2021 Tesla Model S facelift – new interior with half-rim steering yoke, onboard gaming computer, 1,020 hp

2021 Tesla Model S facelift – new interior with half-rim steering yoke, onboard gaming computer, 1,020 hp

Tesla has unveiled a comprehensive revision of the Model S, a ground-up luxury sedan design that brought the electric car maker into the mainstream following the original Tesla Roadster. Updates to its exterior may be subtle as the big news is all inside; the interior has been overhauled, its battery pack has been fully redesigned and the top-performing Plaid variant is now a tri-motor setup with 1,020 hp.

Inside, the Model S steering wheel of old has been replaced by an aircraft-style yoke, where a square-shaped ‘wheel’ is cut off at top, above the nine’ and three’ o’clock hand positions. Tesla calls it “the ultimate focus on driving”; no stalks, and no shifting. With a stalkless steering yoke, you can enjoy both the best car to drive, and the best car to be driven in,” it says.

Where Tesla previously used conventional stalk controls for turn signals, lights and wiper controls, these functions have now been reassigned to a combination of force-touch surfaces and artificial intelligence, along with the scroll wheels as already featured in the Model 3 and Model Y. This new steering yoke will also be introduced to the revised Model X, according to Electrek.

Tesla ultimately hopes for these functions to be taken care of by the vehicle, and this direction towards autonomous operation extends to selection of drive modes (Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive), which are now done through force-touch controls on the centre console, at the base of the wireless phone charger.

This was indicated in internal Tesla documents sighted by Electrek, which said “The vehicle uses its Autopilot sensors to intelligently and automatically determine intended drive modes and select them. For example, if the front of Model S/X is facing a garage wall, it will detect this and automatically shift to Reverse once the driver presses the brake pedal. This eliminates one more step for the drivers of the world’s most intelligent production cars.”

The central 17-inch display is now turned landscape in its orientation, and joined by an eight-inch display for the rear seats. Further throughout the cabin of the 2021 Model S, the revised model gets a premium 22-speaker sound system with active noise cancelling, multi-device music and media Bluetooth connectivity.

The aforementioned 17-inch central display, eight-inch second-row display and 12.3-inch driver’s display are now joined by an onboard gaming computer with 10 teraflops of processing power – this is as powerful as the Sony PlayStation 5 – plus compatibility for wireless controllers.

The 2021 Model S can be optionally specified with Full Self-Driving (FSD) capability for US$10,000 (RM40,540), and this brings navigation on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, Autopark, Summon, a Full Self-Driving Computer, Autosteer on city streets, and arriving later this year will be Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control, says Tesla.

The currently enabled features “require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous,” and that the Model S will be continuously upgraded via over-the-air software updates as the self-driving features evolve, Tesla noted.

Comfort features in here include heated seats for all passengers, a heated steering wheel and heated windshield, ventilated front seating, three-zone Airwave air-conditioning, HEPA air filtration system, custom driver profiles with automatic easy-entry and exit, ambient lighting, a tinted glass roof as well as ultraviolet and infrared protection on all cabin glass.

Further conveniences in the 2021 Model S include a front centre console with sliding cup holders and storage, a stowable centre armrest with integrated storage and wireless charging for the second row, an automatic, powered liftgate, wireless and USB-C device charging for each passenger, location-aware automatic garage door opener and Phone Key functionality.

For the North American market, there will be the Premium Connectivity package that is complimentary for the first year, offering live traffic visualisation, satellite-view maps, video streaming with access to providers such as Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, Twitch and more, Caraoke, music streaming and an internet browser.

2021 Tesla Model S facelift – new interior with half-rim steering yoke, onboard gaming computer, 1,020 hp

Tesla has done away with the variant named ‘Performance’, and the 2021 Model S line-up is now comprised of the Long Range and Plaid. All Model S variants are all-wheel-drive, with a dual-motor setup for the Long Range variant and a tri-motor configuration for the Plaid.

The Long Range is so-named for its longest reach, with a claimed 412 miles (659 km) attainable on a single charge. Full deployment brings 670 hp, which yields a 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) time of 3.1 seconds. The Plaid variant with the tri-motor configuration can do a maximum of 390 miles (624 km) on a full charge, and peak motor output is rated at 1,020 hp with a 0-96 km/h time of 1.99 seconds.

There is now also the top Plaid+ variant will be even quicker to the acceleration benchmark, with the electric car maker claiming a time of ‘less than’ 1.99 seconds; Tesla claims this elapsed time is with initial rollout subtracted. The Plaid+ variant will also likely pack a more generous battery pack, as this is claimed to have a battery range of more than 520 miles (832 km).

Both Long Range and Plaid variants can receive the full 250 kW rate of charge from Supercharger outlets, the Long Range in particular benefiting from a fast charge that brings 320 km of range in just 15 minutes. In the United States, the 2021 Model S Long Range starts from US$79,990 (RM324,279), and from US$119,990 (RM486,439) for the Plaid variant.

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Mick Chan

Open roads and closed circuits hold great allure for Mick Chan. Driving heaven to him is exercising a playful chassis on twisty paths; prizes ergonomics and involvement over gadgetry. Spent three years at a motoring newspaper and short stint with a magazine prior to joining this website.



  • seancorr (Member) on Jan 29, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    Lol they seriously did it, a built in gaming system!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Many potential buyers have panned the F1 mimicking steering wheel as being wholly impractical and Tesla has finally lost all marbles in car design. From Tesla prime mover, to Cybertruck to this facelift Tesla have been going downhill unless they start bring in more common sense into their design.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6
    • 4G63T DSM on Jan 29, 2021 at 5:59 pm

      Missing the point.

      Where Tesla is going, they won’t need a steering wheel eventually, so it doesn’t matter what shape the steering wheel is.

      I would have made that so I can cross my legs and lounge without a normally round steering wheel in the way.

      You want common sense, buy a Toyota. Some kind of crazy is appreciated once a while.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
    • Mel Ayu Ratu Segara Masin on Jan 29, 2021 at 9:49 pm

      conservative mindset people can always buy and drive conventional cars if tesla electric vehicle is too technologically advanced for you to drive.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
    • Chris Lau on Jan 29, 2021 at 11:19 pm

      There’s no common sense in Elon and Tesla. If want a ‘common sense car’, with common features, common designs, common wheels whatsoever, go buy a common car.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
      • Tesla on Jan 30, 2021 at 9:37 am

        Haha true true, Tesla is not for the average joe(traditional squared minded ppl).

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
  • Phaser on Jan 29, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    Amazing. The numbers will create headlines and drive sales and share prices skywards for months to come. Imagine it. An upstart like Tesla with zero heritage, disrupting the automotive industry to the point they set the benchmark for electric cars in terms of speed, range and even charging infrastructure and though car nuts will never admit it, execs at companies as diverse as Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes and even BMW are spending billions to play catch-up. Sure, they look like B-grade Sci-fi props and won’t give the spine tingling sensation when driving a performance car on a winding road but for 90% of car buyers, 99% of their driving is to get from A to B with the minimum of fuss and at doing that, Tesla are currently the best.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  • Fox-3 on Jan 29, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    Future car doesn’t needs a driver or navigator, it only needs your command similar to F-22 doesn’t needs pilot only needs commander.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Tesla on Jan 30, 2021 at 9:37 am

    Haha true true, Tesla is not for the average joe(traditional squared minded ppl).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3
  • dtltyzzoott on Mar 29, 2021 at 6:02 pm


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