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Meet and greet the first fully-modified Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S is fast to start with but that hasn’t stopped US tuner and supercar builder Saleen from revealing a modified version – and now there’s a video of it in action.

Saleen CEO Steve Saleen said in the XCar video “electric vehicles are here to stay” so the FourSixteen revealed at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is a response to that. He added that Tesla has “rewritten the rule book” when it comes to electric motoring.

The Saleen FourSixteen differs from a normal Model S in a number of ways. It’s far from a few bits and bobs here and there – Saleen said it started out improving the aerodynamics by adding a new front bumper, bonnet, rear diffuser and rear spoiler.

Saleen admits it gave the battery and battery management system a wide-berth so as to keep the range and reliability intact, but adjusted the drivetrain final gear ratio and developed what it calls a ‘max grip differential’ for making the drive more ‘spirited’.

Additional cooling in the form of new radiators and cooling fans were also added for the drivetrain as well as revised suspension for better cornering, lighter 21-inch Saleen alloys (or 22-inch if you prefer) and larger carbon ceramic brakes for stopping more quickly – ditching the standard steel anchors saving an impressive 18lbs per wheel.

The electric engine whine has been made louder. Having driven a standard Model S Performance, we can’t say the extra noise is really needed but each to their own. Inside, meanwhile, is premium leather and Alcantara on the Saleen seats and around the interior for more sporty look and feel. 

“Tesla has proven an electric car can be successful and we are here to prove an electric performance car is a very viable option,” Saleen vice president of engineering Sven Etxelberger commented. 

It is unclear exactly how much of a difference Saleen’s work has on the 0 to 62mph and handling. Given the 416hp, 600Nm Model S Performance Plus is already one hell of a handful, Saleen’s interpretation can only be more bonkers. Exaclty how much that extra fun costs, we are waiting to find out.

Scroll on down for the XCar’s interview with Saleen to hear that new electric motor noise in action.

Update: The Saleen FourSixteen costs US$152,000 (£93,500), or you can supply your own Tesla Model S and pay US$57,430 (£35,300) for the transformation.


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