Behold the new Model S Plaid Widebody

The 1,020hp flagship Tesla is probably too fast for its own good – Unplugged Performance can see to that

By Matt Bird / Thursday, 31 August 2023 / Loading comments

Just when it seems like everything possible has happened for the Tesla Model S, from shooting brake commissions to Nurburgring lap records, something new pops up. This is the Dark Knight, a widebody Model S from renowned Tesla tuners Unplugged Performance, a range of upgrades that promises to make the most of the outrageous output delivered by a Plaid.

Even with Tesla’s better-late-than-not-at-all Track Pack, the Model S flagship is packing a lot of horsepower into a comparatively old platform. There can’t be any cars out there launched in 2012 still on sale all these years later with almost three times the power. Dark Knight comes from Unplugged Performance’s S-APEX range of upgrades, promising ‘cutting edge technology and performance enhancements, setting new standards for the high performance electric vehicle industry’.

Notably this Model S boasts no additional output, the focus very much not on creating another drag strip hero. Instead that chunky carbon widebody is impossible to ignore, pumping up the Tesla to almost cartoonish levels of muscle. It serves a purpose beyond styling, however, as a wider car means wider tyres can be fitted, and wider tyres have a better chance of getting 1,020hp and 1,050lb ft to the tarmac. Unplugged hasn’t said how much wider the rubber now is, but the Dark Knight does sit on 21-inch forged monoblock wheels. It’s fully 60mm broader now, too, so there’s scope for going a whole lot bigger.

As an EV capable of 200mph, aerodynamics are a concern for Plaid owners in a way they wouldn’t be for many other speed-limited cars. To help with getting the aero balance just right, Unplugged Performance employed Koenigsegg Advanced Performance (yes, that Koenigsegg) to help design that rear bootlid spoiler. It even goes down the same carbon production line as the bits for the hypercars. A front diffuser features on an Unplugged S-APEX build for the first time, working in conjunction with that remarkable rear structure.

There’s more, too, the Dark Knight riding on Unplugged’s Spots Dynamic lowering kit, adjustable rear anti-roll bar and billet aluminium control arms, also adjustable and permitting ‘precise alignment adjustments to front and rear toe, camber and caster’. Which is cool. Ceramic brakes also feature on an Unplugged Tesla for the first time, complete with brake cooling ducts to be fitted when not chasing hypercars on a track day, keeping the mean and moody looks unspoilt. For some sign of intent, there’s even an Unplugged-branded strut brace in the boot.

The interior of the Model S gets an overhaul as part of the Dark Knight treatment, too, complete with von Holzhausen vegan leather in Serrano Red. Unplugged says a car like this, indeed all of its S-APEX builds, offer ‘an unparalleled drive uniting power, sustainability and individuality’. Despite so many having been built after all these years, it would be fair to say we’ve never seen a Model S quite like this one. You want a go too, right?

Ben Schaffer, CEO of Unplugged Performance, said: “With Dark Knight, we’ve set out to create the ultimate daily-driven supercar. It showcases our commitment to pushing the boundaries of Tesla’s capabilities and resonates with enthusiasts who value both raw speed and environmental consciousness. With its supercar-level presence and power, combined with the versatility of a family sedan, it’s the best all-in-one car I’ve ever experienced.”

Not that the ultimate daily-driven supercar comes cheap, with S-APEX builds on Unplugged’s site starting at $250k. And it’ll surely take a lot more than that to reach Dark Knight spec. Still, if the past decade or a bit has taught us anything, it’s that money spent on Tesla really knows no bounds at all. So don’t be surprised if this becomes one of a few Plaid Dark Knights. Unplugged are promising Cybertruck parts, too…

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