The Tesla Model S Plaid is almost here and it might have already set a production-car record.
On June 2, Jay Leno appeared as a guest on Spike’s Car Radio podcast to talk about the Tesla Model S Plaid. The retired late night talk show host and car enthusiast told the hosts he posted an incredible quarter-mile time in the Tesla Model S Plaid that would qualify as a production-car record.
Leno said he took the Model S Plaid to Pomona raceway in Bakersfield, California, “made one pass with the NHRA guys there to make it official,” and turned a 9.247-second time at 152.09 mph. The car was completely stock. “You’re talking a four-door car with the air conditioner,” Leno said.
Leno sent the podcast’s team a photo of the time slip as proof.
That’s faster than the 2018 Dodge Demon, which ran the quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds and was banned from the strip by the NHRA for being too fast without additional safety equipment. The current production car quarter-mile time record holder is the 2018 Bugatti Chiron Sport with a time of 9.4 seconds at 158 mph.
If Leno’s time becomes official the record might not last long. Rimac said the Nevera can run the quarter-mile in 8.6 seconds and the Czinger 21C can supposedly post a time of 8.1 seconds. Granted both of these are supercars and not large four-door hatchbacks.
It’s unclear how or why Leno was in the Model S Plaid, if the car was a prototype or production car, whether it was a Plaid or Plaid+ model (though the celebrity said it was a Plaid and never mentioned the word plus), and whether Tesla itself was involved. It’s likely Tesla was involved at some level given Leno was in a car that isn’t available to the public yet.
Tesla confirmed the Model S Plaid in September and said it posted a four-door record lap time at Laguna Seca of 1:36.555. The Plaid model will produce 1,020 hp from two electric motors on the rear axle and one on the front that enable torque vectoring capability. Tesla has said the Model S Plaid will run from 0-60 mph in 1.99 seconds and deliver an estimated range of 390 miles and a top speed of 200 mph. The Plaid+ model will take things further with 1,100 hp and hit 60 mph in less than 1.99 seconds. Tesla said the Plaid+ model will run the quarter-mile in less than nine seconds, so it’s quite possible Leno was in a Plaid model, not a Plaid+.
Model S Plaid models will cost $121,190 including destination, while Plaid+ models will cost $151,190.
Deliveries of the Model S Plaid were set to take place on June 3, but on May 29 CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the date was pushed back on to June 10 as the car needed an additional week of tweaking.