Red Tesla Model S P100D+ badge

Tesla’s two Model S ‘Plaid’ variants are being benchmarked against each other

Red Tesla Model S P100D+ spotted at the Nurburgring with upgraded rear diffuser (Photo: Teslarati)

True to its word, Tesla has returned to the Nürburgring with two “Plaid” Model S units. Both vehicles have been spotted running hot laps since they arrived at the iconic German racetrack, and if recent observations are any indication, it would seem that Tesla has actually brought two variants of its track-capable Model S for its Nürburgring comeback. What’s more, it seems that Tesla is benchmarking the performance of the two Plaid Model S against each other. 

Tesla’s Plaid Model S units in the Nürburgring could be differentiated by their color and rear badges. One is a blue unit with a Dual Motor badge, while the other is a red vehicle that’s marked P100D+. Recent reports and accounts from sources in the area suggest that these two vehicles do not have the same performance. While both are Plaid Model S prototypes, their track results suggest that they are somewhat different, perhaps along the same lines as Porsche’s Taycan Turbo and Turbo S variant. 

The differences between the two vehicles were hinted at last month during Tesla’s first excursion into the Nürburgring. Observing the two vehicles, a photographer from motoring publication Motor Authority mentioned that the blue Plaid Model S was able to complete a lap around the iconic German track in 7:40, a couple of seconds faster than the record set by the Porsche Taycan Turbo. 

The same photographer also recorded an impressive 7:23 lap with the red Model S Plaid unit, which is identical to a hand-timed lap reported by German media outlet Auto Motor und Sport. Quite interestingly, Tesla departed from its initial Nürburgring rounds after the red Model S Plaid unit seemingly broke down in the middle of a hot lap. 

These two vehicles returned to the Nürburgring this week. This time around, the Plaid Model S units sported a refreshed widebody kit that included side vents, and in the case of the blue unit, a massive rear diffuser reminiscent of the one used by Tesla in the next-generation Roadster. Images taken of the red Plaid Model S’ return to the nearly 13-mile closed circuit revealed that the vehicle was not equipped with a rear diffuser, though it had the same side vents and large rear spoiler with Gurney flap found in its blue sibling. 

Interestingly, images recently acquired by Teslarati reveal that Tesla has installed the same large rear diffuser in its red Model S at the Nürburgring. The vehicle was brought over to the track at the back of the truck, and once on the road, it was clear that the additional aeros have been installed on the vehicle. A closeup picture of the track-capable flagship sedan further revealed that the red Model S Plaid was fitted with a front lip spoiler as well. 

With these images in mind, it appears that Tesla is currently testing how each Plaid Model S prototype performs on the Nürburgring with and without additional aeros. This suggests that Tesla is likely benchmarking the two Model S Plaid units against each other, potentially as a way to refine and tune each vehicle’s performance for closed circuit driving. These efforts ultimately bode well for Tesla’s upcoming Plaid versions for the Model S and Model X, as the electric car maker appears to be leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to develop a flagship vehicle that can attack one of the racing world’s most notorious tracks with no hesitation. 

Elon Musk has mentioned a few details about Tesla’s upcoming Plaid Model S. For one, the vehicle will have three motors, similar to the next-generation Roadster, which is equipped with one electric motor at the front and two at the rear. Musk also stated in a recent tweet that the production Plaid Model S, which will reflect the final iteration of the car that will set Tesla’s official Nürburgring record, is set to enter its manufacturing stage sometime in Summer 2020. Pricing for the Tesla Model S Plaid variants have not been revealed by Tesla, though Elon Musk has mentioned that the vehicles will be priced higher than the current top-tier Raven Model S Performance with Ludicrous Mode. 

Red Tesla Model S P100D+ spotted at the Nurburgring with rear diffuser (Photo: Teslarati)


Tesla’s two Model S ‘Plaid’ variants are being benchmarked against each other
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