In the world of custom-built cars and performance tweaking, it’s impossible to mention german brand Mercedes-Benz without also mentioning AMG, the prestigious tuning house that has turned out some really beautiful and stunning one-off cars, as well as high-end production versions of everyday models.
A little-known company from Hawthorne California seeks to reproduce the relationship between AMG and Mercedes-Benz by becoming the go-to tuning house for all things Tesla. What’s more, Unplugged Performance is heading to the world-famous 2014 Speciality Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show this week with its all-new Tesla Model S, complete with redesigned front fascia and tailgate package, BBS-branded 21 inch custom wheels, and of course, a completely re-trimmed interior.
The company, which has a lofty goal of becoming the “AMG of Tesla” is sure to emphasise its hard work put into its SEMA show car in its official press release. Aside from the specially redesigned nose cone — something Unplugged Performance will sell you as part of a $4,995+ ‘front fascia kit’ for your own car — the entire interior has been trimmed in Alcantara trim with custom stitching, while custom floor mats made from Rolls Royce carpet and Ferrari leather detailing finishes the look.
While there’s no change on the vehicle’s drivetrain, Unplugged Performance says the show car is fitted with custom prototype suspension components and its own uprated sports brakes, something it says will improve driving dynamics. It also claims the various updated body panels helps aerodynamics, although it isn’t clear if this refers to improving energy efficiency, or track-day grip. Given its aggressive looks and performance-oriented design, we’d assume the latter.
At the moment, Unplugged Performance is just one year old, having officially unveiled its first Tesla product back in spring this year. But, says co-founder Ben Schaffer, the company is hopeful that it is building products that would be suitable for any Tesla store.
“In current form the vehicle illustrates a direction of things to come from Unplugged,” he said in an official press release. “We created this car to shatter any preconceived notions of what a Model S should look like or feel like.”
“We set out to take the high performance nature of the Model S and to elevate it to something much more special,” he continued. “We feel it is important to enhance the already great DNA that resides within every Tesla and so we work with it rather than try to change the car’s already great character. As Unplugged continues its journey towards becoming the ‘AMG of Tesla’, this vehicle is an important step towards a complete car that we feel would be suitable for Tesla showrooms.”
Interestingly, Unplugged Performance claims itself to be the first tuning house in the world exclusively focused on Tesla vehicles, but it’s worth noting that its SEMA car is by far the first customized Tesla Model S we’ve seen, with plenty of other contenders already established and in the marketplace.
Ultimately, that’s the biggest challenge for Unplugged Performance. With so many tuning houses already offering body kits and aftermarket mods for the Tesla Model S, its lofty goals are going to be particularly tough to achieve, especially with powerhouses like Saleen already building and selling performance-built Model S cars.
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