Tesla’s ‘Ring Contender Is A Model S “Chassis Prototype” With New “Plaid” Powertrain

Elon Musk has just shed more light into the aggressive Model S that was spotted yesterday near the famous German track. Apparently, it’s a ‘chassis prototype’ fitted with their new ‘Plaid’ powertrain, which will sit above the existing 100D with the Ludicrous mode in the model’s range.

Tesla’s CEO also said that the red car with the wide arches is fitted with seven seats, adding that they are gunning for the fastest seven-seat car record.

This could be Tesla indirectly admitting that they can’t beat the Porsche Taycan outright on the Nurburgring, where the latter holds the title of the “fastest four-door electric sports car”, according to Porsche.

A similar prototype managed to break the record for the fastest four-door sedan around Laguna Seca, beating the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 by nearly a second with a 1:36.555 lap. However, the company doesn’t claim that record, as track officials were not present during Tesla’s test.

The new ‘Plaid’ powertrain features three electric motors, instead of the two in the P100D “Ludicrous”. Musk opted for these names for Tesla’s powertrains as a reference to Mel Brooks’ classic Spaceballs movie.

More details about this new powertrain will be announced soon, with the company saying that they will offer it in the Model S, Model X, as well as the new Roadster, but not in the Model 3 or Model Y. Musk also said that the final production examples of the Plaid-powered Teslas are still a year away from launch.

As for the Model S ‘chassis prototype’, our spy shots show that it’s been fitted with larger wheels, stickier tires and the necessary wider fenders to cover them, as well as a new lip spoiler for the tailgate. Upgraded brakes and new suspension settings are also present, while our spies, who spotted the car again today doing its first laps, told us that the car was fitted with a roll cage as well (obviously, for safety reasons).

Yesterday’s report said that Tesla might attempt its Nurburgring lap record on September 21, while Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport confirms the same date and adds that the EV maker has booked a second slot on September 25.

more photos...

Image Credits: CarPix for CarScoops

  • Hope for the worlds safety they don’t break the Taycans time. I don’t want to see Porsche being pushed into making a Taycan Turbo SS.

    • TheBelltower

      All Porsche needs to do is to add a “fuel injection” badge. Then winning.

      • Rahul Mandala

        Why the salt?

        • TheBelltower

          Someone gave me decaf. I’m on edge.

        • Exotics

          For all we know the Taycan does have a hidden turbo somewhere in there. You never know with those sleazy germans

          • Rahul Mandala

            No they don’t. The term “Turbo” hints at turbine, meaning speed and/or continuous power.

    • Judik

      I don’t see the “SS” naming happening but I get the idea.
      Nonetheless the only good thing that could come out of this Model S/Taycan feud is that one of them might beat the time record for a production car of the ‘Ring sooner than expected.

      • HD

        It was a joke

  • nellydesign

    A car with 2 jump seats in the trunk that you can possibly cram some children into in a pinch hardly qualifies as a 7 seater.

    • javier

      and yet it has 7 seats

      • jimie orleg

        I tossed 4 sets of seats in the bed of my truck and now it seats 14.
        Pretty much the same bulldunky


    • Exotics

      If 7 humans can sit in a car that doesn’t make it a 7 seater? Model S has had this since 2012

  • Willzyx

    I can already hear Tesla fanboys:

    “Hur dur, it didn’t beat Taycan because it had 7 seats. More weight. Hur, dur”


  • SD38439

    Although it was a pre-production model, wasn’t the Taycan stock? The Tesla is basically a racing version of the production model, almost an entirely different car; so it would not be surprising to see it get the record. Regardless of whether it gets the record or not, the real test I want to see is a stock Tesla going for a 24-hour endurance run like the Taycan did at Nardò. These are the type of things Tesla need to be doing to improve their vehicles — not sending cars to space and fighting on Twitter.

    • Jason Miller

      Only Porsche knows if their car was stock.

      • Matt

        Stop trying to imply Porsche somehow cheated, it makes you sound a bit desperate.

    • Livethedream

      In essence, this sportier version is the equivalent of the Porsche Taycan Turbo, which they ran around the track. So apples and apples. The standard Taycan won’t be out for some time.

    • HD

      Tesla electric cars have done about a million times more real world miles than electric Porsches. I’m pretty sure they don’t need to run at Nardo…

      • Rahul Mandala

        The Taycan testing prototypes have also endured millions of real world miles. Don’t need to imply as if Tesla is the only one with millions of miles. This is still a start for Porsche.

        • HD

          I said million times more, not million. There is a difference. This is why Tesla does not need Nardo!

          • Rahul Mandala

            But I never said they needed Nardo

    • Exotics

      Taycan wasn’t stock when it set its record

  • Karl

    Amazing how well this car’s design has held up..

    • filetx

      well, it looks as good as any 7 year old car… it’s obvious, that it needs a refresh


        • SteersUright

          Because its never been a beauty rom the start, just cool and techie looking. They could use the launch of the much more attractive Taycan as an excuse to go for an even more beautiful interior and exterior.

      • Exotics

        Timeless design. Never gets old. Like an Aston Martin Vanquish.

    • thejohnnycanuck

      And if they hold it up much longer it’s going to need a Rascal, an Acorn Stairlift and a box of Depends.

  • wtvlol

    So, not stock. Disappointed.

    • Tydogg123 .

      Isn’t this just pre-production testing?

    • Rick Alexander

      Why the disappointment? I`m fairly certain that once the bugs have been ironed out, Tesla will offer most if not all of the upgrades to the options list for interested buyers. At that point, it will be a legitimate off the showroom floor contender.

  • Jason Miller

    It looks great. Can’t wait to see them on the road.

  • GobbleUp

    Love it. Good for industry.

  • Kelly
  • Ben

    I don’t understand the brand loyalty. Either way, if you like EVs and progress, you should be thankful that Porsche(and others) has entered the market. The more competition, the more innovation and better result for us consumers. No need to fight over range, pricing or opinions. Look what the mere release of the Taycan has spurred Tesla to do. Even before sales figures and quarterly projections are made, Tesla is already snapping up and getting on the ball. When vehicles don’t have competition, they end up like Subaru’s WRX STI.

    • Exotics

      Tesla still has no competition 7 years later. Taycan is taking awhile

      • Ben

        It doesn’t matter than amount of time. That’s trivial. Large businesses move on their terms. Small businesses like Tesla are able to skip around faster than large businesses. It doesn’t mean technology, IP or methods are better, it just means a smaller business is more nimble.

      • gambit gamboa

        No need, more money in gas cars cause more demand = no need to push EVs. A simple equation for the low IQ like Exotic to understand, companies like the failing Tesla beg governments for tax incentives and rebates for consumers unlike other traditional companies.

        • Big Black Duck

          your lack of education is abvious


    • KAG25

      Why are you yelling, you can’t even afford one.

      • Exotics

        Why are you not yelling, you can afford one.

  • Arthur Burnside

    Musk shows himself to be a fraud – he claimed he was building electric cars to transform emissions, but has not yet come close to providing an EV that most can afford : the car he laughingly refers to as “affordable” (the Model 3) cannot be built profitably even at $50,000. Now Musk has foolishly entered into a horsepower race which he cannot win – any automaker can install bigger motors than Musk can – the upcoming Jaguar I Pace reportedly will embarrass the hell out of ALL Tesla vehicles,even their upcoming $250,000 sports cars. Musk is a whacko birdbrain whose solar roofs are imitating his cars in incinerating their customers. Musk is a joke – a atupid , lying, greedy, sleazebucket. He runs a sweatshop. A really nice guy

    • Mike Sinyaboot ©

      Reeeeeeee. Get a job loser.


      • David

        I don’t think Arthur BurnInside hates Elon, he is mad that can get a model 3 for the price of a Nissan Sentra LOL.

        • Big Black Duck

          Arthur needs to get out of his moms basement and get a real job

    • Astonman

      The I Pace range is 234 miles and 0-60 time of 4 seconds – price $90K – is not killing it. It is difficult to make a cheap electric because of battery costs. If it wasn’t, the other automakers would have succeeded long ago. Why do you think so many companies are combining forces to get on board. Porsche had to look to outside help from Rimac. Doesn’t that dilute the Porsche brand by outsourcing the most important part – but that’s another story. How is he a fraud if provides a vehicle that performs well and have sold over 500K. He gave the people a product they believed in and they purchased it. And they invested in his company and those investors have done well for themselves.If it was a lousy product people wouldn’t be investing in it. Of course he has benefitted from the investments because of the lack of profitability of building an electric car. I read that it will take Porsche until 2023 to earn its first profit on the Taycan – and it has the benefit of buying power by being a part of the VW Group. We know that Audi’s version will be coming out soon to spread the cost of development. Musk has been fighting an uphill battle and has changed the market completely. I hope he succeeds. I’ve always loved the underdog.

      • Rahul Mandala

        “Porsche had to look to outside help from Rimac. Doesn’t that dilute the Porsche brand by outsourcing the most important part – but that’s another story. ”

        – Sure, they may have gotten help from Rimac, but that was to save money on the full investment of BEVs, because all of that includes charging infrastructure, drivetrains and other parts, gigafactories, etc. and it all costs billions collectively. Tesla outsources from Panasonic and no one’s complaining. To build your own batteries costs time and money. Oh and there’s also the execution; the batteries must hold up very well long term, which for Tesla, it does and I’m sure it will for Porsche. Otherwise I agree with your other points.

        • Astonman

          Doesn’t Rimac design their own motors also. Isn’t Porsche using these motors?

          • Rahul Mandala

            I said Porsche were using the motors from Rimac as well, I never said Porsche didn’t. Still, that is to save big $ on BEV investment as a whole.

          • Astonman

            Yes it saves money and time – but to me, it’s the equivalent of Porsche getting an ICE engine from someone else. It’s no longer Porsche engineering.

          • Rahul Mandala

            Once again, this is a start, maybe they’ll develop their own motors going forward.

          • Astonman

            I hope so. Thanks for commenting Rahul

    • stockinbug

      …has not yet come close to providing an EV that most can afford…

      The Model 3 is priced with the very cheapest long-range EVs on the market today. It’s hard to understand what you expected from Tesla.

      …Model 3 cannot be built profitably even at $50,000

      This is provably false. Model 3’s gross margin has varied between about 12 to 19%. It has never been negative.

      …Musk has foolishly entered into a horsepower race which he cannot win…

      The Roadster performance specs already beat anything now on the market or planned for the market. And your I-Pace reference is puzzling, it’s nowhere near being in contention.

      As for the insults at the end, I’ve never seen such an extreme case of Musk derangement syndrome.

    • Jorge Salazar

      Will porche build the people’s car at 25g with 300+ range, sub 5- 0to60 and go 400 thousand miles… I’ll buy a Porsche… but not at $200 +

    • Big Black Duck

      you mom has already told you not to come out of the basement until your dinner is ready..

  • KAG25

    That is a serious wheel and tire setup, and slammed. Almost looks like the fenders are wide body.
    I would be afraid of Porsche too.

    • Exotics

      Elon likes to one up everyone. It’s in his competitive Super IQ nature. Just because he can. Hardcore smackdowns is what Tesla likes to give to other automakers.

      Accelerating the transition to sustainable energy is the goal. More EV competition the better.

      That’s what Elon wants

      • gambit gamboa

        More like super fraud that cant produce a car at a price that people will buy without tax credits LOL.

        • Big Black Duck

          i bet you are once of those guys that believe Kindergarten should be paid for .. LOL..

      • Infinite1

        Exactly. I doubt he’ll ever one up Porsche especially when they’re working on an EV themselves

  • SteersUright

    While the wider body and huge tires look awesome, why not a fresh new look already? It still looks decent but definitely starting to look pretty old.

  • Jorge Salazar

    What will they say when tesla is done
    18 wheelr, Truck, Suv, small SUV, large car, small car, 2 door supercar, it’s not afordable??
    Who makes any of these vehicles for 25, or 30g. Tesla needs to go up to 100, 150 , 200 for super range. Premium cars and make all others like porche eat crow…

Someone Paid $65k For A BMW E30 325i, Albeit A Rather Nice One

This 325i has just 6,794 miles, but still, $65k is too much for a non-M3 Bimmer.

Taking A Seven-Year Car Loan Is A Really Dumb Decision, Yet Many Americans Do It

The lower monthly payments attract buyers, but they fail to realize the interest rates are much higher.

Lyft Adding 200 Electric Vehicles To Its Denver Fleet

This is Lyft’s largest single deployment of EVs to date, and also the largest in Colorado’s history.

If You Like Audi’s New-Gen A6, Then You’ll Love The 2020 S6

A big, sports-oriented, diesel-powered S6 Sedan sounds like an interesting package, doesn’t it?.

Hunkt Canticie Is Yet Another Chinese Range Rover Sport Knock-Off

The Hunkt Canticie is priced at roughly a tenth of what a Range Rover Sport sells for .

Get One Of The Very Last 2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classics For “Just” $600,000

This is number 237 of only 250 911 Sport Classics ever made and has less than 700 miles on the odo.

Driven: 2019 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Improves On A Winning Recipe

The i30 Fastback N is very similar to the hatch, but manages to haves its own distinct personality.

Nico Rosberg Pits McLaren Senna And 720S Against Each Other

Both the 720S and Senna are powered by twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8s, but each has its own, distinct character.

UAW Strike Forces GM To Scale Back Its Presence At 2020 CES

GM intended to show off a new EV in prototype guise, but will instead have a much smaller presence at the event.

Can The Audi RS5 Sportback Serve As Your Sole Daily Driver?

It sure ain’t cheap, but with 444 HP, sharp handling and decent room, the RS5 Sportback has a lot going for it.