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What’s new with the 2021 Tesla Model S?

Tyler Heatley

30 Jan 2021

There’s a new Tesla Model S for 2021 and it features a series of significant upgrades, not to mention some quirky features. Rectangular steering wheel anyone?

The Tesla Model S was the American EV manufacturer’s first attempt at a mainstream model. It went down a storm, and through a series of modification over the years, remains one of the most capable electric cars out there. In fact, a Model S in the right specification is the current EV range champion.

A serious upgrade for this electric saloon has just launched, so here’s what’s new.


From a distance you’d be forgiven for mistaking a 2021 Tesla Model S for any other, but look a bit closer and there have been a few nips and tucks. The front bumper features cleaner intakes that give this example a more modern look that breaks further away from conventional styling. Its lower lip is now a bit more jutting, something that forms a sportier visage when combined with a narrower letterbox central intake.

There are a few new wheel options with the standard 19-inch variants going with a two-tone look, while more premium 21-inch ‘Arachnid’ options are by far the more premium choice. A small but significant change is the lack of external chrome work, instead replaces with contrasting black elements just like the updated Model 3.


While the exterior changes might be subtle, the interior alterations are dramatic to say the least. A new 17-inch portrait infotainment system takes centerstage and boast more media and rich graphics than ever before. The screen can also be tilted towards the driver or passenger dependant on who’s using it. Speaking of screens, the now an 8-inch touchscreen media spaniel in the back for rear passengers.

Material quality appears to have improved, and a new centre console with large storage compartment is a step up on what came before. A wireless charging plate for smartphones, just like the one from the refreshed Model 3, can host a pair of devices simultaneously.

When is he going to mention that steering wheel? Well, as you can see, it’s not a wheel. This new control is designed to mimic that of an aeroplane’s yoke, further setting the Model S apart from its apparently tame competitors. There are questions over the ergonomics or if it even meets European safety regulations, but it’s an interesting addition nonetheless.

Model S Plaid

You can still have the Tesla Model S as an all-wheel drive Long Range model that delivers 412 miles on a full charge. It might be the entry-level car these days, but 0-60mph in just 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 155mph remains impressive. It starts at £83,980.

Two new Tri Motor all-wheel drive cars join the party, each with two motors at the rear and one up front. The much speculated Plaid high-performance variants have surfaced with the £110,980 Model S sporting some impressive figures. You can expect a range of 390 miles, a top speed reaching 200mph, not to mention a supercar shaming 0-60mph run of 1.99 seconds. Total output is a hefty 1,006bhp. However, it will set you back £110,980.

The second performance Model S is the Plaid+, a car that truly turns things up to 11. Generating 1,100bhp, it promises to do 0-60mph in less than 1.99 seconds, making it the fastest accelerating production car in the world. A larger battery means a 520 mile range, that’s despite the on tap performance of this super saloon. The Plaid+ car will cost £130,980.

Tyler Heatley

30 Jan 2021