2016 Tesla Model S gets first styling update since launch


Tesla Motors' [NSDQ:TSLA] Model 3 electric sedan has been dominating the internet for the past couple of weeks, what with more than 300,000 early adopters putting down deposits for a car that they won't be able to get for about two years.

But there is a Tesla sedan that people can buy right now. It's the Model S, and Tesla has just announced the car's first styling update since it was released in June 2012.

Model S sedans produced starting today will have a new front-end design. The oval "grille" of the earlier Model S is gone. After all, there is no engine under the hood to cool. The headlights and smooth front panel design resembles that of the Model X crossover SUV and the smaller Model 3.

That means the 2016 model lineup will be split, with the first cars featuring the original design and the new models sporting a different face.

DON'T MISS: Tesla Model 3 first ride

But those aren't all the changes. Tesla is also upgrading the onboard charger from 40 to 48 amps, which will result in faster charging times where higher-amperage charging stations are available.

Inside, Tesla is adding the HEPA air-filtration system introduced on the Model X as an option and offering two new choices of interior trim: Dark Ash Wood Décor or Figured Ash Wood Décor.

It should be noted that these hardware changes are separate from the software updates that Tesla periodically sends out over the air to owners who give permission for the new features.

An article on CNet last week suggested that the Model S would adopt the front seats from the Model X, but that was not mentioned in today's announcement. Rumors of a 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack also haven't been proven correct.

It appears that the changes come with a price increase. We configured a base rear-wheel-drive Model S with the 70-kwh battery pack on Tesla's website, and it showed a base price of $72,700, including destination. That is a $1,500 increase over last week's pricing.

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