The Tesla Model S Plaid recently participated in what could only be described as a swan song for the internal combustion engine. Joining the BMW M5 CS and the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing in an episode of Hagerty’s Icons, the Model S Plaid all but highlighted that the age of the internal combustion engine (ICE) is over. Fortunately, cars like the CT5-V Blackwing will be the ones carrying the ICE age as it rides towards the sunset.
Interestingly enough, the hero car of the Icons episode is not the Model S Plaid at all. Instead, it was the CT5-V Blackwing. Yet Hagerty decided to open its Icons episode with a drag race that took all but 9.33 seconds to complete. That was the time it took for the Model S Plaid to cross the quarter-mile mark. It was also the time it took for the Plaid to establish a gap between itself and the Blackwing that’s wider than a literal football field. And that’s where the story really is.
The CT5-V Blackwing is the last of a dying breed of pure internal combustion sports cars that are offered with a manual gearbox. It’s significantly slower on straights than the Model S Plaid — or the M5 CS for that matter — but it provides a classic driving experience that is not really provided by the Tesla and BMW. This was interesting because the BMW M5 CS is also powered by a combustion engine. It just doesn’t engage the driver as much as the Blackwing.
The three vehicles were ultimately tested on the track, and the Blackwing pulled an upset by beating the lap time of the BMW M5 CS at the Willow Springs International Raceway with a 1:28.07 run. But even its victory was short-lived, with Hagerty host Jason Cammisa highlighting that the Blackwing’s record was quickly beaten just a couple minutes later by the Model S Plaid, which completed a lap around Willow Springs in 1:27.78.
And ultimately, that is exactly what the Model S Plaid does. True to its design, it has, unequivocally, proven that electric vehicles are the future. It has also completely broken the notion that ICE vehicles are the only true performance machines on the road. With the Model S Plaid making its presence known, the ICE age has all but ended, and those who love the drama and emotion inspired by a roaring combustion engine could only rest in the fact that in these last days, there are still cars like the CT5-V Blackwing that could provide a classic driving experience — at least for those who need it.
Watch Hagerty’s Icons episode in the video below.
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