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5 Crazy Features in the New Tesla Model S and Model X


Tesla surprised fans and the industry alike last night by dropping new versions of its Model S sedan and Model X SUV. Would we expect anything less than being surprised by the most surprising automaker/tech company?

While the Model S and Model X retain much of their distinctive exterior appearances, there are big changes of note. And the most notable ones are on the inside and under the metal. Here are five things that stand out in what are already standout electric vehicles.

  1. The steering wheel is now a yoke: You read that right. One of the only traditional things in Tesla interiors to date was a steering wheel. But even that is now extraordinary. Instead of a wheel, the Model S and X are equipped with a yoke that looks like something out of a fighter jet or space ship. Just how well this will work will be an experiment in itself for everyday drivers.
  2. The motors now make over 1,000 horsepower: To be exact, the most powerful versions of the new Tesla Model S and X make an astounding 1,020 horses. That’s about five times more than a typical car like a Toyota Camry. That power will allow crazy feats such as the Tesla Model S top speed of 200 mph.
  3. Sub 2-second 0-60 mph time: And here is another performance feat. Tesla says the Model S has the capability of doing 0-60 mph in 1.99 seconds. We can’t really overstate how insane this is. This is faster than even the fastest supercars from the likes of Lamborghini, Ferrari and Bugatti. The larger Model X, meanwhile, can now do this feat in as little as 2.5 seconds, Tesla says.
  4. Better range, too: The Model S now has a range of 520-plus miles on the Plaid Plus model, according to Tesla’s site. The current highest-range Model S is EPA-rated at 387 miles. Other models get a boost, too. the Tesla Model S Long Range is pegged at 412 miles, while the Tesla Model S Plaid is put at 390 miles.
  5. An even techier interior: Aside from the yoke as steering wheel, the other most notable difference in the new Teslas is the change from a vertical screen to a 17-inch horizontal one. In back is another screen for rear passengers. Tesla says its latest infotainment system will be a real powerhouse, too, with 10 teraflops of processing power to play the most demanding games. In fact, on the images accompanying the cars on Tesla’s website, there is an image of the game Witcher 3.

Where’s the Tesla gear lever?

As a bonus, we’ll leave you with one more, which could be the craziest yet. There doesn’t appear to be a traditional gear lever for functions like drive, park and reverse. In the current models, the car is put into gear with a stalk mounted by the steering wheel.

Instead, in a tweet, Elon Musk said “No more stalks. Car guesses drive direction based on what obstacles it sees, context & nav map.” However, he did note that “You can override on touchscreen.”

Once again, Tesla is showing that we are already living in the future.

Configurators for both vehicles are live on Tesla’s site now. Tesla Model S prices before potential incentives range from $79,990 for a Long Range model to $139,990 for the new Plaid+. The Tesla Model X is priced between $89,990 and $119,990.

Matt Degen
Matt Degen is an author specializing in interesting news and features about cars. Matt is a longtime lover of both cars and news, as well as the latest technology. He was the past automotive editor of The Orange County Register newspaper and a former board member of the Motor Press Guild, the nation’s largest automotive media association. He holds degrees in Communications and Culinary Arts.... Read More about Matt Degen

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