By on September 17, 2019

After Porsche’s Taycan secured its status as the fastest electric production vehicle ever to grace the Nürburgring, Tesla Motors was keen to steal the title. This evolving rivalry also resulted in Elon Musk tossing some light shade at the German manufacturer over its liberal use of the word “turbo.” What followed were some sedan-based lap records set by the American company at Laguna Seca, which was little more than a distraction from the main event while Tesla got its ducks in a row.

In Nürburg, Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S set the highly impressive time of 7 minutes and 42 seconds in August. The following month, Tesla starting running the Model S. This week, reports coming in from Germany claim the American manufacturer set an unofficial time of 7 minutes and 23 seconds. But there are issues with Tesla’s record-breaking run. 

According to early accounts from Auto Motor und Sport, on-hand observers verified the time as accurate. While a gaggle of pro drivers — led by track veteran Thomas Mutsch — ran the Model S, many onlookers noted that the vehicles appeared to be wearing non-factory competition tires and new bodywork.

Tesla’s Laguna Seca runs also utilized a specially made Model S variant using a three-motor powertrain referred to as “Plaid” (another Spaceballs reference). The system, which was originally intended for use in the revamped Tesla Roadster, is supposed to deliver quite a bit more oomph than existing powertrains, but would effectively nullify any production vehicle records the company was going for.

However, Electrek noted that Tesla is expected to bring various prototypes to test in Nürburg this month and may never have actually sought to break Porsche’s record. Auto Motor und Sport also mentioned that the company has several more weeks of testing scheduled at the track. But Musk has previously said there would be no updates for the Model S in the foreseeable future, making us wonder why the company bothered bringing modified versions of the car to Germany. Just to test the new powertrain?

Musk recently suggested that Plaid models could enter into production as early as next year, so it’s totally plausible. But that would also put Tesla’s lap record on a similar trajectory.

We’re curious as to what Tesla says next. It’s doubtful the company will proclaim itself as besting Porsche until Plaid models qualify as production vehicles, though it might still hype the run. Musk has been careful not to claim the Model S has official defeated the Taycan; he simply advised Porsche to be ready for the future.

“It’s a start,” the CEO tweeted on Tuesday. “We expect these track times to be beaten by the actual production 7 seat Model S Plaid variant that goes into production around Oct/Nov next year.”

Image: Porsche AG

[Images: Abu hasim.A/Shutterstock, Porsche]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

22 Comments on “Tesla vs Porsche?...”

  • avatar

    I’m waiting for electric cars to be at the 24hr of LeMans.

  • avatar

    Except the cars are not production or street legal. Its been confirmed those Tesla’s were stripped down to nothingness inside.

    Physics still elude Elon. Somehow adding 100’s of lbs of weight back in will make the cars faster.

    • 0 avatar

      @Niq: Even with the production interior etc. the car will probably be lighter. The new battery tech they just patented and supposedly will be in production next year is lighter. It might even be able to deliver power at a higher rate, but I’d have to reread the patent to be sure so I might be wrong. They should be able to get it into production relatively soon since it’s basically an incremental improvement in current technology so hopefully not difficult to get into production quickly. It’ll probably give some of the early solid-state batteries a good run for their money. Oh, it’s cheaper too.

    • 0 avatar

      Fun fact: A Tesla Model S is almost 1,000 lbs heavier than a 1967 Chrysler 300 with a 440 engine. The Tesla is also heavier than Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.

      The Tesla is however, lighter than a 1967 Lincoln Continental by 300lbs.

    • 0 avatar

      Plus the cars supposedly included carbon brake rotors to handle the heat of braking on the track.

  • avatar
    Rick Astley

    Isn’t the most important factor between buying one of these cars which one has the most taxpayer cash on the hood?

    We’re made to believe the only way to push luxury sport(y) cars is if taxpayers assume a little burden of ensuring a market exists.

    Therefore, it’s Porsche by a country mile as they are quite far from the production volume based phase-out of your hard earned money going into the pockets of those souls too poor to buy an electric Porsche without your help.

    Full disclosure: I was forced to purchase every one of my vehicle myself and without your assistance.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The Model S used to barf on this track because its cooling system couldn’t keep up – something which was remedied on the Model 3P.

    I assume the Plaid drivetrain solves this issue, and more? If so, that’s quite an upgrade.

    The new bodywork and tires look awesome, BTW:

  • avatar

    Tesla makes faster and better cars than Porsche like you that or not. You ICE lovers can scramble to find all kind of excuses alright but you are on the wrong side of history as all luddites are and were in the end.

    • 0 avatar

      Are we not allowed to enjoy both technologies? Why so polarizing?

      • 0 avatar

        He’s pushing a technology that ICE cars threw on the scrap heap of government-coerced stupidity a century ago. You can’t be civil and a totalitarian simultaneously.

        • 0 avatar

          “He’s pushing a technology that ICE cars threw on the scrap heap of government-coerced stupidity a century ago. You can’t be civil and a totalitarian simultaneously.”

          Stop drinking the right wing kool-aid and hit the books instead.

          If you read over the spec sheet for the early Detroit Electric car, you will find striking similarities to a golf cart.

          The reason for the similarity in specs is the limitation of lead acid batteries. If you build a practical EV out of lead acid batteries, it’s going to be a golf cart — even if it looks like a horseless carriage.

          Those electric cars never really went away. Maybe they had a hiatus for a couple of decades in the early 20th century, but they were back by the 1950s, and I can buy one now at a dealership in my town.

          Now, highwayworthy EVs are different. They’re built around lithium-ion batteries, and are cars like the Leaf and Tesla. The batteries have been around for a while, but building the economies of scale to make them affordable is a challenge and, yes, government can help kick start the market so that the capitalists and markets can do their thing.

          But, right-wing commentators don’t make these kind of rudimentary distinctions. They’re not about to let the facts get along the way of a good rant.

    • 0 avatar

      When they run a regular production car (instead of a stripped out prototype) around the track we can talk about which car is faster. Assuming you are talking about the Taycan and not all Porsche models.

    • 0 avatar

      You’ve been on the inside looking out for too long, lad, and have absorbed the mysterious Tesla fumes that turn previously sensible people into whimpering Elon acolytes.

      The Tesla that showed up at the NurburgerOnionRing was lowered so much the top of its wheels are hidden up in the fenders. There were other modifications done by some outfit or another – I read the article and saw photos on some European website and promptly forgot the hype. About as mass production as handmade chocolates from a boutique in Manhattan.

      Elon wouldn’t fight fair. He wants to constantly stand up and bray like a jackass so people don’t forget his preciousness. He’s like Boris the Bozo running Blighty. Cannot stand not being the center of attention. So he cheats, plain and simple. Childish person, that man. Why, he told the SEC where to get off, didn’t he? For a $20 million fine – there went the advertising budget. But he felt like a king for a day, so that’s all right, and all the temple followers thought he was doing just a fantastic job. Nutters. They need to return to Earth and look at things logically instead of believing a carnival barker. But the need to be conned is as strong as ever. The Teslas themselves, well, they’re not too bad – it’s Elon who’s out of his tree. If some well-known bicycle rider slammed Tesla for being inefficient, the man would challenge the bicycle to an efficiency race, he’s that far off normal, and cannot stand to be upstaged.

  • avatar

    “But Musk has previously said there would be no updates for the Model S in the foreseeable future, making us wonder why the company bothered bringing modified versions of the car to Germany. Just to test the new powertrain?”

    If Tesla announced updates for the Model S, buyers might have delayed their purchases and hurt sales (like what happened to Compaq Computer). The arrival of the Porsche Taycan, however, may have forced Tesla’s hand. Better to eat your own lunch than let your competition eat it.

  • avatar

    Tesla is the pride of US Auto industry. The Cadillac V series could also make that claim until they were neutered by GM this year.

  • avatar

    If the Taycan were priced somewhere closed to the Tesla, I’d say that Tesla was in serious trouble. Once a competitor can sell at Tesla’s prices, they will be.

  • avatar

    Don’t you guys read the news, from Germans themselves:

  • avatar

    Musk is an annoying dou¢hebag.

    That doesn’t mean he can’t make a fast electric sedan. Looks like this powertrain has solved the cooling issues, at least for 7 1/2 minutes, and the carbon-ceramics are up to the task of stopping 5000 lbs of sedan and battery repeatedly.

    If tech bros want to spend $200k to get The Fastest One, they should knock themselves out. I just wish they’d stop acting like our local public streets were the Nürburgring.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • ScarecrowRepair: That struck me too: “Kia still offers the ten-year warranty with the Telluride, which is...
  • Arthur Dailey: You just mentioned one of my current favourite TV shows.
  • bkojote: The thing with Hyundai and Kia is the corners are cut where you cannot see them. I rememeber SavageGeese did...
  • bkojote: The thing with Hyundai and Kia is the corners are cut where you cannot see them. I rememeber SavageGeese did...
  • Arthur Dailey: I would suggest that when an auto manufacturer offers a longer warranty it is because they have more...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber