- we tested a 2021 tesla model s plaid, and it reached 60 mph in 2.1 seconds on the way to a quarter-mile pass in 9.4 seconds at 151 mph.
- that 60-mph time ties the porsche 918 spyder and 911 turbo s, and it matches the bugatti chiron sport's quarter-mile time, which is the quickest we've ever measured.
- the ferrari sf90 stradale is still the quickest to 60 mph car and driver has ever recorded, beating the plaid by 0.1 second.
before you roast us in the comments, let us first inform you that tesla's 1.99-second zero-to-60-mph claim for the model s plaid involves launching on a super-sticky drag-strip surface. also, that 1.99 rounds to 2.0 when you report results to the tenth. we instead test every car on a non-prepped surface that mimics the pavement on regular roads.
in our testing, we reached 60 mph in 2.1 seconds, which is 0.1 second behind the quickest car we’ve ever tested, the ferrari sf90 stradale, and tied with the porsche 918 spyder and 911 turbo s. it also ties the bugatti chiron for the quickest car we’ve ever recorded in the quarter-mile, blasting through in 9.4 seconds at 151 mph (7 mph slower than the bug), and it’s more than $3 million cheaper.
to achieve those numbers, select drag strip mode in the car’s 17.0-inch touchscreen. that mode warms the battery to the ideal temperatures and, when the brake and accelerator pedals are pressed simultaneously, lowers the front air springs into what tesla calls cheetah stance. we found that the car's acceleration was just 0.1 slower all the way through the quarter-mile without waiting the roughly 10 seconds for the car to squat. also, the plaid's radiator is twice as large as before, which helped it run eight consecutive passes without the major performance degradation that we've seen in tests of previous model ss.
the gut-punching acceleration is most notable when traveling at speed, and when you punch it, feel all four tires scrabbling for grip. the model s plaid is the quickest car we've tested from 30 to 50 mph, doing so in 0.9 second, and from 50 to 70 mph in 1.0 second flat. tesla claims that the plaid will some day be able to reach 200 mph, but our test car topped out at 162 mph (you can read more about that here).
compared with the standard, dual-motor model s, the plaid has an additional electric motor on the rear axle. paired with a 99.3-kwh lithium-ion battery pack, the three electric motors, which now have carbon-sleeved rotors that help them spin up to 20,000 rpm, produce 1020 horsepower and 1050 pound-feet of torque. our test car was also equipped with $4500 21-inch wheels wrapped in michelin pilot sport 4s tires.
tesla's most powerful production car might not be the quickest to 60 mph as ceo elon musk claims, but it did break records in other performance metrics in car and driver testing. and a starting price of $131,440 makes it a performance bargain—in terms of acceleration—over multimillion-dollar exotics.