autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 

Model S Plaid's 1st Independent 1/4-Mile Run Is Here and It's Disappointing

Ever since it launched its first car, the Lotus Elise-based Roadster, performance has played a very important role in Tesla's marketing strategy. Some might even say the most important, or at least on par with maximum range and charging time.
Tesla Model S Plaid drag race 29 photos
Tesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PresentationTesla Model S Plaid PageTesla Model S Plaid Page
Just in case there was any doubt, Musk all but confirmed it during the Model S Plaid delivery event by saying that Tesla isn't on a mission to build the best electric vehicle, but the best car, period. That includes everything, from safety all the way to performance.

But is the Tesla Model S Plaid really all it's made up to be? Well, we can't know for sure right now, but the first few bits of information suggest it might fall a bit short. Don't get us wrong, a sedan this size with room for an entire family that's quicker over the quarter mile than full-blown hypercars is still an unbelievable achievement, we're just comparing its real-world performance to the very high bar it set for itself.

Leaving the quarter mile aside for a moment, let's talk about the videos that Unplugged Performance has been posting online lately, showing Randy Pobst overtaking all sorts of fast cars (Lambos, McLarens, Porsches) on the Laguna Seca at the wheel (make that "yoke", at least for the first three laps) of an Unplugged Model S Plaid prototype.

However, the videos offer little to no context. To the unaware viewer, it may look as though there was some sort of race going on. In reality, all the other drivers (most of them amateurs) were there as part of the Hypercar Invitational event, so they were on the track for pure recreational events. That's not to say the Plaid couldn't out-perform them if they were indeed competing but focusing on the overtake without mentioning anything about the context makes the video seem a bit deceitful.

Now, on to the first recorded independent quarter mile run and the Plaid's time. Obviously, there are a lot of unknowns, such as the EV's initial state of charge, the track surface, or whether the driver was going after the best possible time or was just casually racing, but since we can't know any of that, we'll focus on the facts.

The recorded run was done in jest, but the owner of the Plaid also posted on Twitter his best pass on the night, and it's 9.717 seconds with a trap speed of 149.12 mph (239.98 km/h). On its own, that's seriously impressive but compared to Tesla's claims of 9.247 seconds at 152 mph (245 km/h), it's almost half a second slower. For almost every other activity, half a second is close to nothing, but when it comes to drag racing, it can make the difference between being the first and the 100th.

More videos showing the Plaid in action will follow and once it gets in the hands of people like DragTimes' Brooks Weisblat, we expect to see times that are closer to Tesla's current claim, maybe even better. The best we have now is a 9.717 seconds run, so take that as you will. For the moment, the reason we're calling it "disappointing" is that it suggests the EV might need very special conditions to replicate the 9.247 seconds run. Let's hope we're wrong.


 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories