Tesla Debuts Model S Plaid Interior With New Touchscreen and More

Tesla teased the world with images of the forthcoming electric vehicle, which ships next month.
Brad Bergan

Tesla teased the world with new images of its 2021 Refreshed Model S — featuring a new steering wheel, horizontal dash screen, an updated center console, a new wood grain trim, and a rear passenger touchscreen, according to the automaker's official website.

And according to a recent tweet from CEO Tesla Elon Musk, the Plaid Model S Ships next month.

Tesla teases Model S Plaid interior with new touchscreen, and more

Rumors of the Model S Refresh circulated for months before this spontaneous unveiling. In December 2020, Tesla halted production lines for the Model X and S, giving cause to suspicions that the company's long-standing sedan and SUV may finally receive the update many believed they needed.

The upgraded interior includes a horizontal dash screen, which takes its cue from the Model Y and Model 3. Earlier, the Model S and X both featured a vertical touchscreen stretching from the center console to the top of the dash. Tesla also took inspiration from the new Model 3 interior — including a wireless charging device installed below the center screen.

Tesla Model S Plaid ships next month

"Plaid Model S ships next month," said Elon Musk in a Wednesday night tweet. While the new display will feature several unique games, it can also "play Cyberpunk," he added.

Musk also claimed the Model S Plaid is the first mass-production car to achieve 0 to 60 mph (0 to 100 km/h) in less than two seconds, in a follow-up tweet. But in a final and subsequent Wednesday night tweet, he added: Zero "to 155 mph trap speed in a 1/4 mile. 200 mph top speed (with right tires)."

Refreshed Model S comes with tri-zone environmental controls

The half-circle design of the new steering wheel looks like the one from the Tesla Roadster. Paradoxically, the company also turned up the volume on minimalism for the new Model S interior — cutting out the air-conditioning and heat vents. With the Airwave HVAC, the novel design obscures the vents, a decision clearly influenced by the Model 3 and Model Y's interiors.

This updated system will come with tri-zone environmental controls, enabling customized airflow options to achieve optimal comfort.

Tesla Tri-Screen Design
Tesla's tri-screen design for the Tesla Model S Plaid. Source: Tesla

Tri-screen design for entertainment, gaming, and more

Tesla's Refreshed Model S also features a newly-designed center console, and it's a slick, one-piece addition. The center console and storage area also received updates — with a sliding-door design replacing the conventional swinging action. Additional storage is available in the new door pickets, fulfilling a long-standing demand for the Tesla sedan.

"With 2200x1300 resolution, ultra-bright colors with exceptional responsiveness and left-right tilt, the new center display is an ideal touchscreen for entertainment and gaming anywhere," read the newly-updated Tesla website listing. "A second display in front of the driver shows critical driving information, and a third display provides entertainment and controls for rear passengers."

Tesla Model S Rear Screen
The main and rear screens are compatible with wireless controllers. Source: Tesla

Tesla Model S Plaid compatible with wireless controllers

The new touchscreen includes 10 teraflops of processing power, enabling "in-car gaming on-par with today's newest consoles via Tesla Arcade," read the new listing. The entertainment center is even compatible with wireless controllers — which means passengers in any seat can play whatever they want.

Tesla Model S Tri-Climate
The new model's tri-climate design works without any physical vents. Source: Tesla

"Airflow and temperature are controlled through the displays without any physical vents," read the Tesla website listing. "On hot days, Cabin Overheat Protection ensures interiors always stay cool. In cold weather, pre-conditioning automatically warms the cabin and prepares the battery for maximum range."

Tesla Yoke Steering
Tesla's Roadster-like yoke steering wheel for the Refreshed Model S. Souce: Tesla

Tesla's refreshed 'yoke steering'

The new Tesla Model S Plaid features no stalks, and no shifting. "With a stalkless steering yoke, you can enjoy both the best car to drive, and the best car to be driven in," says the Tesla listing.

Tesla Model S Glass Roof
The glass roof of Tesla's forthcoming Model S Plaid. Source: Tesla

Tesla's Model S Plaid comes with a full glass roof to provide all passengers with sunlight — along with the minimalist emphasis on space and unobstructed views of the sky and sun. The glass roof also blocks infrared and UV light, which reduces not only glare, but heat when the sun is directly overhead — but we don't recommend staring while driving (or riding, for that matter).

The rear of the vehicle also comes with a small, centered dash screen — which means passengers can entertain themselves as much as the front passengers, unless they elect to break with the desire for the gamification of everything, and read or sleep. There will also likely be rear climate controls on this rear screen.

This was a breaking story and was regularly updated as new information became available.

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