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Tesla Unveils Refreshed Design for Model S and Model X, Changes in Interior and Exterior Revealed

As predicted a couple of days ago, Tesla made a major announcement during the Q4 Earnings Call on Wednesday. The electric vehicle manufacturer has unveiled a refreshed design for its two oldest vehicles. The Model S, Tesla’s premium sedan has a refreshed exterior, simplified interior, and some new and exciting specs. On the other hand, their premium SUV, the Model X, has also undergone several changes, mainly on the interior.

Tesla Unveils Refreshed Design for Model S and Model X

Tesla Unveils Refreshed Design for Model S and Model X

Changes in the Model S

The major changes to the Model S are on the interior of the car. The portrait touchscreen is history, as Tesla has brought in a Model 3-esque horizontal center screen. The instrument cluster behind the steering wheel is retained though, and Tesla has made it smaller. The steering wheel, however, will no longer block your view of the cluster, as Tesla has brought in the steering yoke, a U-shaped butterfly wheel. This wheel looks very much like the one in the new Roadster. There is also a screen behind the center console for the rear-seat passengers.

Tesla Model S Center Console

On the exterior, the Model S is more or less the same. A major change is the large glass roof, which is standard now. The exterior features a chrome delete, much like what Tesla introduced in Model 3 and Y last year. They have also updated the front end a bit.

New Variants for the Model S

The design platform has also undergone some changes. Tesla has removed the Performance variant for the 2021 versions of the two premium vehicles. It has been replaced by the Plaid variant, with the Model S also getting a Plaid+ version.

There are some improvements in the performance figures, with the vehicle now giving more range and better acceleration timings too. The Long Range variant gets 412 miles (663 km) of range and can accelerate from 0-60 mph (96.5 kph) in 3.1 seconds. The new powertrain offers a maximum power of 670 hp and comes in a dual-motor all-wheel-drive configuration. It will be available at $79,990.

The newly-introduced Plaid variant will replace the Performance version. It will have a range of 390 miles (628 km) and an acceleration timing of 1.99 seconds. This timing is due to the new tri-motor drivetrain, which gives out a peak power of 1020 hp. It can complete a quarter-mile in just 9.23 seconds. Currently offered with a top speed of 155 mph (250 kph), it will soon be upgraded to 200 mph (322 kph). This version is priced at $119,990.

A third variant is also in the making and will be available for booking soon. Dubbed as “Plaid+”, it is expected to churn out impressive specs such as an acceleration timing of <1.99 seconds. Tesla estimates a range of 520+ miles (837+ km) for the Plaid+. It will share the tri-motor drivetrain, with a top speed of 200 mph. The Plaid+ version will cost $139,990, as reported earlier.

Model X: Refreshed Design

The Model X is often the most ignored Tesla vehicle, it seems. The Model S is constantly getting updates, due to the ever-increasing competition, while the Model 3 and Y hog a lot of limelight due to the high sales and low cost. The premium SUV, however, isn’t in the news a lot. And whenever it is, it is mostly piggybacking off some Model S news. But Tesla has taken this into account and announced a refreshed design for the full-sized SUV too.

The Model X has retained its panoramic windshield and customers can still configure for a seven-seater. But the interior now has a completely new look to it. The SUV has also lost the portrait touchscreen in favour of a horizontal one. The steering yoke and rear-seat screen from the Model S also find its way here.

2021 Tesla Model X

The exterior also features a chrome delete, updated front end and slight changes to the lines. All this may seem repetitive, but the Model X is, after all, based on the Model S. It follows the sedan in terms of powertrain design as well.

Tesla brings the Plaid Variant for the Model X too

The Model X now comes in two variants – Long Range and Plaid. The Long Range gets a range of 360 miles (580 km) with an acceleration timing of 3.8 seconds. The new powertrain shells out 670 hp for this variant. It costs $89,990. The Plaid variant, on the other hand, gives a range of 340 miles (547 km) and reaches 60 mph (96.5 kph) in just 2.5 seconds. The max power is 1020 hp, and this variant is priced at $119,990.

The Model X also gives a storage space of 2577 litres (for the 5-seater configuration) and has a towing capacity of 2267 kg. Overall, the Model X boasts of some robust specs and an updated design, which looks fresh yet simplistic.

According to Tesla, the new Plaid variant can do 5 times as many quarter-mile runs as the earlier variants, thanks to the new powertrain. The updated designs also feature the heat pump from the Model Y, which has helped improve the efficiency significantly.

Our Opinion

The two premium models in the Tesla line-up have finally got a design refresh. This was a long-awaited announcement, and the company will hope that it helps boost sales. The Model X, especially, has fallen off the radar quite a bit, but a new design might attract customers. The tri-motor powertrain looks exciting and will allow for improved performance. While the exteriors haven’t changed much, the interior will surely interest new buyers. Both these vehicles will go into production in Q1, with deliveries expected around March 2021. The Plaid+ variant for the Model S, though, will have to wait till late 2021 for hitting the market.

Mihir Tasgaonkar
Mihir Tasgaonkar
A mechanical engineer who loves reading and writing about new technologies in the automobile industry.


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