Wall Street Journal: After Driving Tesla Model S Plaid, “Nothing Will Ever Feel Fast Again”

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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.


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Matt Pressman

Matt is all about Tesla. He’s a TSLA investor, and he loves driving the family's Model 3, Model S, and Model X company cars. As co-founder of EVANNEX, a family business specializing in aftermarket Tesla accessories, he’s served as a contributor/editor of Electric Vehicle University (EVU) and the Owning Model S and Getting Ready for Model 3 books. He writes daily about Tesla and you can follow his work on the EVANNEX blog.

Matt Pressman has 332 posts and counting. See all posts by Matt Pressman