The Model S was Tesla’s first “real car,” and it was an immediate hit. Introduced in 2012, it won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award, and this year, Motor Trend named the Model S its greatest-ever Car of the Year.
All good, but the Model S is getting long in the tooth, and consumers aren’t as thrilled by it as they used to be. Sales have been flagging, partly because the cheaper Model 3 is fresher, but also because the Model S, brilliant as it is, has become dated.
Seven years is at the outside edge of what most car makers would allow for a model. Designs are typically all-new every five to seven years, and there are usually a few refreshes in a model’s cycle.
Tesla has tweaked the Model S a few times, and the automaker said that over-the-air software updates could give owners the impression of a brand-new car. But still, an early 2010s design is gonna get boring by the end of a decade, even it was conceived to last.
Here, then, are nice features I’d like to see on an all-new Tesla Model S:
1. Exterior design. The Model S was launched in 2012. Penned by Franz von Holzhausen, it was Tesla’s first “clean-sheet” design.
A few years later, the Model S was slightly revamped, with the biggest change being the loss of the nose cone that cleaned up the front fascia.
Von Holzhausen is a real minimalist, and the triumph of the Model S is that it’s held up so well. But it’s starting to look too conservative for a luxury ride. Here, for example, is the new Toyota Camry, a mass-market car that outdoes the Model S for exterior styling dynamics.
2. Wilder colors. The Model S can be ordered in five colors, with red being the most expensive (and best-looking). I’m not saying Tesla has to go acid green, but some frisky new colors could breathe some life into the good old Model S.
3. A distinctive high-performance variant. BMW has M Sport, Mercedes has AMG, Audi has RS, and Cadillac has V. Tesla has used “P” to showcase performance trim levels, but something flashier is in order.
4. “Maximum Plaid.” The fastest Model S is the P100D, blasting from 0 to 60 mph in about 2.5 seconds in “Ludicrous Mode.” A “Maximum Plaid” mode should be next (check the “Star Wars” spoof “Spaceballs” for the reference).
5. A truly UPSCALE interior. The interior of the Mercedes CLS, pictured here, is what luxury buyers expect. Tesla has upgraded the Model S over the years, but I’d like to see some serious bling in a redesigned version.
6. A truly SPORTY interior. A redesigned Model S doesn’t need to go full Lamborghini, but some snappy patterns and contrast topstitching would be cool.
7. The Model 3’s dashboard. The lack of traditional instruments takes some getting used to, but once you have that wide-open view in front of you, you appreciate the design. The Model S could use it.
8. More wheel options. For the current Model S, there are two 19-inch options and a single 21-inch choice. I’d like to see twice as many designs for a new Model S.
9. A Model S wagon. Sure, a guy can dream. I’d like to see a Model S estate, à la the Jaguar Sportbrake, pictured here.
I’ve always thought the Model S fails to get the props it deserves. It’s a truly great set of wheels that deserves a fantastic redesign. Bring it on, Tesla!
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