The next Tesla Model S is here. And the steering wheel is no wheel at all, but a yoke.
Thatâ€™s the feature thatâ€™s getting all the attention â€“ and all the Knight Rider jokes on the tweet machine â€“ but itâ€™s not the only thing at play. The infotainment screen shifts away from a portrait layout to a horizontal one, and a screen gets added for rear-seat passengers.
Other interior items of note include wireless device charging, heated seats at all positions, cooled front seats, and tri-zone climate control.
Exterior changes are minor, with a standard glass roof perhaps being the most notable item.
Also of note â€“ an available uplevel powertrain promising 520 miles of range and 0-60 acceleration un under two seconds.
The price of entry for a dual-motor Long Range Model S with 412 miles of range is now $79,990 (unclear if that includes D and D fees). A Plaid trim gives 390 miles of range and that 0-06 run of under two ticks for $119,000, while $139,000 gets you Plaid+ and 520 miles â€“ and what is Tesla is claiming is 1,100 horsepower.
Tesla claims this car will be the â€œfastest accelerating production car ever made.â€�
Plaid and Plaid+ cars have claimed top speeds of 200 mph, although CEO Elon Musk says the cars need the â€œright tiresâ€� to achieve that speed. The Long Range car is claimed to top out at 155. Tesla has claimed the new Model S will be able to do up to five times as many trips down the dragstrip, thanks to the new powertrain and the use of the heat pump from the Model Y.
Meanwhile, the Model X gets the same new interior and some minor outside changes. Pricing for a Long Range Model X (dual-motor, 360 miles of range, 0-60 in 3.8 seconds, 155-mph top speed) is $89,900, while a Plaid Model X (340 miles of range, 163 mph top speed, 0-60 in 2.5 seconds) is $119,000.
The new infotainment system has a chip with the capacity for up to 10 teraflops of processing power, which means it can play video games that were meant to be played on PCs or consoles. The car even supports the use of wireless controllers.
Back to that steering â€œwheelâ€� â€“ itâ€™s definitely a departure from the norm. And thatâ€™s no yoke.
[Images: Screenshots via Tesla]