Tesla Model S “Plaid” posts preliminary 7.20s Nurburgring lap time

Tesla claims a Model S mule, fitted with its latest “Plaid” powertrain, can achieve a seven-minute 20-second Nurburgring lap time

Tesla has released a series of Twitter and Instagram posts which claim its latest Model S prototype is capable of a Nurburgring lap time of seven minutes and 20 seconds – making it more than 20 seconds faster than the Porsche Taycan. 

The lap time is believed to be calculated based on ‘bridge to gantry’ times recorded while the modified Tesla Model S was testing at the ‘Ring. These are not complete laps of the Nurburgring Norsdschleife as they miss out a long section of the start-finish straight, although it’s believed Tesla has adjusted its claimed time for this. Official lap times at the Nurburgring must be recorded on the full Norsdschleife circuit during special timed lap sessions and for production car records, the cars need to be in unmodified form.  

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The Model S prototype in question is Tesla’s “Plaid” test mule, which is fitted with the brand’s more potent three-motor powertrain, wider wheels and tyres, flared wheel arches, a fresh rear wing and a host of chassis revisions. Following further development, Tesla says the mule could be capable of a seven-minute, five-second lap time.

The Model S “Plaid” is Tesla’s effort to keep its all-electric saloon competitive with the recently released Porsche Taycan in terms of outright performance. The firm’s CEO, Elon Musk, announced on Twitter that the new powertrain will go on sale next year, priced “less than its competitors.”

Tesla’s Plaid powertrain will also eventually be available on the Model X and the Tesla Roadster, although Musk confirmed it won’t be offered on the Model 3 or Model Y. We expect the system will comprise two electric motors for the rear axle and a single motor for the front.

The current range-topping Tesla Model S Ludicrous Performance drivetrain offers 605bhp and 931Nm of torque – a figure which the “Plaid” system will drastically improve. It’s possible that the powertrain will be able to out-gun the figures offered by the new Porsche Taycan Turbo S’s system, which produces 750bhp and 1050Nm of torque.

The American brand’s Model S Plaid development mule recently set a new lap record for four-door vehicles at the Laguna Seca race track, with a claimed time of 1:36.555 minutes – making it a second quicker than the previous record-holder, the Jaguar XE SV Project 8. Tesla released a video of the lap on its Twitter account after the event.

Tesla’s new-found interest in the famed circuit is likely in reaction to the Porsche Taycan’s recent record-breaking lap, where the Taycan unofficially claimed the title of the world’s “fastest four-door, all-electric sports car.” 

However, Musk also stated in a Tweet that the Model S tasked with setting the lap will sport seven seats – giving it an opportunity to beat the lower bar set by the current seven-seat record holder: the Skoda Kodiaq vRS.

What do you make of Tesla’s claimed Nurburgring lap time? Let us know in the comments section below… 

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