Model S Plaid - 1:0 for Tesla: First drive in the crazy 1020 hp hyper sedan

The Tesla Model S Plaid achieves driving performance that has not previously existed in the sedan sector - and for which there is virtually no competition.

Model S Plaid - 1:0 for Tesla: First drive in the crazy 1020 hp hyper sedan

The Tesla Model S Plaid achieves driving performance that has not previously existed in the sedan sector - and for which there is virtually no competition. has now driven the inconspicuous car on German roads for the first time.

The reference to the madness is only a few centimeters wide and high: it is in the form of a badge on the boot lid of the Model S (and X) Plaid, which has now also been launched in Europe. It shows a kind of spider's web, in the middle of which a tunnel could perhaps begin, and around it, forces are represented by means of symbolized rays. It could also be a black hole you're being sucked into. Somehow something astronomical, and the plaid is also astronomical in a certain way. What that means? More on that later.

Plaid (the name comes from the "Star Wars" parody "Spaceballs") describes the future top versions of the respective series. But you could also say that this particular Tesla Model S is actually the top-of-the-line vehicle across the entire automotive landscape. Almost anyway.

With an output of 1020 hp, but a purchase price of only 137,990 euros in return - and here you really "only" have to say - this all-wheel drive business class is one of the most spectacular offers on the entire car market. In any case, this applies in relation to the driving performance, especially the acceleration. But the maximum speed is also crazy at 282 or 322 km/h in connection with a hardware pack that is subject to a surcharge for a probably considerable five-digit sum (how high is not yet known).

But before I discuss the car in its entirety, I would like to make a brief digression on the subject of acceleration. Of course, there are currently no measurements by local specialist magazines with reliable results. But the evidence that the plaid sedan sprints from 0 to 200 km/h in under seven seconds is growing. This puts the US car on a par with a Bugatti Chiron. A Ferrari SF90 should play in a similar league.

Even seasoned super or hyper athletes such as the Ferrari F8, Lamborghini Aventador, McLaren Senna or Porsche 911 Turbo S, on the other hand, are left behind in terms of longitudinal dynamics. And by sedan standards, the result is even more impressive. Except for the Mercedes-AMG GT four-door with the electrified eight-cylinder, there is no sedan that accelerates to 200 km/h in significantly less than ten seconds, and even the Untertürkheimer should hardly take less than seven seconds. Even more impressive is the slightly slower chunk X (the SUV variant at a rate of 140,990 euros) compared to the S with its huge frontal area and around 300 kilograms more weight.

In case you get bored - it's about to finally get behind the wheel. Behind the halved wheel, one has to say. Because Tesla preferred to give its fastest models a so-called yoke, which means nothing more than a control yoke, i.e. in a similar form to that used in aircraft cockpits. Whether you like it or not, you might get used to steering faster than to the functional peripherals. Accidentally honking the horn or blinking incorrectly (both activated via the touch surface on the yoke) could happen at first.

But do you still have to blink in the plaid? After I activated "D" on the large screen with a swipe gesture and meanwhile reached the well-developed and mostly unlimited motorway network in the middle of Munich's sometimes lonely suburban belt, most road users cruise behind me. Luckily I have a clear path. So full steam ahead, yes I can.

And puuuuh, what's happening here? Honestly, you get muddled trying to count the numbers on the speedometer aloud while accelerating - because you just can't pronounce them that quickly. It doesn't work, and not up to the limit value, which in this case is dictated by the covers of winter tires with the speed index "W" (270 km/h). Duels with a plaid? Forget it, your Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche or whatever driver. Yes, you can get by against the plaid - with cars like an Aston Martin Valkyrie maybe or some Koenigsegg models or the McLaren Speedtail.

The difference, however, is that with such extroverted hyper athletes you expect the performance to be worth several millions - but not with the well-behaved Tesla sedan. And anyone who now comes around the corner with the objection that the three-motor can't maintain its performance for long. No, no, big denials. The Tesla engineers have done a good job and apparently optimized both the cooling performance and the battery management in such a way that the acceleration performance can rightly be considered reproducible.

Even the intensive use of it during the test track length of more than 100 kilometers reveals no signs of fatigue. Not even if the battery level slips below the 50 percent mark. Nevertheless, it should not be ruled out that a dying battery will affect performance, so it's better to quickly top up with the Supercharger - it's done quickly.

Even if low consumption is certainly not the primary reason why Plaid customers buy it, it should be mentioned that the factory-specified average consumption of 18.7 kWh/100 kilometers is very reasonable if it turns out to be true. And 100 kWh battery capacity results in a range of 600 kilometers (WLTP), which can be described as suitable for long distances.

If you manage to move the right pedal carefully enough at all. But you should really do it, namely to find out that the air-suspended high-tech four-door fluffs its 2.1 tons unladen mass with a relaxed pace quite gently over bad asphalt paths. Meanwhile, the residual concentration is enough to establish that the Model S's much-maligned build quality is actually much finer than some prejudices would have us believe.

Let's be fair - the upper middle class does not receive an architecture award. The fittings are too functional, the surfaces too banal and the really large touchscreen (which can be operated intuitively, by the way) a bit too trivial. The Model S Plaid is not at all irrelevant, but rather one of the craziest cars of recent times. A hidden champion of the performance discipline at an almost outrageously low price. But the competition from southern Germany will watch the plaid very closely and respond with a reaction. Certainly.

The newly created US brand Lucid is already in the starting blocks with a similar offer. It is therefore to be expected that the cards will be reshuffled in good time. In any case, it is now 1-0 for Tesla.