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New Tesla Model S facelift shows off wild interior, rapid Plaid powertrain

By Tom Fraser, 28 Jan 2021 Car News

2022 tesla model s

New Tesla Model S facelift confirmed with Plaid powertrain, yoke steering wheel, redesigned interior

Tesla has unveiled a long-awaited refresh to its Model S sedan, showing off a radically redesigned interior accompanied by only minor exterior tweaks.

Don't get too excited, though... even though pricing has been revealed, Australia is at the back of the queue to receive the latest version of Tesla's longest-serving model.

The biggest changes are in the interior. Gone is the portrait-mounted centre touchscreen in favour of a Model 3-style 17-inch floating landscape display, while a yoke steering wheel with no stalks replaces the traditional round item.

Gone too, it seems, is any semblance of traditional gear-changing or indicating. There are no visible toggles or paddles, no buttons on the centre console and no lever that could be used to engage forward and reverse modes.

The centre-mounted cinematic infotainment screen can tilt towards passenger or driver and is said to feature brighter, truer colours.

Read more about the Tesla Model S

There’s also a revised dashboard that does away with conventional vents, while its rear seats have accentuated bolstering.

The Model S pictured below is also presented as a four-seater, though there are seatbelt clips for three rear-seaters.

Wireless charging and USB-C ports are available to every passenger, and dark wood, light wood or carbon-look trim accents can be optioned.

The previous digital instrument cluster remains in place behind the new steering wheel.

The Model X SUV also gets a similar interior update, though less is changed on the exterior compared to the Model S.

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Outside, the Model S now features a more aggressive front bumper bar and a subtly tidied rear end, in addition to new-design wheels.

Little is changed around the rest of the car, suggesting a carry-over for the seven-year-old metalwork.

The new Model S is due to launch in Australia in 2022, with Tesla promising a performance boost, too.

Tesla is calling its newest range-topper Plaid+ (replacing the Performance variant), and says this new triple-motor Model S can go from zero to 100km/h in under two seconds while delivering an 836km range.

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The new three-strong range will be on offer locally, and prices are already up despite the long lead time.

It starts with the Model S Long Range ($154,863 driveaway), moves into the Model S Plaid ($215,816 driveaway) and tops out with the Model S Plaid+ ($237,970 driveaway).

Prices are approximate, based on registration in Victoria. 

The Long Range uses two electric motors for a claimed 663km range, can sprint from zero to 100km/h in 3.2 seconds and run onto a 250km/h top speed.

The standard Plaid comes next, with three motors providing a 628km range, a 320km/h top speed and a claimed 2.1-second 0-100km/h sprint.

Tesla's Plaid+ replaces the previous Performance variant. It uses three motors to output more than 820kW, will accelerate to 100km/h in less than two seconds and features carbon-ceramic brake rotors and torque vectoring.

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Tesla’s self-claimed ‘level five’ Autopilot, which was supposedly in development last year, can be optioned for an additional $10,100 and is said to provide “navigation on Autopilot, auto lane change, auto park, Summon, auto steering on city streets and traffic light and stop sign control.”

Of note, Tesla claims that regulatory approval for this version of Autopilot may take longer in some jurisdictions. 

The new design was shown during a quarterly earnings report.

Tesla says production of refreshed Model S and Model X cars is due to begin within weeks in overseas markets.

2022 Tesla Model S Australian pricing

  • Model S Long Range - $154,863 driveaway
  • Model S Plaid - $215,816 driveaway
  • Model S Plaid+ - $237,970 driveaway

Supplied driveaway prices are based on registration in Victoria.

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