Pulitzer Prize-winning auto columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Dan Neil, recently took the new Tesla Model S Plaid out for a spin on Route 299 in California. To sum it up, according to Neil, “the Plaid’s signature trick: the instant, seamless, soft-singing surge of scarcely endurable thrust, from whenever, until you see Jesus.”
“And this car. Marone. While much has been made of the Plaid’s straight-line acceleration — 0–60 mph in 1.99 seconds and ¼-mile time of 9.2 seconds, both records for a series-production automobile — not enough has been said about its lateral acceleration, its race car-like roadholding and mechanical grip. Forget planking. Route 299 is the core workout you’ve been looking for,” notes Neil.
He continues, “Between bouts of awe and car sickness — Sharp Curves Next 22 Miles — the Plaid sometimes had a melancholic effect on me. Man, nothing will ever feel fast again. Every piston-powered brag must now come with an asterisk; every Cars and Coffee, a sacrament of denial.”
A look at the evolution of Tesla’s first sedan from its early days to the recent transformation into ‘Plaid” (Source: Tesla)
Okay, so what about Tesla’s build quality? “To anyone still grumbling about body-panel gaps, please. Our car was built like a nuclear sub, and sounded a bit like one too, with a bathyspheric quiet provided by acoustic glass in all the windows. Honestly, all you hear is tire noise,” writes Neil.
Sure, Neil had a few quibbles, but he says, “The star of the show is the car’s stitched-vegan leather steering yoke, subbing for a conventional steering wheel. More of a butterfly than yoke, the controller wouldn’t look out of place in any late-model business-jet cockpit or simulator. And if you are strafing the redwoods by dawn’s early light — switch-back to hairpin, zing-zoom — the yoke feels amazing, futuristic, like you’re Princess Leia on the forest moon of Endor. Or is that just me?”
Originally posted on EVANNEX.