2022 Tesla Model S - Performance, Price, and Photos

Your definitive buyers guide to one of the fastest and most hyped up all-electric super sedans in the world

Up until the 2000s, electric cars carried a reputation of boring milk floats. Then in 2008, Tesla tried to change that perception with the introduction of the original Roadster. However, it wasn’t until 2012 when the original Tesla Model S came along did the EV market gain traction, taking electric mainstream.

Thanks to its outrageous performance, this practical family sedan put Tesla on the map. Over the past decade, Tesla did update the Model S with subtle facelifts, powertrains, and batteries. But it was only last year in 2021 that the Model S received a major makeover from the ground up. The Tesla Model S Plaid has a sort of performance that you could only associate with super exotics, and it has actually lived up to the hype.

  • Leave it
    • Yoke steering is not for everyone
    • Lack of buttons for basic functions like radio, climate
    • Build quality still isn’t on par with rivals

2022 Tesla Model S Performance and Capability

2022 Tesla Model S - Performance, Price, and Photos Exterior
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For the 2022 Model Year, you can get the Model S in two flavors

  • Model S
  • Model S Plaid

Yes, it’s the Plaid that has created a buzz, tearing up drag strips across the country over the past year, but even the base dual-motorTesla Model S is no slouch. It features a dual motor all-wheel drive setup with 670 horsepower on tap.

Go for the full beans Model S Plaid and you get a tri-motor setup (one motor on the front axle and two motors on the rear axle) with an all-wheel drive system with a combined power output of 1020 horsepower and 1050 pound-feet of torque. You get a single-speed direct drive transmission.

The Model S gets to 60 MPH in 3.1 seconds and has a top speed of 155 MPH. The Tesla Model S Plaid meanwhile, does 0-60 MPH in 1.99 seconds, does the 1/4 mile in 9.23 seconds and tops out at 200 MPH. The Tesla Model S Plaid is the quickest car in the world.

Only the Rimac Nevera comes close to the Plaid. According to Tesla, getting to that top speed on the Plaid will require you to install paid hardware upgrades. With supercar levels of performance, the ’Plaid’ could very well be Tesla’s own performance sub-brand.

Coming to the ride and handling, every Model S features an adaptive suspension setup that reacts to driver inputs hundreds of times per second. It can automatically adjust the ride height for comfort and aerodynamic efficiency. With the bulk of the weight concentrated in the center, thanks to those heavy batteries, you can expect the Tesla to perform well in the bends.

2022 Tesla Model S - Performance, Price, and Photos
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As for the driving range, Tesla claims anywhere between 375 to 405 miles for the base Model S, while those numbers drop on the more powerful Plaid to 348 - 396 miles. One pedal driving allows for energy recuperation, putting back juice into the battery pack.

Now obviously range figures for electric vehicles depend on a myriad of factors including the ambient temperature and your driving style. You can top up the charge using a 110V Mobile Connector Bundle, or upgrade to a 220V Tesla Wall Connector ($400).

But one area, that has always given Tesla the edge over the competition is that, from the outset, they built an excellent charging infrastructure for their vehicles. Aside from the ballistic acceleration and speed, the support for charging that Tesla gave early customers was instrumental in the automaker’s success story. Tesla built its very own ecosystem so to speak.

Customers have access to Tesla’s excellent supercharger network and you can add up to 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes. Fast charging has instilled more confidence in people to make the switch to an EV and with the pace at which technology is developing, range anxiety could soon become a thing of the past.

2022 Tesla Model S Specs
Model S Model S Plaid
Horsepower 637 hp 1020 hp
Transmission 1-Speed 1-Speed
0-60 3.1s 1.99s
Top Speed 155 mph 200 mph
Drive AWD AWD
Mileage/Range 375 - 405 miles 348 - 396 miles

Exterior Design

2022 Tesla Model S - Performance, Price, and Photos Exterior
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If you look at some of the early electric cars that came out in the 90s and 2000s, they were frankly trying too hard with odd shapes, all in a bid to shout about their EV credentials. Tesla took a different approach with the Model S.

They knew early on that, if people were to make the switch to an electric vehicle, they would prefer a shape of something that was familiar. So while the underpinnings were state-of-the-art and futuristic, the design itself was that of a traditional sedan and Franz von Holzhausen nailed the proportions of the Model S, on the very first try.

The design is timeless and has evolved over the past decade, which is why Tesla hasn’t carried out any major changes to the overall form of this latest Model S. The revised front bumper offers a more modern sleeker look along with new headlights with LED daytime running lights, slimmer foglights, and an updated taillight cluster. The Plaid gets you a thin spoiler on the trunk.

2022 Tesla Model S - Performance, Price, and Photos Exterior
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The Tesla Model S is one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars in the auto industry with a drag coefficient of just 0.28. Only the Mercedes EQS does better with a drag coefficient of 0.2. The Model S qualifies as a Sleeper, given its modest looks and outrageous performance. Aside from the Plaid badge, there really isn’t much to let you know that this family sedan can pretty much smoke most supercars at the lights.

One way to tell apart the current Model S from its predecessor is with the lack of chrome. Tesla has chosen to go with a stealth theme on the exterior, be it with the trim around the windows, the door handles or the wheels, they’re all finished in sinister black. However, you still continue to get chrome Tesla badges.

You can choose from two wheel sizes. 19-inch Tempest wheels come as standard on both trims, while the optional 21-inch Archanid wheels ($4,500) are a pricey option. You can expect the range figures to drop if you choose the bigger rims, also expect a harsher ride. As for paint options, only the Pearl white multi-coat comes as standard. You’ll have to pay extra to spec your Model S with any of the four other available colors.

2022 Tesla Model S - Performance, Price, and Photos Exterior High Resolution
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Exterior Colors
Color Price
Standard Pearl White $0
Optional Solid Black $1500
Midnight Silver Metallic $1500
Deep Blue Sea $1500
Red $2500
Exterior Dimensions
Length 197.7 in
Width 86.2 in
Height 56.3 in
Wheelbase 116.5 in
Ground Clearance 5.0 in
Curb Weight 4,561 lbs

Interior Quality and Technology

2022 Tesla Model S - Performance, Price, and Photos Interior High Resolution
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While the changes to the exterior aren’t as dramatic, Tesla has almost completely overhauled the cabin with the latest Model S. Do keep in mind that Tesla is a tech company first and that fact certainly shines through, given the level of high-tech equipment on offer.

As opposed to the outgoing Model S, Tesla has gone for a minimalist theme with a clutter-free dash on this latest generation. For instance, you don’t get regular air vents, instead, Tesla has cleverly integrated them into the dashboard, similar to what we’ve previously seen on the Model 3.

In the pursuit of minimalism though, Tesla has also done away with buttons for things like tri-zone climate control and the radio. Instead, you pretty much control everything through the large 17-inch tilting landscape touchscreen. The climate control system also has the ability to precondition both the cabin and the battery based on the ambient temperature.

Thankfully, to add some convenience, Tesla does include shortcuts that sit at the bottom of the screen. The touch response of this display is excellent and it’s running the latest version of Tesla’s operating system.

With 10-teraflops of processing power, it has enough grunt to support some arcade games and support for a wireless controller. Below the screen, you’ll find two wireless phone charging pads (also found in the rear-seat armrest). There’s also USB-C charging available for all passengers. With no transmission tunnel, you get a large central storage bin, along with cup holders.

2022 Tesla Model S - Performance, Price, and Photos Interior
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But by far, the biggest draw of the cabin has to be the new yoke steering, in place of a conventional steering wheel. The steering column itself doesn’t feature any stalks and you’ve instead got touch-sensitive controls on the Yoke, along with two roller wheels.

Now, these buttons are configurable and can control everything from adjusting the rearview mirrors to the steering. Not having a traditional wheel means, the 12.3-inch digital driver’s display is easily visible. Rear seat passengers also get their own 8.0-inch display.

Every Model S comes with a 960-watt, 22-speaker audio system and to further drown out any ambient sounds, you also get an active noise canceling system. The ambient lighting system and the HEPA air filter work well together to offer a clean and high-quality ambiance for occupants.

2022 Tesla Model S - Performance, Price, and Photos Interior
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You can choose from three different colors for the cabin. An all-black interior comes as standard, while a Black and White ($2,000) or Cream ($2,000) interior, are optional extras. The base Model S features walnut trim pieces, while the Plaid comes with carbon-fiber décor instead. You get synthetic leather upholstery along with heated and ventilated front seats and heated rear seats.

Now as the Model S is an EV, space was never an issue, you get a flat floor in the rear, with enough space for three. What further adds to the sense of space is the tinted glass roof. This panel lets in a good amount of natural light and keeps the heat, infrared, and UV rays out. Cargo volume is decent at 28 cubic feet, but it expands to an impressive 64.5 cubic feet with the seats down. For even more space, you also have a decent-sized frunk, under the hood.

Interior Dimensions
Seating Capacity 5
Headroom (front) 39.7 in
Headroom (rear) 38.1 in
Legroom (front) 42.4 in
Legroom (rear) 35.5 in
Shoulder room (front) 58.4 in
Shoulder room (rear) 55.1 in
Cargo Room 28.1 cu-ft

2022 Tesla Model S Price and Availability

2022 Tesla Model S Price
Trim Price
Model S $104,990
Model S Plaid $135,990

The 2022 Tesla Model S starts at $104,990. After potential savings, that number drops to $96,590. The 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid costs $135,990 and after savings, carries an effective price of $127,590. Tesla says that you’ll save about $8,400 annually if you account for the incentive and gas savings.

Aside from that, you also won’t have to deal with the added costs of scheduled maintenance associated with a traditional ICE vehicle. Tesla’s motors and powertrain don’t need it for the lifetime of ownership of the vehicle. While the initial entry price for a Model S is high, you are getting supercar levels of performance, packaged in a well-rounded practical shape of a sedan.

Configure your Tesla Model S here.

Safety

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has rated the 2022 Tesla Model S yet. However, Tesla does offer a whole suite of both safety and driver assistance features to its customers. Apart from the usual safety features like airbags, ABS, and traction control, the Model S also comes with

  • Backup Camera
  • Cross Traffic Alert
  • Blindspot monitoring
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Tire pressure monitoring system

As for the driver assistance features, Tesla was and still is one of the market leaders, in the industry which makes use of cameras and sensors to help make your time behind the wheel more effortless. You can equip your Model S with Enhanced Autopilot ($6,000) which gets you

  • Navigate on Autopilot
  • Auto Lane Change
  • Autopark
  • Smart Summon

Full Self Driving Capability ($12,000) included all the functions of Basic and Enhanced Autopilot along with traffic light and stop sign control. Auto-steer on city streets is a feature that is coming soon via one of Tesla’s future over-the-air software updates.

Main Competition

2022 Tesla Model S - Performance, Price, and Photos Exterior High Resolution
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The all-electric sedan market has started to catch up with Tesla and so the Model S today has to contend with rivals like the Porsche Taycan, Audi e-Tron GT, and Mercedes EQS. The Lucid Air also joined the party over the past year with more models to follow suit.

With the threat from legacy auto now more real than ever, Tesla wasn’t going to sit on the sidelines and do nothing about it. Here’s how the Model S compares to its rivals in terms of performance and range numbers.

While the base Model S does carry a price premium over some of its rivals, the Tesla does offer superior horsepower numbers and so much more. To summarize, although this generation of the Model S sees an overall improvement in the quality of materials used, don’t expect Mercedes levels of fit and finish on the Model S.

But on the Tech front, the Model S still has the edge over the competition, in terms of the sheer level of performance, driving range, and charging experience, which is an essential part of EV ownership. You can also expect the features to evolve and improve over time with Tesla’s over-the-air updates.

Khris Bharath
Khris Bharath
Khris is a classic car aficionado and adores his Jags and Alfas, although he keeps tabs on everything from super exotics like an old EB 110 to the latest from Lucid. Formula One is very close to his heart, and he diligently makes time to tune in for the Grand Prix on Sundays. Khris also loves his road trips and he prefers a stick shift over an auto any day.  Read full bio
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