Tesla steers up controversy with major Model S and Model X updates

Tom Barnard

28.1.2021

Tesla has treated its Model S and Model X ranges to a design update. Details were announced during the American brand's earnings call where it also announced that Tesla had recorded its first ever annual profit.

Both the Model S and Model X ranges have been boosted by the arrival of new range-topping Plaid models. For the Model X, the £110,980 Plaid model comes with tri-motor all-wheel drive and peak power output of 1,006bhp (no, that’s not a typo). 0-62mph can be achieved in 2.5 seconds while battery range is 340 miles (provisional). 

Model S buyers can choose between two Plaid models; a £110,980 standard model and a Plaid+ variant for £130,980. The latter comes with a claimed 0-62mph time of 1.99 seconds and a range of more than 520 miles on a charge (provisional). 

Equally startling are a range of interior design changes that feature a radical new ‘yoke’ steering wheel and no indicator stalks. Although doubt remains as to the legality of the wheel design in the UK, it appears on the UK configurator. Tesla has also added a new 17-inch portrait infotainment screen in the centre of the dashboard, along with a new 10-inch HD display ahead in front of the driver. An additional screen has also been added to the rear as part of a new gaming centre that will come as standard. 

Tesla Model X Plaid electric car model X marks the spot... where your £100k went

Both models will be offered with an updated version of Tesla’s acclaimed autonomous driving software. For the first time, this will allow the car to be driven from on-ramp to off-ramp on a motorway and can automatically change lanes and avoiding traffic. The brand’s Autopark function has improved – the car can now park itself in parallel and end-on spaces with the touch of a button. 

Exterior design changes are limited to new bumpers and trim updates with all the existing exterior panels unaltered. 

Although Tesla’s American configurators show the updated Model S and Model X as being available from March, European versions of the same configurators suggest that deliveries are not planned until 2022. This may be due to a lag in updating production schedules, as there are currently no plans to build either model at Tesla’s new Giga Berlin facility in Germany. This plant is earmarked for Model Y production, which is scheduled to start later this year.


Tesla Model X Plaid electric car model steering wheel No yoke-ing matter. Jury's out on whether the aircraft-style wheel will be legal in the UK

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