Over the past couple of years, as Tesla rolled out a seemingly endless stream of new features for Models 3 and Y, folks have been saying that the two elders of the line-up were overdue for an update. Now Tesla has announced a sweeping new refresh for Models S and X, featuring an entirely new interior, powertrain updates, new prices and new trim options.
The most noticeable change is a totally redesigned interior. The famous center display has been rotated 90 degrees, and is now integrated more attractively into the dashboard (some say the existing display looks like an iPad glued onto the dashboard).
“With 2200×1300 resolution, ultra-bright colors with exceptional responsiveness and left-right tilt, the new center display is an ideal touchscreen for entertainment and gaming anywhere,” says Tesla. “A second display in front of the driver shows critical driving information, and a third display provides entertainment and controls for rear passengers.”
The steering wheel has been completely reimagined—in fact it doesn’t really look like a wheel anymore. The new “yoke” steering…er, device… has no stalks—just thumbwheels. Some say it looks like something you might see in an airplane, and one more imaginative observer noted its uncanny resemblance to the face of a koala bear.
Some of the new features were first introduced on Model 3 or Y, and others are completely new. The lengthy list includes: a 10-teraflop gaming computer that supports wireless controllers; heated seats for all passengers; ventilated front seating; Airwave cabin conditioning; a tinted glass roof; interior camera and interior radar; and automatic opening and closing for the rear liftgate. Tesla will provide its new Premium Connectivity feature free for one year (after which it will incur a monthly fee).
Tesla has made significant upgrades to the powertrain—the company says it “fully redesigned” the battery modules and pack, and has incorporated some of the newer technology used in Models 3 and Y, including new motors and the more efficient heat pump for cabin conditioning.
As Electrek reports, the updated powertrain will not use Tesla’s new 4680 cells, nor the structural battery pack. Models S and X will continue to use 18650 cells, although they have been updated to use a new chemistry. The thermal performance of the battery pack has been improved by adding new coolant channels to allow for cross-flow. This may be related to an improvement in charging speed—S and X will now be able to charge at levels up to 250 kW, matching the performance of 3 and Y.
The trim and pricing line-up has been rejiggered once again—Model S now starts at $79,990, and is available in a dual-motor Long Range version with 412 miles of range, a tri-motor Plaid version with 390 miles and the Plaid+ version, with a range of 520 miles and a 0-60 time under 1.99 seconds, said to be the quickest of any production car ever.
Elon Musk has said he will reveal more details of the new Model S and Model X in a couple of weeks. At the moment, Tesla says production of the new Model S will start in the first quarter of this year.