Much the “new” coming from Tesla Inc. has come from additional vehicles, such as the Model 3 and Model Y, but the EV maker has finally offered an updated Model S for the 2021 model year with a unique new styling quirk.
No, it’s not the $10K price jump for the new model.
The new Model S is a bit more angular on the outside and the interior gets a big makeover, including a touchscreen that is now horizontal, like the Model 3 and Model Y and a new steering wheel. Not sure if CEO Elon Musk drew his inspiration for the new “wheel” from a plane or the Knight Industries Two Thousand, but it looks more like you’re a pilot than a driver when in the driver’s seat.
For those unfamiliar with top ‘80s television programs, the Knight Industries Two Thousand is better known as K.I.T.T. and helped David Hasselhoff, as Michael Knight, fight crime while capturing the imagination of young children (and some adults) across the U.S. on the TV show, “Knight Rider.”
It also didn’t hurt sales of the Pontiac Firebird, which is what K.I.T.T. in all black was: a 1982 Firebird with a funny red light mounted in the grille. It’s unclear if the Musk has programmed any Knight Rider-esque fun into the new model, but the look is spot on.
Although it was also popular in the ‘80s to say “It is better to look good than to feel good,” it’s uncertain how good the new yoke-style steering wheel is going to work. Having your hands perpetually at nine and three is ideal for racing, but for making sharp turns or parking, it’s not any fun and, in fact, can be dangerous.
While the small wheels or balls used to control different functions like adjusting the position of the steering wheel remain on the spokes of the yoke, the stalks typically associated with the turn signal and other functions have been eliminated with those controls also on the steering wheel.
Aside from the interior updates, the new Model S in the tri-motor version is ridiculously fast. In fact, Musk boasted during the company’s earnings call Wednesday that it’s the first production sedan to post a sub-2 second 0-to-60 mph time.
“There are a lot of great things about the new Model S,” he said. “This is a luxury sedan that is sable to go 0 to 60 mph in less than 2 seconds and hold seven people. We think it’s probably the best car of any kind at any price available in the world today.
That kind of bravado is fairly common when it comes to Musk and the Tesla line-up. However, the real world’s going to get a chance to see if he’s right starting at the end of this month and early February, he noted.