Last week, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk nearly broke the Internet when he tweeted the cryptic message “About time to unveil the D and something else.”
The speculation ended Thursday night in Los Angeles, where Tesla unveiled a revamped version of the Model S, with all-wheel drive, some extra muscle, and futuristic tech.
The “D” stands for dual-motor, one for each axle. Tesla will add the all-wheel drive system — which will likely be shared with the upcoming Model X — to each version of the Model S, offering 60D, 85D, and P85D iterations.
In the P85D, the two motors produce a staggering 691 horsepower and 687 pound-feet of torque, according to Road & Track. That will hurl the Model S from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, and on to a top speed of 155 mph. So this electric car will accelerate faster than a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.
As a bonus, the system also adds 10 miles of range, meaning cars with the 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack will now be able to travel 275 miles per charge.
Deliveries will start with the P85D in December, followed by the 60D and 85D in February.
The “something else” from Musk’s tweet heard ’round the world turned out to be a new suite of driver-assistance features.
Tesla has been quietly adding equipment for lane-departure warning and “speed-assist” speed-limit-identifying features to production cars, but didn’t formally announce them until tonight, along with much more.
The Model S will now feature an “autopilot” system that uses cameras and 360-degree sonar to detect obstacles.
So far, the system allows the driver to change lanes by simply flicking the turn-signal stalk, follow traffic, and even provide warnings to the human driver if he or she is about to plough into a truck.
Tesla says it’s been installing autopilot hardware on every car built for the past two weeks but, unlike the changes made through the company’s over-the-air software updates, it can’t be retrofitted to existing cars.
With some semi-autonomous functions and a slew of onboard sensors, Tesla is taking its first step toward putting a fully self-driving car on the road, while maintaining the Model S wow factor.
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