Tesla started their journey with the original Roadster, capable even in its earliest production versions of less than 4 second acceleration from 0-60 mph. Wall Street Journal Editor Joseph White, who enjoyed his test drive of the Roadster immensely, wrote that “anyone who buys one will get the most satisfaction from smoking someone’s doors off.”
Fast forward to the Teslas of today, and those earlier speed and acceleration numbers are matched by the most economical (and slowest) members of the Tesla family: the Model 3 and the Model Y.
The current title of fastest Tesla in production goes to the Model S Plaid. The Plaid’s tri-motor setup boasts 1,020 horsepower and 1,050 ft-lb of torque. In today’s article, we’ll look at what these stats mean for the Model S Plaid’s acceleration and top speed, how much the fastest Tesla Model S Plaid costs, and where to find a Model S Plaid at an even lower price than the configurator.
Faster that Freefall: Model S Plaid Acceleration Time (0-60, 0-100, 1/4 mile)
An object in freefall (minus air resistance and near the earth’s surface) reaches 0-60 mph in 2.73 seconds. It’s a neat bit of trivia that tells us the joke about a Toyota Prius’s acceleration from 0-60 in 2.3 seconds when pushed off a cliff aren’t even accurate (according to an article by Jalopnik back in 2017, it would take closer to 2.75 seconds for the doomed hybrid to reach 60 mph).
In comparison, how fast does a Tesla Model S Plaid do 0-60? With laboratory testing, Tesla says the Plaid’s 1,050 ft-lbs of torque can get it up to 60 mph in 1.99 seconds. However, this number is apparently hard or impossible to achieve unless the test conditions are highly controlled and rollout time is discarded. With rollout included, the Model S Plaid 0-60 time has been recorded several times at about 2.28-2.3 seconds (for a description of how some of these tests went down, see this 2021 article about testing the Plaid by MotorTrend).
Model S Plaid also does 1-100 in in about 8.2 seconds, and the 1/4 mile in 9.2, but has been clocked as fast as 8.77 seconds at 162.55 mph!
Regardless, 2.3 seconds is insanely quick for 0-60. For reference, the Plaid’s 2.3 second acceleration time is 0.45 seconds faster than a falling Prius, 0.8 seconds faster than the base Model S (which boasts a 3.1 second 0-60 acceleration), and only 0.9 slower than the McMurtry Spiérling EV hypercar.
Why mention the McMurtry Spiérling? Well, for starters we think it’s cool (0-60 in 1.4 seconds, and it looks like the Batmobile). However, comparing McMurtry Spiérling to the Plaid illustrates how incredible Tesla engineering is, especially on a production vehicle. While the Spiérling is the current record-holding EV hypercar, it only does one thing: move only one person from point A to point B really, really quickly.
But the Plaid? It’s an EV sedan. You can accelerate multiple people from point A to point B really, really quickly (only 0.9 seconds slower from 0-60 than the top EV hypercar) AND use it as a daily driver with some of the most advanced self-driving technology out there. Plus, you can fit a whole person in the trunk (or perhaps, more reasonably, a full set of luggage)!
Pretty sure you can’t do that in the Spiérling, though we’re still not 100% sure why you’d want to (as Gen Z would say, seems pretty sus).
What is the Model S Plaid’s Top Speed?
The Tesla Model S Plaid’s acceleration is incredible, but it’s not the whole picture for performance on this monster of an EV. While other high-performance EVs have been clocking an average top speed of 150-160 mph, the Tesla Model S Plaid’s official top speed is a whopping 200 mph.
Remember the McMurtry Spiérling? It doesn’t get to go past 150 mph (to be fair, that limit is currently set for safety reasons).
As it turns out, Tesla has also limited how fast the Model S Plaid can actually go based on how well it can decelerate (i.e., how well the brakes perform). Without paid hardware upgrades, the Model S Plaid’s top speed is capped at around 175 mph. Getting the Plaid’s 200 mph top speed unlocked requires installation of carbon ceramic brakes that cost an extra $15,000-$20,000 (available in June 2023).
At least one real-world test of the Plaid with the limit removed claims to have measured the Tesla’s top speed up to 217 mph. For reference, that’s as fast as some of China’s CR400 “Fuxing” bullet trains (models CR400AF-B and CR400BF-B).
You can see the carbon ceramic brakes in action here in Sebastian Vittel’s video from France’s Circuit de Bresse as the Plaid goes on to break the track record for a street legal vehicle:
Tesla S Plaid Weight and Range
The Model S Plaid tips the scales at 4,828 lbs, which is actually 175 lbs lighter than its predecessor, the Model S Performance.
As for range, the Model S Plaid’s 100 kWh battery pack provides it with a 396 mile EPA-estimated range. That’s well within reasonable limits for road trips and heavy commuting. And if that wasn’t enough, the Plaid can also Supercharge faster than any other Tesla to date: the Model S Plaid can add 200 miles of range in 15 minutes of Supercharging. Car and Driver reports that they charged their Model S Plaid from 10% to 90% in 38 minutes, with an average charging rate of 125 kilowatts (and a maximum rate of 250 kilowatts for about 5 minutes straight).
Model S Plaid Interior
We’ll get this out of the way first: no, the Tesla Model S Plaid interior isn’t plaid.
While the Plaid has only three interior color schemes (All Black, Black and White, and Cream), they’re all complementary to the minimalist look of the Model S. All of the materials Tesla uses inside the Plaid give a full luxury feel with none of that weird, textured plastic that tries to pass itself off as carbon fiber.
The vertical infotainment screen has rotated to a landscape orientation. Coupled with the yoke steering wheel, this setup allows you a fuller panoramic view of the road (as it very quickly passes by, anyway). Speaking of the yoke, not everyone loves it, so Tesla added the option for a round steering wheel into the configurator back in January (2023).
Editor’s note (5/4/2023): Tesla has changed the default steering mechanism to a Steering Wheel, with Yoke Steering now an additional $250.
As for seating comfort, there’s plenty to love, including heated seats for both the front and the back and cooled seats for the driver and front passenger. A redesign of the front seats opened up more (but not excessive) leg room for taller passengers, with added options for back seat charging and storage.
How Much Does a Model S Plaid Cost in 2023?
At the time of writing, a new 2023 Tesla Model S Plaid costs $107,990 (base price) right out of the configurator. Add Full-Self Driving (FSD, $15,000), Ultra Red Paint ($3,000), 21” Arachnid Wheels ($4,500), a Cream Interior ($2,000), Yoke Steering Wheel ($250), and destination fee ($1,390), and you’ll get the most expensive Model S Plaid for $132,240…at least, if you aren’t ready for the highest performance version yet.
To get the maximum acceleration and top speed performance of the Plaid, you’ll have to install hardier brakes. The Carbon Ceramic brakes (available through the Tesla store in June 2023) required for Tesla to remove the top speed limiter from the Plaid cost $15,000-$20,000 and currently require the 21” Arachnid tires for compatibility. Added to our most expensive Plaid, this would come to about $147,240-$152,240 after the brakes are installed.
On the other end of the spectrum, the least expensive setup for a max performance Plaid would be a Pearl White Multi-Coat with Black Interior, no FSD, 21” Arachnid Wheels, Normal Steering Wheel, and Carbon Ceramic Brakes for a grand total of $128,380-$133,380 (including destination fee).
Thanks to Tesla’s price reductions on the new Plaid earlier this year, used Model S Plaid prices have actually come down quite a bit from their height in late 2021 (and early 2022). A used Tesla Model S Plaid currently costs between $90,000-$125,000 on average (for model years 2021-2022), with some as low as 85,000 and some as high as $160,000. Since the Model S Plaid is relatively recent, a large percentage of Plaids on the used market also have very low mileage (less than 10,000).
Top 5 Fastest Production EVs
The Model S Plaid is the fastest Tesla, but is it the fastest production EV? When the Plaid was first released, it certainly held that title, but at this point it’s worth noting that the Plaid has some competition. Here are the top 5 acceleration and top speed front runners in today’s production EVs (aggregated from real world tests, where possible):
Make / Model
Acceleration 0-60 mph
|Tesla Model S Plaid||2.1-2.3 seconds||9.3-9.4 seconds||200|
|Lucid Air Sapphire*||1.98*||9.1*||205*|
|Porsche Taycan Turbo S||2.4 seconds||10.5||162|
|Tesla Model X Plaid||2.74-2.8 seconds||9.83||149|
|Audi RS E-Tron GT||2.9 seconds||10.9||155|
*While Lucid has published lab-tested stats on the Sapphire that out-perform the Model S Plaid, an actual production version of the Sapphire hasn’t been tested on the track as of April, 2023. There was a drag race between the two back in December, 2022 where the Lucid Sapphire came out ahead, but from what we’ve seen the Sapphire used was an engineering prototype.
To be fair, Tesla says the Plaid hasn’t been put to a fully-equipped, unlimited test yet, either (remember the $20,000 carbon ceramic brakes?). Due to the historical rivalry between Tesla and Lucid engineering, we’re definitely keeping our eyes on these two as the Lucid Sapphire hits production and delivery.
Where Can You Buy a Used Tesla Model S Plaid?
What will owning and driving this crazy-fast Tesla do to your insurance premiums? Who knows, but maybe it’s worth it…or maybe you’d rather try to find a Plaid for a bit less to even those extra expenses out.
We’ve already mentioned the average price of a used Plaid, which can be over $10,000 cheaper than buying straight from the configurator. So if you want to save some money for those Carbon Ceramic Brakes (or those insurance premiums), where’s the best place to find a used Model S Plaid?
Right here! We’ve had a small but steady stream of pre-owned Model S Plaids regularly added to the site.
From the most popular colors (right now, that’s Solid Black and Pearl White Multi-Coat), to Dash details, to Full Self-Driving, you can filter for your ideal Plaid quickly and easily. And remember, you may need those 21” Arachnid wheels to be compatible with Tesla’s Carbon Ceramic Brakes if you want the fastest Plaid you can get!
Ready to drive the fastest Tesla? Check out our selection of used Tesla Model S Plaids for sale today!