Unplugged Performance has unveiled its hottest take yet on Elon’s super sedan. Behold, the Tesla Model S Dark Knight has risen.
We wouldn’t put it past Tesla to offer something as wild as this from the factory. The giveaway though is the name – ‘Dark Knight’. A true Tesla product would lean on pop culture references far more niche than that. Instead, this modified car is the fine work of Tesla tuning specialists, Unplugged Performance.
To be really specific, it’s actually a bespoke ‘Complete Vehicle package’ based on Unplugged’s S-APEX tuning kit and specified to an individual’s particular tastes. So, much of what this car contains in terms of hardware will also be present in Unplugged’s normal S-APEX offerings, but none of those will quite look like this.
So, let’s take a peek behind the mask and figure out what mods lie within this Dark Knight. The performance of a regular Tesla Model S Plaid is pretty mind-blowing, which certainly bodes well…
The Tesla Model S Plaid, which is the car that the Dark Knight is based on, rolls off the factory floor with 1020hp and 1050lb ft of torque. Unplugged Performance adds precisely *nothing* to the mix in terms of power output, which at first might seem disappointing. But then you realize that a Model S Plaid will do 0-60mph in 2 seconds flat (or less on a good day) and suddenly all is forgiven. I mean, do we even have the EV tuning technology to improve upon that yet..?
Things start to get a little more interesting when you re-adjust your focus away from the car’s powertrain, and instead look at what Unplugged has done to the rest of the package. The Dark Knight’s new look comes in the form of a 19-piece carbon fiber widebody which adds 60mm to its width. That wider track should theoretically improve the way the car handles, as will the increased downforce gained from its new ducktail spoiler. Impressively, that ducktail is constructed as part of a joint venture with Koenigsegg!
At the front, you’ll find Unplugged Performance’s ‘Autobahn’ carbon fiber diffuser. This is the first time that this piece of aero has been fitted to an S-APEX commission.
As well as aero, suspension plays another integral role in determining a car’s dynamic prowess. Handling gains appear to have been high on the top of the Dark Knight commissioner’s wish list, because Unplugged has gone to town here too.
The Dark Knight features their Sports Dynamic Lowering Kit, which lowers the car’s center of gravity not only to look cool, but also to improve the way it handles. Elsewhere, a 3-way adjustable Rear Sway Bar and GT Rear Strut Tower Brace help to reduce body-roll by stiffening up the chassis, which again will help in instances where quick changes of direction are required. On top of that, a whole host of billet aluminum adjustable control arms have been added throughout. These increase strength, reduce weight, and allow for precise alignment adjustments to the car’s front and rear toe, camber, and caster settings.
However, if you’ve got something more hardcore in mind for your bespoke S-APEX commission – like, perhaps, an all-out track car – then Unplugged Performance will offer you something even more high-end in the suspension department. See, the folks at Unplugged Performance are no strangers to running modified Teslas up Pikes Peak, and for that, they use UP x Öhlins TTX 2-way or 4-Way coilovers. If you too are planning on regularly pushing your Model S to its limits on a closed course, then Unplugged will throw in the Pikes Peak coilover setup instead.
Brakes, Wheels, and Tires
Within the Dark Knight’s cavernous arches, you’ll find lightweight UP-03 forged monoblock alloy wheels, measuring 21×10” at the front and 21×11.5” at the rear. They come wrapped in 285/30 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires on the front axle, and a set of 305/30s on the rear one.
There are carbon ceramic brake discs at all four corners of the car, giving it better resistance to brake fade, and a more consistent level of powerful braking performance. The Dark Knight is unique from other S-APEX builds in the sense that it also incorporates a carbon fiber brake ducting kit to help keep things cool.
Inside, Tesla’s controversial yoke remains in place, but it is accompanied by a bespoke interior. Unplugged Performance has co-operated with von Holzhausen to get this job done; the upholstery specialists crafting this Model S’ new cabin space from Banbū vegan leather, finished in striking Serrano red.
This plant-based material is made from bamboo, which happens to be the world’s most abundant natural resource, apparently. The finished product is also resistant to stains, scratches, and water.
How much does it cost?
Well, you weren’t expecting it to be cheap, were you? Prices for S-APEX builds start at $250,000 on Unplugged Performance’s website, so we’ll leave it up to your imagination to figure out the sort of sums a bespoke build would require.