and performance is boosted with a more aggressive map for the heat pump. Inside, there’s a new Track Mode screen with all the displays you might expect: G-meter, lap timer, telemetry and so on.
Which, if you’re anything like us and can spell Pflanzgarten without looking it up, points to one thing – Tesla wants to beat its own Nurburgring record. It was only September that the 7:35.579 was set, but time moves fast in the world of EVs; given the ‘ring records held by the domestic manufacturers in other categories, you can bet Audi, Porsche and Mercedes (amongst others) would love to snatch the zero-emission title away from Tesla. Only thing being more speed and better brakes are quite handy at the Nordschleife, like so many circuits. And the Model S does have a knack of defying expectations – we’ll keep you posted.
- Tesla Model S Plaid sets official ‘ring record
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