• The Refreshed 2021 Tesla Model S Is One Step Closer to Spaceship Status

It still won’t fly away in a traffic jam, though

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When Tesla shut down production on the Model X and S lines in December 2020, rumors started swirling that the company is looking to revamp its two EVs. This time, the rumors were true and here we are looking at the refreshed Model S and its new yoke-style steering wheel.

The Refreshed 2021 Tesla Model S Is One Step Closer to Spaceship Status Exterior
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On the outside, the facelifted Model S displays subtle changes, with the most significant being a more streamlined hood and a more sculpted appearance all-around.

The main highlight of this refresh, however, can be observed inside the cabin.

Obviously, the piece de resistance is the new yoke-shaped steering wheel that ditches the stalks entirely, which is quite similar to the one seen on previous Roadster prototypes.

Note that as per Tesla’s website, the Model X also gets this steering wheel.

The Refreshed 2021 Tesla Model S Is One Step Closer to Spaceship Status Interior
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Perhaps a more refreshing addition is the 17-inch, landscape-oriented central display coming to replace the annoying and counter-intuitive portrait screen. Tech Crunch even spotted that the resolution has from 1900x1200 to 2200x1300.

There’s another 12.3-inch screen on top of the yoke and a third eight-inch display was added between the two front seats, right behind the central armrest, to cater for back seat passengers. This is probably a feature developed with families in mind, presumably to give parents a break during longer road trips or stationary periods in a traffic jam, when the kids can play games or watch videos.

The Refreshed 2021 Tesla Model S Is One Step Closer to Spaceship Status Interior
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On the powertrain front, there are updates that touch on powertrain, battery pack, battery module, and drive units. According to Car and Driver, the Long Range version of the Model S will arrive in March and Tesla claims it can go for 412 miles before running out of juice.

Also in line for a March arrival, the Model S Plaid is expected to come with 1,020 horsepower and 390 miles of max range. According to a tweet by Elon Musk (embedded blow), the Plaid ships next month.

The Refreshed 2021 Tesla Model S Is One Step Closer to Spaceship Status Exterior
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Not only that, but it was allegedly clocked at “0 to 155 mph trap speed in a ¼ mile” and it’s also capable of hitting 200 mph with the right tires. According to Tesla’s website, the Plaid can go from naught to sixty in 1.99 seconds.

Even juicier than the Plaid, the so-called Plaid+, which is said to pack 1,100 horsepower and cover 520 miles on a single full charge.

Of course, this is Tesla, so the 0-60 mph sprint is, too, trumpeted at less than two seconds courtesy of a tri-motor powertrain. Plaid+ is expected to be available in late 2021.

As mentioned before, the Model X is set to receive the same cabin nip and tuck as the Model S, yoke included. The crossover won’t go on sale earlier than April 2021.

Tudor Rus
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read full bio
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