Tesla Model S, Model X get revised looks, 520-mile range option, big price increase

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

Tesla discount

During its fourth-quarter earnings call today, Tesla revealed significant upgrades to its Model S all-electric sedan. The changes bring the car more in line with the looks and technology offerings of its Model Y and Model 3 brethren.

Tesla Model S

Tesla has tweaked the outside of the Model S, giving it a new front bumper with revised air intakes, an altered rear diffuser, and two new wheel designs (19- Tempest (included) and 21-inch Arachnid ($4,500) designs). The Model S’s exterior trim is now finished in black, like the Model Y. White will remain the only no-cost paint job option Tesla offers on the car.

Tesla will sell the Model S in three different grades. The Tesla Model S Long Range is priced at $79,990 (a big jump from the $69,420 entry model on the previous Model S) and comes with two electric motors and all-wheel drive. The company says the car gets from zero to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph. The range of that model is 412 miles.

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The Model S has received exterior revisions while the Model X has not. They share interior design.Photo courtesy of Tesla

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The mid-grade Tesla Model S Plaid has three electric motors and torque vectoring functionality. It gives the driver access to 1,020 horsepower and has a zero to 60 mph time of 1.99 seconds. This version of the Model S has a 390-mile range and a $119,990 price tag.

The top-tier Tesla Model S Plaid+ delivers over 1,100 horsepower and can get from zero to 60 mph faster than the Model S Plaid. It has a top speed of 200 mph and a range of over 520 miles. It comes with a $139,000 price tag.

The most significant changes are inside the cabin of the Model S where there’s a horizontally-orientated 17-inch touch screen at the center of the dashboard with up to 10 teraflops of processing power. The screen boasts 2200×1300 resolution. In front of the driver, there remains a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Rear-seat passengers get an 8-inch screen that gives them access to the same infotainment and games as the main screen. It works with wireless controllers.

There’s more small item storage in the new car and wireless charging and Bluetooth for multiple devices. There’s also USB-C charging ports. Heated seats in both rows and ventilated front seats are standard.

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A new steering wheel and infotainment screen dominated conversation surrounding the interior changes of the vehicle.Photo courtesy of Tesla

The talk of the town is Tesla’s new steering wheel though it’s not exactly a wheel insomuch as a Formula 1 car is driven by a steering wheel. Rather than having traditional stalks for turn signals, lights, and wipers, those functions are controlled by touch buttons on the wheel.

The Model S now comes with more carbon fiber and wood trim, covering door panels and parts of the dashboard. Black, beget, and white remain as the only interior color scheme options. Tesla has redesigned the car’s door cards and rear seats, which now have a fold-down armrest with cup holders.

Tri-zone climate control; a 22-speaker, 960-watt audio system; HEPA filtration; and a glass roof are standard. The only besides exterior enhancements is Tesla’s Full-Self Driving suite of driver assist systems that is not actually autonomous vehicle technology. That’s a $10,000 add-on.

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The car lacks traditional climate control buttons, instead relying on the screen to command those functions.Photo courtesy of Tesla

Tesla is currently accepting orders for the upgraded Model S now. The company expects the first deliveries for Model S Long Range and Plaid cars will happen in March. The Plaid Plus version isn’t due until late 2021. Keep in mind, Tesla’s timeline usually gets pushed a bit.

Tesla Model X

Meanwhile, the Model X will continue to have the same exterior design, but gets the new infotainment screen, steering wheel, and rear passenger screen that the Model S does.

Tesla is pricing the Model X Long Range at $89,990 (a $10,000 jump from the previous edition). It has 360 miles of range, a top speed of 155 mph, and a zero to 60 mph Tim elf 3.8 seconds. A more robust Tesla Model X Plaid has 340 miles of range, a top speed of 163 mpg, and a zero to 60 mph time of 2.5 seconds. That version will run buyers $119,000. There is no Model X Plaid+ variant.

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