2021 Tesla Model S Electric

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$79,990 - $99,990
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2021 Tesla Model S electric Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: July 22, 2020
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John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist

If you had range anxiety back in 2012, the best electric car you could buy was the Tesla Model S. Fast forward to 2020, if you have range anxiety, the best electric car you could buy is still the Model S. After eight years of progressive manufacturing of this all-electric five-door liftback sedan starting from 2012, Tesla seems all set to release its latest avatar with the 2021 Tesla Model S very soon. During its course, the Model S has seen multiple groundbreaking innovations like the addition of Autopilot and Enhanced Summon feature in 2014, Autopilot 2.0 in 2016, and the Sentry mode in 2017. Also, the Tesla S has a well-known reputation for offering the best in class EPA range and safety standards. Hence, the 2021 Model S is sure to maintain the reputation and legacy of Tesla.

See detailed review »

Pros

​Best in class range and fastest charging

​Innovative driver assistance features

​Impressive sporty performance

​Lower running costs

​Special attention is given to overall safety

Cons

​Towing compromises range of car

Cannot deliver its best in colder climates

What's New?

No updates have been announced by Tesla

Most changes will come throughout the year in the form of software updates


Pictures & Videos

Exterior
Interior
Videos
2021 Tesla Model S electric Review video
2021 Tesla Model S electric Interior video

Styles

2021 Tesla Model S electric in Deep Blue Metallic color 2021 Tesla Model S electric in Pearl White Multi-Coat color 2021 Tesla Model S electric in Midnight Silver Metallic color
Deep Blue Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

9.0

Interior

9.0

9.0

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Tesla Model S electric Long Range

Long Range

power
762 hp
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$79,990


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Long Range 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD) Starting at $79,990 MSRP TBD 762 hp, electric,
1-Speed Automatic all wheel drive 5

2021 Tesla Model S electric Long Range Plus

Long Range Plus

power
762 hp
fuel
Electric
mpg
12 combined

$79,990


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Long Range Plus 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD) Starting at $79,990 MSRP (11/12/12) 762 hp, electric, electric
1-Speed Automatic all wheel drive 5

2021 Tesla Model S electric Performance

Performance

power
TBD
fuel
Electric
mpg
12 combined

$99,990


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Performance 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD) Starting at $99,990 MSRP (11/12/12) electric, electric
1-Speed Automatic all wheel drive 5

Expert Review

9.0

Overall Rating


Providing the highest range of any electric car, the 2021 Model S is expected to land somewhere around $80,000. Its predecessor, the 2020 Model S has the power of two electric motors which offered it a graceful acceleration taking it from 0-60 mph in merely 2.3 seconds (performance pack). The 2021 Tesla Model S is rumored to come with three electric motors instead of two and it will offer better performance than the 2020 model. The battery packs are also rumored to be all-new which will prove to be a major upgrade from its previous 348 miles range in performance trim and 391 miles in long-range trim. 

In 2013, the Model S became the first electric car to top the monthly new-car-sales list in any country. Since then Tesla totally dominates the electric vehicle industry, the major competitors for the 2021 Tesla Model S is Tesla Model 3 itself. Competition outside the company includes Porsche Taycan and BMW i4 and the 2021 Lucid Air which is going to be a major rival of the 2021 Tesla Model S. Hence, it’s time to have a look at how the 2021 Model S will fair against its rivals.

2021 Tesla Model S electric Sedan Front View
2021 Tesla Model S electric Sedan Rear View

9.0/10
Features

 
 
 

9.0/10
Interior

 
 
 
 
 

2021 Tesla Model S electric Features

9.0/10

As mentioned earlier, Tesla hasn't released any official word on the 2021 Model S. But rumors are there regarding new updates in the vehicle. It could be said with surety that the upcoming model will be a major update from its previous model. The new model is expected to be offered in the same two trims as the old one Long-range and Performance. Some of the features of the 2020 model could be compared to give a good enough idea of what each trim offers. The trim line-up is expected to remain the same and the 2021 Model S will come in two trims namely, Performance and Long-Range Plus trim. The major difference between the two will be in terms of the driving range and acceleration. The current model’s Long-Range Plus version's battery provides up to a 402-mile range while the Performance model offers up to 348 miles.

Trims 

Performance

Long-range plus 

MSRP

$92,490 (est)

$72,490 (est)

Key features 

348 miles EPA est. range 

In addition to or in replacement to Performance trim 

 

HEPA air filtration system 

402 miles EPA est. range 

 

Autopilot and other innovative driver assistance features 

Premium Connectivity (1 year included)

 

Premium audio system with internet and Bluetooth audio streaming 

 
 

LED fog lamps 

 
 

Wireless phone charging 

 
 

Heated seats and steering 

 

*2020 data used for reference 

Expected price and release date of 2021 Tesla Model S

The expected price of the new 2021 Model S is expected to remain between $72,000 and $93,000. The addition of new features and upgrades implies that the price of its performance trim will surely go up. An official statement is yet to be released regarding the price of the new model. The 2021 Model S is expected to enter the market in the winter of 2020 during the festive season. However, a delay could be seen due to the current Covid-19 situation but the car is expected to be released somewhere in late 2020.

2021 Tesla Model S electric Engine and Performance

Unlike many of its competitors, the 2021 Tesla Model S is expected to receive a proper update in terms of its powertrain and range on offer. The 2020 Tesla Model S hosts two powerful electric motors that generate a combined 778 hp power and 841 lb-ft of torque in an AWD drivetrain. Being an all-electric car it comes with a single-speed fixed-gear transmission. The current model is best in its class when it comes to on-road performance and simply offers the quickest and most powerful acceleration along with the highest top speed. You will be impressed with its performance and the 2021 model is rumored to offer even better performance with its extra motor and new battery pack.

The current model comes with a 100-kWh battery and the Performance trim is absurdly fast as it takes just 2.4 seconds to reach 60 mph. The utter silence and lack of any engine sound is perhaps the most notable thing inside the cabin of the Model S. The 2021 Tesla Model S will be having the addition of new powertrain specs and there will be major changes. Expected upgrades include the addition of new motors and performance enhancements. With new upgrades, the 2021 Model S will likely kill any of its rivals in terms of on-road performance. 

A brief comparison of the 2020 Tesla Model S with rivals of the upcoming model is done to give an estimate idea on how the 2021 Model will fare against its competitors due to the lack of any solid information on the 2021 model. One has to keep in mind that the upcoming model will be much better than the one we are using to compare. 

Model 

2021 Tesla Model S (Expected)

2021 BMW i4 (Expected)

2020 Porsche Taycan

MSRP

$79,990-$99,990

$50,000(est.)

$105,150

Engine 

Electric 

Electric 

Electric 

Drivetrain 

AWD

RWD

AWD

Transmission

Single-speed fixed-gear transmission

Single-speed fixed-gear transmission

Automatic two speed G1X transmission 

Power (hp )

778

530

750

Torque (lb-ft)

841

NA

774

As could be seen from the above information, Tesla Model S dominates the performance sector among its competitors. The upcoming model will have even better performance specs than this vehicle. The only car that manages to come close is the Porche Taycan which has been receiving a lot of attention these days. But still n,one can match even the current Model S which throws out all of them from the competition. 

How quick is the 2021 Tesla Model S?

Teslas are known for being blistering fast when it comes to going from 0-60 mph. The 2021 Model S is expected to be astonishingly fast with its extra motor. The two electric motors of the 2020 Tesla model S already gives it an impressive acceleration which is capable of making it go from 0-60 mph in just 2.3 seconds. With a top speed of 155 mph and a quarter-mile timing of 10.69 seconds the Model S is just in a league of its own.

2021 Tesla Model S electric Sedan 0-60 MPH in just 2.3 sec

Model 

2021 Tesla Model S (expected)

2021 BMW i4 (Expected)

2020 Porsche Taycan

0-60mph time (secs.)

2.3

4.0

2.6

Quarter mile Time (secs)

10.69

NA

10.8

Top speed (mph)

155

124

162 

Engine 

Electric motor

Electric motor

Electric motor 

It could be clearly seen how the 2020 Tesla Model S just demolishes its competitors as well as many supercars of today. With more upgrades under the hood, the 2021 model will score off charts in terms of performance. The Porche Taycan comes close in terms of 0-60 Mph numbers but the BMW i4 is just unimpressive considering its competition.

How well does the 2021 Tesla Model S brake?

With a rocket-like acceleration, the Tesla Model S also offers impressive braking performance. The 2021 model is expected to come with the same braking setup. With 4-channel ABS brake systems, 14-inch and 14.4-inch front and rear brake rotors, the braking facilities of this car are simply one of the best.

2021 Tesla Model S electric Sedan Wheel

They get the car from 60 mph to a standstill at a distance of 113 ft. No major changes are expected to be seen in the braking performance of the upcoming 2021 Tesla Model S. A good enough comparison of braking capabilities could be done based on the data of the 2020 Tesla Model S.

Model

2021 Tesla Model S (expected)

2021 BMW i4 (Expected)

2020 Porsche Taycan

Brake rotors front (inches)

14

NA

16.53

Brake rotors rear (inches)

14.4

NA

16.14

Curb weight (lbs)

4941

NA

5121

60-0 (feet) 

113

NA

97

The 2020 Tesla Model S offers an impressive braking performance and something similar can be expected from its upcoming model. The one department where the Taycan manages to beat the Model S is in terms of braking. It offers the best braking performance which is due to its bigger rotors.

How well does the 2021 Tesla Model S handle?

Where the 2021 Model S is expected to remain quite the same is in terms of the ride and handling. However, with its strong sporty performance, the current Tesla Model S is equipped with quite a capable chassis and suspension to get the best out of its powertrain. It offers a “Smart Air Suspension” which allows it to change the ride height depending on the road conditions. However, being on the sporty side it could feel a bit stiff for some even though it soaks in most bumps and potholes quite well.

2021 Tesla Model S electric Sedan Front View

With a sensor to map the road, it can automatically reduce the ride height when you're on a highway and increase it during speed bumps and rough road conditions. If you manually change the ride height, the car will remember the spot and adjust the ride height automatically next time you reach that place, now that’s super clever! Apart from this, there is also the self-handling autopilot system which eases ride experience exponentially. With the Autopilot 2.0, introduced in 2016, the car can navigate through a parking lot to its owner without anyone in the driver's seat.

For a casual buyer, the car has exceptionally great handling. The steering offers excellent feedback and it is confidence inspiring. With an electric engine creating no noise whatsoever, the ride feels comfortable and luxurious. For a pursuit buyer, the car offers sporty handling and ride experience. It has great cornering and turning abilities. Conclusively speaking the car handles well for both the casual and pursuit buyer.

2021 Tesla Model S electric Fuel Economy

The Tesla Model S is quite an efficient car and quite a sensible buy if you want low running costs. Electric vehicles have a fuel economy depending on batteries involved. The 2020 Tesla Model S was made available with a good enough fuel economy of 109, 113 and 105, highway, city and, combined MPGe respectively. With rumors of the addition of two new battery types in the new 2021 model, the range and fuel economy are expected to improve. However, we cannot confirm by how much as the official numbers are yet to be out.

Models 

2021 Tesla Model S (expected)

2021 BMW i4 (Expected)

2020 Porsche Taycan

MPGe(Highway)

113

NA

68

MPGe(City)

105

NA

71

MPGe (combined)

109

NA

69

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

-

-

-

Range (max.)(miles)

391

370

201

The fuel economy is noticeably the highest in the Tesla Model 3 and it leaves behind its rivals in terms of the max. Range. The Porsche Taycan does not approach anywhere near to that of Tesla in terms of fuel economy. In general, Tesla has the best in class fuel economy and range figures. The BMW i4 on the other hand offers better practicality as compared to the Taycan.

2021 Tesla Model S electric Interior

9.0/10

The 2021 Tesla Model S is rumored to come with some changes inside the cabin. As Tesla holds a reputation for being advanced and innovative in terms of technology you can expect the new model to come with some very clever features. The interior of the current Tesla Model S aris articularly comfortable and spacious. With convenient and comfortable seating facilities the 2020 Model S offers a seamless ride experience.

2021 Tesla Model S electric Sedan Front Seats

Features like 12-way power-adjustable front seats, heated front, and rear seats, and a heated steering wheel ensure the luxury and comfort quotient inside the vehicle is maintained according to its class. The driving position and cabin ergonomics are very well designed but the large touchscreen needs some time getting used to.

2021 Tesla Model S electric Sedan Rear Seats

Features like the Autopilot give you more time to interact with the cabin of the car when compared to a regular one. The 2020 Model S has a pretty impressive total passenger volume of 94 cu.ft. for its five passengers. Fit and finish on the inside is top-notch the materials used on the inside are well behind the best in-class luxury cars. Overall visibility is also not the best and you need to rely heavily on the sensors provided. The 2021 Tesla Model S is to feature a redesigned interior that opens doors for new possibilities and expectations. Rumor has it that the new model will have new seats and interior designs. However, the current model also offers a nice cabin and is a good place to be in.

Models 

2021 Tesla Model S (expected)

2021 BMW i4 (Expected)

2020 Porsche Taycan

Seating capacity

5

4

4

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)    

38.8/ 57.7/ 42.7

NA

NA

Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)    

35.3/ 55/ 35.4

NA

NA

The interior space offered by the Model S is fairly comparable to its rivals. Tesla’s rear seat is designed to offer even the middle passenger the comfort that he/she deserves. It offers one of the most spacious cabin in the segment however the Porche Taycan simply feels the most premium on the inside. 

Infotainment features in 2021 Tesla Model S

As mentioned earlier, Tesla has a reputation for being highly advanced in terms of technology. What better proof of this could there be other than its infotainment system. As soon as you enter the interior the 17-inch touch-screen infotainment system catches your eye. With the Internet as well as Bluetooth audio streaming facility, you can access any kind of music you want with the most ease. 

2021 Tesla Model S electric Sedan Infotainment Screen

The current Model S offers graphics-intense Tesla Arcade games like Beach Buggy Racing 2 and Stardew Valley with gamepad compatibility. It also enables video streaming and access to YouTube and Netflix through the Tesla Theater. There is no access to AM, FM or Sirius XM radio. 

Some important infotainment features include: 

  • 17-inch touch-screen infotainment system
  • Internet and Bluetooth connectivity 
  • in-car karaoke, with highlighted lyrics
  • Games and hidden exciting features
  • Wireless device charging
  • Custom audio system featuring 11 speakers with neodymium magnets and an 8” subwoofer.

Although Tesla updates its software whenever it wants, we might be seeing some major upgrades in the upcoming 2021 Tesla Model S which will offer more features and usability.

How much Cargo can the 2021 Tesla model S carry?

The 2021 Model S will not be any different in terms of the physical dimensions and hence it will offer 26.3 cu.ft. of trunk space. The impressive fact is that its rear seats could be just turned down to increase this space to up to 60 cu.ft. Due to the lack of an engine up front, there is also a front trunk space of 2.1 cu.ft. This is a pretty large storage space for a car. It also compares well to its rivals. In fact, the trunk space or cargo capacity is highest in Tesla model S and beats all of its competitors. With seats in the back folded down, the trunk volume increases astonishingly and is not comparable to any of its competitors. 

Model 

2021 Tesla Model S (expected)

2021 BMW i4 (Expected)

2020 Porsche Taycan

Standard Cargo space (cu. ft)

23.6

NA

12.9

Maximum Cargo space (cu. ft)

60

NA

NA

There is no doubt that the Tesla Model S already has the best in class Cargo Capacity with space expanding up to a tremendous 60 cu.ft. with seats in the rear folded down. Similar behavior is to be expected from the 2021 Model. Hence it is one of the most practical car for carrying luggage over long-distance journeys.

What are other storage spaces inside?

Right below the 17-inch screen and between the two front seats of the 2020 Tesla Model S you will find a small compartment for storing small items. There is also a pair of cupholders at this place. There are no seats or door pockets. Hence the interior storage space relatively very less. However, it is balanced by the extreme cargo capacities offered by this vehicle.

Major interior features include : 

  • 12-way power-adjustable front seats
  •  heated front and rear seats
  • heated steering wheel
  • Impressive infotainment systems 
  • 11-speaker stereo system 
2021 Tesla Model S Interior
2021 Tesla Model S Infotainment
2021 Tesla Model S Steering
2021 Tesla Model S Front Seat
2021 Tesla Model S Rear Seat

2021 Tesla Model S electric Exterior

The 2020 Tesla model S was totally redesigned to give out a more futuristic and modern look to it as well as increase its aerodynamic efficiency. The 2021 Tesla Model S is expected to come with some minimal design changes on the outside. With flowing lines and some sharp curves, the 2020 Tesla Model S looks more aggressive, sharp, and bold than its predecessors. From the front, you get a sleek set of headlights and the rather plain but aerodynamic bumper. Looking from the sides it looks like any typical sedan.

2021 Tesla Model S electric Sedan Side View

The upcoming 2021 model year will show a major facelift and upgrade in the overall manufacturing of Tesla Model S. There is not a sure answer as to whether there will be any change in exterior designs or not. The exterior features are pretty impressive in Tesla.

Model

2021 Tesla Model S (expected)

2021 BMW I4

2020 Porsche Taycan

Curb Weight(lbs)

4941

NA

4960

Length(inches)

196

189.1

176.4

Width(inches)

77.3

76.1

70.5

Height(inches)

56.9

54.6

61.6 

Ground clearance(inches)

4.6

NA

5.9

Wheelbase(inches)

116.5

117.8

106.3

When it comes to exterior design, Tesla has the best and most attractive designs amongst its competitors. Tesla vehicles look the most modern and advanced in front of all its rivals. Also, the Tesla Model S is comparably longer and wider as compared to its competitors. This makes it visually very attractive and allows it to have the ability to catch eyes on the road.

Some important ones include 

  • Automatic door handles
  • Carbon fiber spoiler
  • LED cornering lights
  • LED Fog lights
  • Front Trunk or "frunk"

2021 Tesla Model S electric Safety

The current Tesla Model S is one of the safest cars you can buy today. The safety features are quite well designed to keep all passengers safe and secure in case of a crash. Even though there have been cases of Autopilot failing to spot a crash situation, it is still considered to be better than humans in case of a crash. The Tesla Model S has received full 5 stars in the latest crash tests. Being an electric vehicle with a floor-mounted battery there was much room for impact protection and strong structure. Speaking of structural safety, there is 

  • Front-Impact Protection
  • Side-Impact Protection
  • Very Low Rollover Risk

There are also some technological safety features like : 

  • Navigate on Autopilot - Active guidance from highway on-ramp to off-ramp
  • Anti-lock brakes.
  • Stability control
  • Security system

It is very much clear that the Tesla Model S has ensured standards of safety. Hence it would be perfect as a family sedan.

2021 Tesla Model S electric Competition

2021 Tesla Model S vs 2020 Porsche Taycan 

The Porsche Taycan was able to give a pretty stiff competition to the 2020 model of Tesla Model S. Since there are many expected upgrades in the upcoming Model S hence it is expected to surpass Porsche Taycan in every possible way. Apart from the fact that the latter car is much more expensive than Tesla Model S, the performance and technological facilities are not up to the level for a good enough competition. 

2021 Porsche Taycan

Being a Porsche, one thing we could expect for sure is a luxurious ride experience in this car. While Tesla is famous and known well for its technology, Porsche is an old name in the automobile business and offers a lot of luxury to its customers. 

2021 Tesla Model S vs 2021 BMW I4

BMW I4 will be the first of its type and will be introduced in 2021. With a curved touchscreen display, flat-bottom steering wheel, and luxurious looking interior designs, the interior of 2021 BMW I4 is a place of beauty unlike the Model S which is well known for its high tech and modern interior. 

2021 BMW I4 

Like the Autopilot in Model S, the BMW features a similar feature which it calls Personal CoPilot. Although this is the first year for this software, being similar to Tesla's autopilot shoots it right up to its major competitors. The performance of the 2021 BMW I4 will be driven by a single electric motor powertrain. Being the first vehicle of its class and having similar features like the Tesla, the BMW I4 is an important competitor.

2021 Tesla Model S electric Final Verdict

There is no doubt that the 2021 Tesla Model S is going to be an impressive vehicle and will still be the best among all of its present competitors. It has the most impressive powertrain and safety features along with best in class range and fuel economy. The Model S proves itself worthy of all the attention it is getting with its futuristic technological features which make it even more exciting. But looking at the new 2021 Lucid Air, one might want to wait for the official release of both the cars. The 2021 Lucid air is expected to be the best competition for 2021 Tesla Model S and this is a competition worth waiting for. But if you're already impressed and have your eyes set on the upcoming 2021 Model S then you can go for it without a second thought.

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