Software Update Gives Teslas Quicker Acceleration and a Crazy Launch Mode

Chris Perkins
Photo credit: Chris Perkins

From Road & Track

Back in October, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that an over-the-air software update was coming to the Model S and X Performance to improve power and acceleration. That software update, v.2020.12.5, is rolling out to owners for free now via over-the-air update, with a promise of quicker, more repeatable acceleration times, and something Tesla calls "cheetah stance."

Per the v.2020.12.5 release notes, the Model S and X now lower their front suspensions and adjust their adaptive dampers when Launch Mode is activated.

Per the release notes, the update adds a new functionality to Launch Mode—when engaged, the car lowers its front suspension and adjusts its active dampers to improve traction at launch.

Tesla sent us a bit more info on what the update includes. Peak power increases by about 50 horsepower, according to what Musk said when announcing the update last year, and there's more power available above 80 mph. If you find yourself at a drag strip lined up against a Porsche Taycan Turbo S, that might come in handy.

Porsche has made a big deal of the Taycan's ability to do numerous back-to-back acceleration runs without losing performance. That requires precise management of battery and motor temperatures, as when those get too hot, performance falls off. Tesla seems to be responding to Porsche with this software update, claiming a threefold increase in powertrain thermal endurance.

Tesla also says the update makes it easier to activate Ludicrous Plus and Max Battery Power modes, as well as Launch Mode. In addition, the software update does a better job of holding the car in place when launch control is activated, so there's no lurching.

The update is rolling out over the air now for all Model S and X Performance owners, and presumably will come on all new Model S and X Performance models when production restarts at Tesla's factory.

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