Tesla’s EV-drivetrain engineering might is undeniably formidable. Here’s a big saloon that hits 62mph in 2.5sec (not quite the 2.1sec Tesla claims) and yet in normal driving returns 3.3mpkWh – efficiency many EV makers can only dream of. That results in a 373-mile range, and if you want to go even farther, a 10-80% charge takes just 29 minutes.
As ever, there are things Tesla has gone all out to be the best at and others it has deemed fit for compromise. Clearly the drivetrain was its priority here, along with the all-controlling 17in touchscreen.
The interior used to be something that might put you off the Model S but, while it still doesn’t give off the indulgent feel of a Porsche, it’s no longer the barren and creaky place it used to be.
The materials look and feel good and it’s as practical as ever. It’s very minimalist, to the extent that Tesla has deleted the column stalks for the wipers, indicators and drive selector. I didn’t miss those as much as I had expected, but I always had the sense that some clever tech was doing a job that a stalk could do slightly better.
Where the Plaid simply isn’t on the same level as the Porsche Taycan is in terms of chassis and refinement. It’s quite noisy on the motorway; the ride is fine, rather than great; there are constant low-level vibrations through the wheel; and you generally feel disinclined to probe the handling capabilities.
This is a big car that sits you on the wrong side, naturally denting your confidence on a typical B-road.
The steering is the biggest issue. With the round wheel (rather than the infamous yoke), it’s reassuringly weighted and does quite a lot of self-centring. But go faster and it relays absolutely nothing about grip levels. Thanks to bespoke meaty Michelin tyres, there is enough, but given the performance potential, you want a bit more accuracy and reassurance.
Push it and the front is the first to go. The stability control keeps a close eye on proceedings but will permit some disappointing power understeer. For all the talk about torque vectoring, there’s very little you can feel of it happening.