Tesla warns new Model S Plaid won't hit advertised 200 mph at launch, needs tire/wheel upgrade

By Fred Lambert

Tesla is warning that its new Model S Plaid won’t hit its advertised 200 mph top speed at launch since it will need a tire and wheel upgrade this fall.

When Tesla announced the new Model S Plaid, the automaker announced some impressive specs, like a 0-60 mph acceleration in 1.99 seconds, a quarter-mile run in 9.2 seconds, and a top speed of 200 mph.

Those are record-breaking specs in many ways, and especially for a 4-door full-size sedan.

We don’t have to take Tesla at its word on those specs, or at least not all of them.

US TV host Jay Leno confirmed that he was there when Tesla ran a quarter-mile in 9.247 seconds at 152 mph at the Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield last month.

But now we learn that the new Model S Plaid won’t actually hit the advertised 200 mph (322 km/h).

Tesla added a note to its online configurator stating that it will require new wheels and tires:

The indicated Plaid top speed requires proper wheels and tires which will be available in Fall 2021.

The automaker hasn’t released much information about the Model S Plaid’s wheels and tires other than two wheel options:

Those options, 19″ Tempest wheels and 21″ Arachnid wheels, were already available on previous versions of the Model S.

It’s unclear what wheel and tire combination is going to be needed to achieve 200 mph, but tires have speed ratings and 200 mph tires are fairly rare (and expensive).

On the Model S web page, Tesla does talk about used staggered wheels:

Staggered, performance-focused wheels and tires keep the car planted and transfer even more power down to the road.

Tesla also warns that the 21″ Arachnid wheel package reduces the expected range of the Model S Plaid to 350 miles (down from 390 miles) and it costs an extra $4,500.

On its own, the Arachnid wheel package costs $6,000 if someone wants it as a second set of wheels.

Now how often are you going to get to 200 mph? Probably not often if ever, unless maybe a few maniacs on the Autobahn, but it’s still an interesting development since it looks like Tesla is going to launch new wheels and tires for the Model S in the fall.

We should get a clearer idea of the situation tonight when Tesla holds a delivery event for the new Model S Plaid. Come back at 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET) for all the new information that comes out of the event.

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