Tesla Model S Plaid achieves new quarter-mile world record

tesla model s plaid
(Image credit: Tesla)

Elon Musk must have infused the upcoming Tesla Model S Plaid with some SpaceX DNA, because the all-electric four-door family sedan just broke the world record for the quarter-mile at an organ-shifting 9.2-seconds.

News of the Tesla Model S Plaid’s feat comes from Spike’s Car Radio Podcast, also reported by Electrek, in which former late-night host Jay Leno revealed that he got to witness Tesla’s record-breaking run in person. The EV reached a top speed of 152 MPH, which is rather impressive for such a short distance. This makes the Tesla Model S Plaid officially the fastest production car ever. If only it could be fast enough to avoid the delays that keep pushing the Tesla Model S Plaid's launch back

The run took place at Famoso Bakersfield Raceway in McFarland, California, last month, and Leno says it included an official from the National Hot Rod Association. By having the official there, it made Tesla’s run, well, official. That’s in contrast to the 8.6-second quarter-mile run by the $2.45 million Rimac Nevera, which didn’t have an official present. It also means that Tesla won’t be able to hold on to this title for long, as Rimac is likely working on making its run official as soon as possible. 

Either way, the quarter-mile time by the Tesla Model S Plaid is incredibly impressive. The Model S Plaid, which starts at $120K, beat out multimillion dollar internal-combustion giants like the Bugatti Chiron Sport, Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 and the Ferrari 488 Pista. 

Granted, EVs do particularly well in acceleration tests, as electric motors don’t have to wait for fuel mixtures to activate, causing hundreds of mechanical parts to get the wheels moving. With electric, the torque is instantaneous. Although gas vehicles do have an edge in terms of top speed, hypercars like the Nevera are proving that they too can break that 200 MPH barrier. 

At the moment, there’s no official release date for the Tesla Model S Plaid. It’s also not possible to pre-order one right now. The car is expected to land sometime in early 2022.

Imad Khan

Imad is currently Senior Google and Internet Culture reporter for CNET, but until recently was News Editor at Tom's Guide. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with the New York Times, the Washington Post, ESPN, Wired and Men's Health Magazine, among others. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.

  • kep55
    Funny. I was sure the Shelby 427 Cobra held the record for the worlds fastest production car. Should there be a qualifier in there, such as "in non-real world tests on a drag strip"?