A new software upgrade will get you to 60mph in just 2.4 seconds. But first you have to find it.
The world’s fastest-accelerating car is about to get even faster.
Tesla’s high-end Model S will soon be able to go from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 2.4 seconds, following a software enhancement next month that shaves off a 10th of a second. That’s a new threshold that distinguishes it from any other production car on the road.
Tesla Motors Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk teased the update in a tweet on Wednesday—but there’s a twist. When the changes are delivered wirelessly next month to all P100D Model S vehicles, the owners will have to figure out how to enable it. It’s what’s known in the tech industry as an “Easter Egg”—a hidden feature that requires a specific series of gestures to unlock.
These speeds are crazy fast. For perspective, the Model S already outpaces sold-out supercars with tiny production runs, such as Ferrari’s $1.4 million LaFerrari, Porsche’s $845,000 918 Spyder, and Bugatti’s $2.3 million Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse. Tesla’s seven-seat Model X SUV will also shed a 10th of a second, putting it on a par with a $1.15 million McLaren P1.
Here’s a chart that shows how Tesla ranks in speed and price among the world’s elite. The latest Model S, however, is in a category all its own, especially when you consider it’s a spacious four-door sedan with two trunks. The Model X is the only SUV to make the list.
Speeds like this offer more Gs than Earth, so the rate of acceleration is faster than falling. It can feel difficult to support your head and shoulders if you don’t lean back on the headrest. And perhaps the strangest feeling of punching it on a Tesla is that, with two all-electric motors, the wheels don’t slip and acceleration is practically silent.
Previous Tesla Easter eggs have changed the car’s displays, but this is the first time one will alter performance. For example, accessing the service login from the car’s 17-inch touchscreen and entering access code “007” transforms the Model S graphic on the vehicle’s control panel into James Bond’s submersible Lotus from the 1977 movie The Spy Who Loved Me. (Musk bought the Lotus for $1 million and says he plans to make it functional some day.)
Here’s a table of the world’s quickest cars. The acceleration times are provided by the manufacturers, though some cars have been clocked a bit faster on the track. (Previous versions of Teslas have, too.) In addition to the improved zero-to-60 times, the Model S will be able to sprint a quarter-mile in 10.6 seconds.
Musk’s Easter eggs tend to have pop-culture references from his formative years. One turns the road into rainbows from Nintendo’s Mario Kart video game. Others reference the 1987 movie Space Balls and Douglas Adams’s 1981 book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
A possible hint about the upcoming release came when a Twitter follower named @Locoboof wrote, “You mean to tell me as fast as this thing is, the beast hasn’t been fully unleashed?” Musk responded: “Locoboof it is not actually left-handed.” That’s an apparent reference to a sword fight in the movie Princess Bride, in which Dread Pirate Roberts (as played by Cary Elwes) and Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) both reveal midfight that they’ve been using their weaker sword hand to give their rivals a chance.
In December, the Model S is going to switch hands.