2021 Tesla Model S and Model X revealed with airplane yoke steering wheel, Plaid performance variants

The updated Tesla Model S and Model X are no longer the subject of rumors.

On Wednesday ahead of the Silicon Valley automaker's earnings call, Tesla released its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2020 update, which contained the first details on the refreshed 2021 Model S and Model X.

Both battery-electric vehicles are available to order on Tesla's website, including new Plaid and Plaid+ (Model S only) performance variants boasting a new three-motor powertrain.

The bulk of changes take place inside where the vertical 17-inch touchscreen of the current models has been replaced with a Model 3-like horizontal screen. The size has not been released yet. A storage cubby now sits below the touchscreen, along with a hard button for the four-way flashers.

Unlike the Model 3, a digital gauge cluster remains. The steering wheel now has an airplane yoke design with what appear to be touch-sensitive buttons augmented by two scroll wheels. It appears Tesla has also deleted the turn signal and gear selector stalks, and will use steering wheel buttons to control the turn signals and headlights.

Another touchscreen appears to be mounted on the back of the center console for rear-seat passengers. It's unclear what function this screen might serve at this point.

The other big news is the arrival of the new Plaid performance variants. Both the Model S Plaid and Model X Plaid come with 1,020 hp from Tesla's new “Tri-Motor” powertrain which houses two motors at the rear axle and one at the front and is capable of torque vectoring. The Model S Plaid will sprint to 60 mph from rest in 1.99 seconds and deliver an estimated range of 390 miles, according to Tesla. The Model X Plaid is said to hit 60 in 2.5 seconds and cover 340 miles on a charge.

The Model S Plaid+ is even quicker, if you can believe it. The car boasts more than 1,100 hp from the same three-motor setup and will sprint from 0-60 mph in less than 1.99 seconds and cover the quarter-mile in less than nine seconds, according to Tesla. This makes it the quickest-accelerating production car ever made. It doesn't end there as the range for the Plaid+ is said to be more than 520 miles.

The top speed is 200 mph for both Model S performance variants, and 163 mph for the Model X Plaid.

For these performance variants, the front fascia has been updated with what looks to be a new lower grille and side intakes that could direct airflow to cool the the brakes which have carbon-sleeved rotors. The Plaid models also have wider, flared fenders, likely to house wider tires and wheels for more grip with all the extra power.

The Model S Plaid and Model X Plaid start at $121,190, while the Model S Plaid+ starts at $141,190. All figures include destination.

The Model S Plaid and Model X Plaid start deliveries this spring while the Model S Plaid+ starts deliveries in late 2021.

Source: https://www.motorauthority.com/news/1131089_2021-tesla-model-s-model-x-price-specs-review-photos-info

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