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The Tesla Model S Plaid has been in the "put up" phase of its "put up or shut up" tour pretty much since day one. When it debuted back in June, Jay Leno revealed that it had bested the 16-cylinder Bugatti Chiron, which held the previous production-car record of 9.4 seconds, in the quarter mile. The episode of "Jay Leno's Garage" (Season 6, Episode 8) documenting the effort aired on CNBC on Wednesday.
The Model S plaid utilizes a three-motor setup producing 1,020 horsepower that is capable of hitting 60 mph in just under two seconds, so its acceleration potential was never really in doubt. Its super-slippery drag coefficient of 0.208 helps it push through the air as speeds climb, enabling trap speeds in the 150 mph range.
The entertainer cracked off a 9.247, beating the Bugatti by more than a tenth of a second, but it wasn't long before Leno got a taste of his own medicine. A pro driver climbed behind the wheel of the Plaid and knocked another hundredth of a second off that time, setting a new record of 9.237 seconds. Leno commented on the driver's relative lack of girth, but even if the former late-night star was beaten, the narrow margin on their times speaks to the Tesla's consistent performance — professional wheel man or no.
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