When Tesla introduced the Model S Plaid last year, it touted an impressive top speed of 200 mph (322 km/h). However, you won't be able to go that fast since the EV is electronically governed at 163 mph (262 km/h). Those with the need for speed will be glad to hear a new software update loosens up the limiter to 175 mph (282 km/h), and while it's not the supercar-matching velocity we were promised, it's still an improvement.
Several new videos show a Model S Plaid with the latest OTA update, which comes along with a Track Mode. Mind you, the car will still be able to hit 175 mph even without the newly added mode selected. Per Tesla, the Track Mode turns off some driver assistance systems and should be used only on a track to "experience the unmatched performance at many different venues."
What does Track Mode do? According to the release notes, it boosts powertrain performance after dialing up the heat pump to cool "more aggressively" than before. Torque vectoring is also enhanced across the three electric motors for sharper cornering at higher speeds. In addition, regenerative braking is accentuated to recuperate extra energy.
Changes to the suspension are also made once Track Mode is activated. It automatically sets the car to its lowest mode and tweaks the adaptive dampers to minimize body roll and consequently improve handling. Upon activation, a dedicated screen pops up, showing a G-meter, lap timer, thermal monitor, and vehicle telemetry, along with turning on the dashcam.
As to why it still can't break the 200-mph barrier, Tesla has previously said the Model S Plaid needs better brakes. The attached footage shows the car coming to a complete halt from 175 mph with the standard brakes. A $20,000 carbon-ceramic set has been officially announced for a mid-2022 release.
Perhaps that is when another software update will unlock the 200-mph capability. Tesla said last year only cars equipped with the larger, optional 21-inch Arachnid wheels will be able to go that fast, which makes sense since the standard 19-inch set is probably too small to fit the wider rotors.
Even at a limited 175 mph, the Model S Plaid still has a higher top speed than the 162-mph Porsche Taycan Turbo S and the 168-mph Lucid Air. If money is no object and you're looking for a substantially faster EV, then look no further than the $2.4-million, 258-mph Rimac Nevera.
As a final note, the Plaid costs almost $155,000 once you add the bigger wheels and the carbon-ceramic brakes.