Watch Jay Leno Test the Tesla Model S Plaid’s Acceleration Over the Quarter-Mile

Jay Leno tries to break record in Tesla's new Model S Plaid on 'Jay Leno's Garage' 7 photos
Photo: CNBC Television on YouTube
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As much as he loves internal combustion, Jay Leno isn’t a naysayer. The one they call the hardest working man in showbiz understands what Tesla is trying to prove with the Plaid, the newest powertrain option for the Model S and the fastest-accelerating production vehicle in the world.
The former host of The Tonight Show had the opportunity of driving the Model S Plaid as fast as possible in a straight line on street-legal tires, and his best quarter-mile run ended in 9.247 seconds at 152 miles per hour (245 kilometers per hour). Those numbers are more than enough to put Tesla’s full-size luxobarge ahead of the Ferrari SF90 Stradale, Bugatti Chiron, and other exotics, which is absolutely nuts for a car that retails from $130,000.

On the other hand, there are some problems with it. The strip-slaying Plaid is $50,000 more than the Long Range, doesn’t offer as much driving range, and it may not qualify for the next iteration of the federal tax credit for EVs. To whom it may concern, the U.S. government intends to skim $7,500 to $12,500 off a new electric vehicle’s price as long as it retails below $80k.

Secondly, the Plaid isn’t the ultimate quarter-mile production car. Tesla has famously pulled the plug on the Plaid+ before the delivery event in Fremont, and there’s also the second-generation Roadster looming on the horizon. The removable-top coupe with a 2+2 seating layout is advertised with a quarter-mile time of 8.8 seconds, a top speed in excess of 250 miles per hour (402 kilometers per hour), and roughly 620 miles of range (998 kilometers).

The hype surrounding the Plaid, therefore, is obviously blown out of proportion. But on the upside, what other brand-new car offers 1,020 horsepower for the price of a low-mileage 2021 Chevrolet Corvette?

Beyond the software and hardware that made the Plaid happen, the latest Model S is a bittersweet glimpse of the mid-term future of the automobile. The days of internal combustion may be numbered, but the all-electric onslaught won’t consist exclusively of boring vehicles such as the Leaf.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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