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Jay Leno loves his fast Tesla Model S Plaid. He even set a 1/4-mile speed record in the car. The collector says his supercars with similar performance cost many times more. However, Edmunds reviews the Tesla Model S Plaid as a “waste of money.”

Jay Leno’s history with Tesla

This is a blue Tesla Model S, like Jay Leno owns. He loves his fast Tesla Model S Plaid, reviewers consider the $130,000 car a waste.
Tesla Model S | Tesla

Standup comedian and Tonight Show host Jay Leno is the world’s most famous car collector. Leno says he is “a huge fan of American technology.” That passion initially drew him to Tesla.

Leno had been commuting in an electric car since he bought a Chevy Volt in 2011. So when he decided to upgrade, he purchased a 2015 Tesla Model S P90D. He ordered the Tesla from his local dealership, in Burbank California. Leno had his Tesla fully loaded with an extended range, premium wheels and interior, and the “Ludicrous” speed upgrade. 

Leno especially loved the speed upgrade. His fast Tesla Model S boasts 762 available horsepower and a 0-60 time of 2.8 seconds. He laughed, “You just press Ludicrous mode and–BOOM–you’re there.”

When Tesla announced an even quicker car than Leno’s Ludicrous-equipped car–the fast Tesla Model S Plaid–Leno knew he needed one. So he auctioned his P90D and ordered the new Tesla.

Jay Leno sets a world record in the fast Tesla Model S Plaid

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Tesla rates its Model S Plaid at 1,020 horsepower. Reviewers have tested its 0-60 mph time at 2.01 seconds. Many automotive enthusiasts have speculated that the new fast Tesla Model S Plaid would break the unmodified production car 1/4-mile world record. Leno decided to test that theory. 

When given a chance to test-drive a Model S Plaid, Leno took it to the race track and laid down a 1/4-mile time of 9.24 seconds. Thus, Leno broke the 1/4-mile world record. So naturally, he bought the car.

 Leno admitted his Tesla Plaid is expensive but argues it is well worth the price. He said, “$130,000 is a tremendous amount of money. But to get this same performance from an internal combustion engine you probably have to spend–in the case of Bugatti–two and a half million. Or Ferrari: close to a million. So, it’s pretty amazing.”

Leno claims electric sports cars feel different. He explained, “Electric cars don’t need a transmission. So, the minutes you step on the accelerator: BOOM! You’re gone.”

Overall, Leno is happy with the value Tesla offers. He said, “you have virtually no maintenance with electric cars.” He added that his Tesla gives him no range anxiety: “Even with the base model, you get four hundred miles. Approximately.”

The Edmunds review: a ‘waste of money’

This is a steering yoke in a Tesla Model S Plaid, like Jay Leno owns. He loves his fast Tesla Model S Plaid, reviewers consider the $130,000 car a waste.
Tesla Model S Steering Yolk | Tesla

The team at Edmunds called the Model S Plaid “the fastest car we’ve ever tested.” But they argued that fast Tesla Model S Plaid just “does one thing really well.”

The reviewers added that the interior “is a world apart from similarly priced competitors.” They gave the overall build quality a poor rating. Finally, they said, “A yoke on a road car is just plain daft.”

The writers fixated on the yoke as a “metaphor for the whole car.” They said equally “daft” is “the whole idea of (a) 1,020 horsepower four-door sedan.”

In the past, Edmunds has given Teslas–and even Model S iterations–glowing reviews. They call the Model S “a genuinely groundbreaking car that’s accessible to many people.” But they summarize the Model S Plaid as “A marketing exercise designed to create attention for an aging car and to satiate the egos of multimillionaires in cocktail bars.”

Perhaps the Model S is dated and the Plaid package is a money-grab. But Jay Leno holds a world record, and we bet he would call that priceless.


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