Tesla vs. Superbikes: Model S Plaid Takes on Hayabusa and ZX-14R

Tesla vs. Superbikes: Model S Plaid Takes on Hayabusa and ZX-14R

  • The quickest stock four-wheeled vehicle takes on the quickest stock two-wheeled vehicles.
  • The Model S Plaid is the quickest vehicle Edmunds has ever tested.
  • As always, Tesla's claims remain optimistic.

What can you compare the 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid against? With 1,020 horsepower and a claimed 9.2-second quarter-mile time, it's the quickest car you can buy new, and by a significant margin. It's so quick that we couldn't find a worthy stock four-wheeled vehicle to drag race it against. So we found two two-wheeled vehicles. That math checks out.

Enter pro motorcycle drag racer and tuner Chris Moore. He eagerly agreed to race against the Plaid (he has one on order) and sourced bikes from his followers. Superbike one: a 2022 Suzuki Hayabusa. Superbike two: a 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R.

The Hayabusa and ZX-14R are the quickest motorcycles you can buy from the factory. How would they face in a heads-up drag race against the Plaid? Watch to find out.

TESTED: How quick is the Model S Plaid?

Tesla says the Model S Plaid does 0-60 mph in 1.99 seconds and the quarter mile in 9.23 seconds at 155 mph. But our experience both as professional vehicle testers and Tesla owners has revealed that you should take Tesla's claims with a grain of salt.

What's launching the Plaid like? First you have to select drag race mode, which preconditions the battery for maximum acceleration over the course of the next five to 15 minutes. Once the battery's fully prepared, the driver holds both the brake and accelerator pedals down to engage launch control. Over the next 5 or so seconds, the Model S' air suspension lowers farther to "Cheetah stance," before telling the driver it's ready to launch. A touch over 9 seconds after releasing the brake pedal, you're going 150 mph.

Our results — 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds and the quarter mile in 9.4 seconds at 150.8 mph — are staggering. This isn't simply quicker than a Hayabusa or ZX-14R — it's the quickest vehicle in Edmunds' test history, but slower than Tesla touted. Why? Tesla applies a 1-foot rollout to its 0-60 mph time, effectively eliminating the first foot of acceleration from the result. This method is a historical remnant from acceleration testing that attempted to simulate the timing lights at a drag strip. It also artificially improves acceleration results. At Edmunds, we publish acceleration with and without rollout, but emphasize the latter because it's a more accurate representation of what you can expect in real-world driving.

The difference in the quarter-mile time may also be due to differences in testing locations. We perform acceleration tests on a regular street surface, not a drag-strip surface that's been prepared and treated with a traction-adding compound — again, the goal is to represent the real world. The test results we've seen from other outlets that used prepared drag-strip surfaces were closer to Tesla's claims.

2021 Tesla Model S Plaid

Powertrain

  • Single front electric motor, two rear electric motors (1,020 hp, 1,050 lb-ft of torque)
  • Single-speed fixed gear, front and rear
  • All-wheel drive

Performance

  • Weight: 4,842 pounds
  • 0-60 mph: 2.3 seconds (2.1 seconds with 1-foot rollout)
  • Quarter mile: 9.4 seconds @ 150.8 mph
  • 60-0 mph braking: 108 feet
  • Skidpad: 1.06 g

2021 Tesla Model S

2021 Tesla Model S

Edmunds says

Hayabusa? Kawasaki Ninja? You'll need something even faster. The Tesla Model S Plaid is quick enough to defeat any other new stock vehicle — no matter if it has four wheels or two.

2021 Tesla Model S

2021 Tesla Model S


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