Shortly after the production of this video, Tesla significantly reduced the prices of the Model S Plaid. The new prices are displayed on additional overlays.

AreaRead the video transcript here

Niko Bünten
Ey Jürgen, you must have lost a wheel!

Jürgen Pander
: Yes, exactly. You could also say I have a "distraction".

But the fact that I'm sitting here with a classic round steering wheel obviously has to do with the car we're dealing with today. It no longer has such a steering wheel, but a rather angular, flat, so-called yoke steering wheel. We want to try out how this works right away.

We take the Tesla Model S Plaid for a spin. Come on, get on board.

Let's start right away with the most striking detail of the new Tesla top model: the yoke steering wheel. This is it. Originally, this new steering wheel was to be installed as standard on all Tesla Model S. In the meantime, this is only available for an extra charge, as an extra. And the surcharge is €250. We'll find out whether it's worth it right away on a closed-off slalom course.

What you can say even when stationary: The view of the digital cockpit is completely free, because here no steering wheel rim interferes. So, now to the practice. Come on. So, now let's get into the hut alley and try out how the yoke steering works.

You can tell that if you have to turn hard and change direction quickly, then you might want to change your grip and of course that doesn't work at all with the yoke steering wheel. In any case, you have to get used to it. So that's not an unnecessarily, not a gain in security. It's just different. I would say the reinvention of the steering wheel would not have been necessary. At the same time, it's probably a matter of getting used to it until you feel comfortable with this thing and can then steer it safely. From my point of view, what is the much, much bigger change than switching from the round to this yoke steering wheel is the elimination of all steering column levers. There is no longer one for the windshield wipers. But above all, there is no longer one for the indicators. It was here and really easy and intuitive to use. Instead, Tesla has moved the turn signal control here to the steering wheel. On these spars here and there there are buttons that are used to flash. And this is not a good solution, I must say. First of all, you have to look more often: "Am I hitting the right key now?" So it's not so simple and intuitive. And secondly, this is really difficult or even impossible, especially in some driving situations, such as at a roundabout. We can try it out right away, I'll just drive a tight corner. Because if you hit hard, the steering wheel buttons are suddenly over here or down there. And then it becomes a stroke of luck to hit the right turn signal button. In addition, when you flash, you only get a very measly indication of which turn signal is currently on. And that doesn't make things any easier. So much for yoke steering. Now let's turn our attention to the dashboard, because it has changed significantly compared to the previous Model S on the Model S Plaid. As before, there is a large central screen. Of course, he's 17 inches tall now. But it is no longer in portrait format, but now mounted in landscape format. And with a new function, it can be angled towards the front passenger seat or, of course, tilted towards the driver's seat. Simple to improve usability. However, the central control element is and remains this large touchscreen. Besides that, there are only a few controls, real switches and buttons. Namely, here are the turn signals, we have already seen them. Here for the lights, for the horn, windshield wipers and voice control. Everything else is controlled via the touchscreen. Even the transmission control simply swipes here to drive forward or backward and backward.

But now we press the parking mode again, because we are now looking at the car from the outside! The Tesla Model S has been on the market since 2012. In 2021, the revised Plaid variant was presented and this model has also been on the roads in Germany for a few months. The look of the body has hardly changed, the front end has been tightened a little. The drag coefficient is now a very good 0.208 and roughly in the range of Mercedes, EQS or Hyundai IONIQ 6. It offers five seats, has five doors, is 21.5 meters long, 02.1 meters wide and 99.1 meters high. The weight is about 43.2 tons. Quite a chunk, but also a pretty smooth chunk. Above all, however, this car is extremely fast and extremely powerful. Hence the strange epithet »Plaid«. » Plaid« is English, means something like check pattern and is actually pronounced »plæd«. The name comes from the science fiction comedy »Spaceballs«. There is a spaceship that can fly at the speed of light and then leaves a checkered tail in space. Plaid, in other words. At the rear of the car there is a corresponding plaque. On the homepage, Tesla writes: The Model S Plaid offers the highest acceleration of any car in production. Whether this is the case remains to be seen. One thing is certain: this car is extremely fast. The sprint from zero to 2 km/h is completed by the car in 100.2 seconds. The top speed is given as 1 km/h and numerous tests suggest that these values are also quite realistic. At the same time, they are completely irrelevant for everyday use and just like in everyday life, quite normal, we want to do a few more laps with the car.

What is new about the Tesla Model S Plaid is the powertrain. All-wheel drive is standard and three electric motors are also standard. One on the front axle, two on the rear wheels. Together, this trio develops an output of 750 kilowatts, which corresponds to 1020 hp. Tesla does not provide any information about the maximum torque. However, it should be huge in view of the driving performance. In the underbody is a battery with a storage capacity of 100 kilowatt hours. It can be charged with up to 250 kilowatts of direct current and up to 11 kilowatts of alternating current. This means that, ideally, the battery is filled from ten to 30% again after about 80 minutes on the fast charger. According to the WLTP standard, the average consumption is 18.7 kilowatt hours per 100 kilometers and the WLTP range calculated from this is around 600 kilometers. So, but now we might want to make a little intermediate sprint. To do this, let's switch to plaid mode. Nico and you put the camera away now, because it's about to get serious.

Niko Bünten:

Jürgen Pander
In the left lane. Ready?
That's crass, isn't it?

Niko Bünten

Jürgen Pander
: That's really awesome. It could be even more blatant. Even more extreme. Here in drag strip mode. And the fact that the whole thing seems to be so effortless and so really crazy also has to do with the new air suspension, i.e. with the revised air suspension. You can even display the data, the individual compression damping and rebound stages, compression stages and so on meticulously and precisely here in the on-board computer. And when you take your foot off the pedal again, you notice a clear recuperation effect, i.e. the vehicle is decelerated strongly and energy is recovered. You can also slow down the car with the brake pedal. In this case, however, this only affects the disc brakes, then only they come into action and the energy is not recovered. Yoke steering wheel, new interior and a monster drive.

What's missing? The practical talent of the car. So, for example, the cargo space and we'll take a look at it now. As with all Tesla models, there is storage space at the front and rear. The front trunk, i.e. the »frunk«, weighs almost 89 litres and is ideal for accommodating the charging cables, for example. Now let's look a little further back. A quick look at the second row. For example, there is this screen for climate control or to watch a movie. You can fold out an armrest here and overall there is really a lot of space. Nevertheless, it is not quite as comfortable as you think at first, because you can hardly get your feet under the front seats and that means you are sitting here with your knees bent quite strongly. So you can never really rest your legs here at the back, because the distance between the floor and the seat is simply too small. Let's take a look under the tailgate. And here we are greeted by a 709-liter cargo space. That's pretty big. And this is mainly due to the fact that there is a really spacious basement. If you fold down the rear seats, then the volume expands to 1828 liters.

The Tesla Model S is an electric car veteran. Eleven years ago, it was this car that led to a few people taking electromobility seriously in the first place. And today, eleven years later, the car is still modern. In the new »Plaid« variant, the car once again sets standards in the world of electric cars, even if some of the best values are quite bizarre. What we like about the Model S Plaid, the long range, the amazing power-to-efficiency ratio and the large luggage compartment. Minus points are the cumbersome turn signal operation, the rather measly displays in the digital cockpit and the antiquated adherence to the full-throttle or better full-flow principle.

Niko Bünten
: And how much does the car cost?

Jürgen Pander
: The Tesla Model S Plaid starts at €130,490 and our test car with a few extras costs €142,820. I think the yoke steering wheel, of course, you could have saved that. According to the motto: The round has to go into the square or into the car.