Rimac Nevera Beats Model S Plaid, But At 18 Times The Cost

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In a recent Drag Times video, we see the Rimac Nevera set a new world record for a production vehicle after showing off some big track-oriented capabilities that Teslas don’t have. It’s worth noting, though, that this happens at over 18 times the cost of the Model S Plaid.

They start the video at the track, with a Rimac driver (pronounced “REE-motz,” not “Rye-Mack” or “Rim-ack”) giving Drag Times a tour of the vehicle.

Mechanically, it’s a quad-motor vehicle with independent mechanical connections between each motor and each wheel. Each wheel produces almost 500 horsepower, with total possible system power being over 1900 horsepower, and 1700 lb-ft or torque. This drive system and a 120 kWh battery all sit in a one-piece composite monocoque frame with metallic bumper attachments for crumple zones.

Because the motors are all independently connected to one wheel each (with what looks like gear reduction), the vehicle can do various types of torque vectoring, and the driver can set power to go to the front or rear to do different things on the track. It’s theoretically capable of things like “tank turns” and other tricks, but it isn’t programmed to do so. There’s a track mode, a drift mode (with power only to rear wheels and less traction control), as well as range mode and other modes meant for the street.

It has active aerodynamics, with a wing and diffuser that can move, as well as other moving features around the vehicle for track duty at high speed.

Rimac claims a 0-to-60 mph time of 1.85 seconds, with 0–100 mph at 4.3 seconds, 0–186 mph in under ten seconds, and a top speed of 258 mph. These figures were all put to the test later in the video, with mixed results that were still quite amazing.

The interior has two seats, a performance-oriented infotainment system, a gauge cluster display, and a series of knobs to select direction, change modes, etc. Basically, it’s a vehicle that’s designed for the track and not as a minimalist luxury car like you’d get with a Tesla. I’m not saying either approach is better than the other, but they’re definitely meant for different drivers and buyers.

One final thing: it has a launch mode that’s always ready in any mode. To do a launch, simply hold the brake with one foot, press the gas with the other foot, and slip your foot off the brake pedal. The vehicle knows that a launch is intended and takes care of the rest so you don’t have to menu dive.

Performance Results (With Some Context)

They first put the vehicle in drift mode to do burnouts, so that the tires would be hot and sticky for some track runs. Once in the drift mode, they only had to stab the gas pedal to get the rear tires to light up. After doing that, they practiced doing a launch to get experience with that before doing a track run, and the driver grunted from the sudden acceleration.

“Wow, that’s insane! It’s got so much power!” he said, also commenting that the car felt light despite being heavy.

The Rimac driver told Drag Times that the torque vectoring system is what makes it feel so much lighter. It’s giving a lot of assist to every driver movement, using steering input to vary and distribute power to keep the car feeling nimble in a variety of situations.

With no burnout to heat the tires up, and Michelin 4S tires, it completed a 1/4 mile in 8.74 seconds @ 165 mph, beating the best known Model S Plaid time. Doing a burnout to increase traction, the time dropped to 8.6 seconds, and causing the driver to grunt from the G forces again. “God, this car, it takes your breath away,” he said.

In the final pass, with a burnout and more experience drag racing the vehicle, they achieved 8.58 seconds at 167.51 mph, setting a world record for a production car. Onboard data from measuring devices Drag Times brought along showed that 0–60 mph happened in 2.2 seconds, and 0–130 mph happened in 5.6 seconds on the first run. In subsequent runs, it got better, with a subtracted first foot 0–60 mph of 1.9 seconds.

In their next video, Drag Times plans on showing us what happened next when they decided to race a Model S Plaid against the Nevera, head to head, on the same track.

Final Thoughts

Yes, the Rimac Nevera is going to beat the Plaid in the next video. We know the numbers, so we can’t expect to see something strange happen. I’m still looking forward to seeing it, though. I’m happy to see the torque and traction wars continue, renewed now by electric power.

To fail to beat the fastest production car in the world by half a second stings a lot less for Tesla when you consider that the Nevera costs 18 times more than the Plaid. To have a family car (assuming a wealthy family) come within a second of beating a dedicated $2.4M race car on the track is still simply amazing, and the thing still has room for kids and groceries. In other words, it’s a weird car world right now.

Model S comparisons aside, it’s obviously an amazing vehicle. It beats everything in the quarter mile and in 0–60 mph, but it looks like it’s designed to be extremely competitive in general track use. I’d imagine most owners would trailer this down to the track (perhaps with a Cybertruck starting next year?) and use it as a dedicated race car. Some of these will be seen on the street, of course, but at that price it’s going to be something most people wouldn’t want to see share the street with a $500 Chevy Cavalier driven by a hormonal teenager touching his girlfriend’s leg. I know I wouldn’t.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the vehicle does on the track, and how it performs against the other fastest cars out there, which are increasingly becoming all electric. With the torque vectoring, stiff chassis design, and active aerodynamics, expect it to be at least competitive with Plaid on the track, and maybe beat it a bit. We’ll have to see.

Don’t expect this record or any other record this car sets to last long, as the electric supercar industry is moving fast. The Tesla Roadster 2.0 (possibly with cold thrusters in the SpaceX package), Aspark Owl, and the wild Dendrobium D-1 are all on the way to enter the fray.

Featured image: Screenshot from the embedded Drag Times video.

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1988 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba