Known for taking already powerful muscle cars like the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger and boosting their power and performance in an age-old worship of good old-fashioned horsepower, tuning house Saleen is the go-to place if you want a hand-crafted muscle car with a little something special under the hood.
But at last weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Californian tuning house unveiled a brand new, performance-oriented car for the world to see: a Saleen-tuned Tesla Model S.
Called the Saleen FourSixteen, the tuned Model S might look at first glance to be a regular Tesla Model S wearing a custom bodykit and paint job. But as Saleen explains in its official press release announcing the new custom plug-in, there are some pretty big changes to give the Saleen FourSixteen an edge on the regular Model S.
While the FourSixteen retains the 85 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack found in the original Tesla Model S 85, Saleen has tweaked both the electric motor and entire drivetrain for performance, adding a new 11.39:1 final gear ratio for faster acceleration. Coupled with a new locking differential, Saleen says the FourSixteen will be able to lay down as much power as possible out of every corner. In preparation for the expected higher demand on the motor, Saleen has added a larger radiator and cooling system for the drivetrain and power electronics, hopefully reducing the occurrences of the dreaded self-protecting power limiting mode bemoaned by every Model S owner who has ever taken their car to a track day.
Although the original Tesla Model rides particularly well for a car of its size and weight, Saleen has gone back to basics, with a completely redesigned S4 calibrated suspension, complete with sway bar and coilovers. As with any Saleen, the suspension is fully adjustable for track days to allow drivers to pick the perfect match of cornering and ride quality for any track, while Tesla’s original traction control is tweaked to allow a little more driver freedom before it kicks in.
Wheels and brakes also get the Saleen treatment, with a brand new set of 14 inch, 2-piece aluminium hat vented rotors and multi-piston front callipers ensuring the car’s increased performance is matched with increased braking too. Add on Saleen light-weight wheels and ZR-spec tires, and Saleen says the FourSixteen is ready for anything you want to throw at it.
Outside, there’s a subtly redesigned hood over the stock Tesla Model S, designed says Saleen to redirect hot air away from the drivetrain cooling system and generate more downforce on the front wheels. Like the more aggressive, redesigned front, the rear is subtly tweaked for additional aerodynamic prowess.
Inside, there’s a completely reupholstered interior, complete with performance front seats with increased lateral support, a full hand-stitched leather dash and seats, and a real centre console — something missing in the original Tesla Model S. Tesla’s trademark 17-inch centre console, as you might expect, still remains.
Saleen says you can order the Saleen FourSixteen today for a starting total price of $152,000 — which includes the base P85 Model S on which it is based. Deliveries will take between 6 and 8 weeks, depending on the specification of the car ordered, with a fully-specced FourSixteen coming in at well over $200,000.
If you already have a Tesla Model S however and you’re feeling a little jealous of the new Saleen FourSixteen however, don’t worry: Saleen says it will also offer existing Model S owners the chance to upgrade specific parts of their car as desired, with installation scheduled through is Performance Parts devision.
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