Tesla Model S Plaid Hits the Drag Strip, Runs 9s and Smokes Model 3 Performance

Tesla Model S Plaid vs Tesla Model 3 Performance 7 photos
Photo: Drag Racing and Car Stuff/YouTube
Tesla Model S Plaid at the drag stripTesla Model S Plaid at the drag stripTesla Model S Plaid at the drag stripTesla Model S Plaid at the drag stripTesla Model S Plaid at the drag stripTesla Model S Plaid at the drag strip
Earlier in June, we saw Jay Leno drive the new Tesla Model S Plaid down the quarter-mile in just 9.24 seconds. With the first EVs delivered to customers, it didn't take long to see an owner bring his Plaid to the drag strip to run 9s and take on dragsters with internal combustion engines.
I'm talking about Steven Thompson, who you already saw smoke a beefed-up Nissan GT-R at the drag strip. But that wasn't his only run. A new video shows Steven making several passes on his own and racing against a Tesla Model 3 Performance.

The compact EV doesn't stand a chance against the Plaid, which wins by a big two-second gap. Specifically, the Model S crosses the line in 9.66 seconds, while the Model 3 needs 11.49 clicks to get there. The Plaid also ran a tad quicker than its sprint against the GT-R, clocked in at 9.71 seconds.

But Steven was actually quicker than that. The footage shows the Plaid running the quarter-mile in 9.47 seconds, to go with a trap speed of 150.52 mph (242.24 kph). That's two-tenths slower than Jay Leno's best pass, but it turns out Steven also managed a 9.3-second run before the owners of the drag strip asked him to take it easy. Unfortunately, that run wasn't captured on video.

Steven claims that he could run the quarter-mile quicker than that with the right setup and a fully charged battery. He also needs to get more familiar with the Plaid, which he took delivery of only a few hours before he brought it to the drag strip.

The video includes a few good minutes of him driving around and giving his first impressions. I guess it's the very first Model S Plaid review that doesn't come from a celebrity or a media outlet.

Steven argues that the EV feels a bit rushed. Apparently, Tesla is already preparing a firmware update to fix some minor issues. He also says that the car feels like a Model S Performance model until it hits 60 mph (96 kph), but things become much more brutal from there, with the electric motors pulling much harder.

He also argues that it could be quicker at the drag strip with radial tires but points out that a fully charged battery might make a bigger difference on stock Michelin rubber.

His only complaint with the Plaid so far is the lack of a track mode. Although it's fitted with a drag strip mode for those low-9s on the quarter-mile, it doesn't have a specific mode for track driving just yet. But he's hoping to get it via an over-the-air update, and knowing Tesla, it will happen sooner than later.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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