Tesla Model S Plaid Teardown Begins, Quality Control Is Improved But There Are Still Lapses, Says Engineer

In 2018, reviewer Sandy Munro tore apart a Tesla Model 3 — both literally and figuratively. As he dissected the car, he let slip of such gems as car having “gaps you can see from Mars” and likened Tesla’s build quality to Kia of the 90s (in case you weren’t around back then, that’s far from a compliment).

But today, four years later, Munro appears to have changed his tune. Granted, the comparison is between a Model S Plaid, the top-of-the-line offering from the American EV manufacturer, and what was an early run of their cheapest offering, the Model 3.

And it’s not the first time Munro has shown a more positive approach to Teslas, He has previously discussed issues with CEO Elon Musk early last year, and rated the relative newcomer’s autonomous tech as better than Ford’s BlueCruise.  There’s also the minor revelation that not only did Munro hold Tesla stock, but he made money off of it, something he admitted to on a podcast in 2021.

But even if some of the praise should be taken with a grain of salt, the signs look good for the Model S Plaid. While the teardown is not yet completed, Munroe’s appreciation of the Model S is more than just what’s under the surface. Although many are criticizing the safety of Tesla’s autonomous functions, Munro commends the ADAS system for saving him from rear-ending another car when he was distracted.

Watch: Watch Elon Musk Talking Openly With Sandy Munro About Tesla’s Quality Control Issues

While examining the structure under the frunk, he comments that everything appears to have been engineered rather than just thrown together. The clips and trim are all easy to remove and don’t fall apart — unlike what was witnessed with the Model Y.

However, the Model S Plaid in question featured a spacer applied to one fender and not the other. Munro notes such alignment issues are common with cars constructed using aluminum pressed panels. Tesla is still a low-volume manufacturer, but when it comes to higher rates of production, these issues can spiral.

Other minuses noticed with the Model S mainly pertain to the rear-seat experience. The seat squab itself was at a poor angle, and the backrests caused backache, in stark contrast to the front seats which are among the best in the world, according to Munro. Another annoyance included a rear window seal that just didn’t fit properly, adding an excessive amount of wind noise.

But Munroe’s viewpoint seems to be that the latest Model S is a massive improvement from other Tesla models that were examined. The full teardown is in progress, and we look forward to seeing what else the team at Munro Live finds.

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