How would you improve the looks of the Model S? (If you would at all.)

How would you improve the looks of the Model S? (If you would at all.)

I've had a couple of people commenting to me that the Tesla Model S, while not a bad looking car, sure wouldn't win any beauty contests either. (Their opinion, not mine, by the way.)

But what is it that you would change on the car's exterior to make it look (even) better?
Is it the glossy nose cone? Or is the shape of the rear lights to ordinary for you?
Maybe you would prefer less chrome on the car? Or do those finger print attracting door handles annoy endlessly?

I understand that some (many?) of you wouldn't change a thing, but that doesn't make for an interesting list ;-)
So... I'm curious to hear which parts of the exterior you would change to make it even prettier (if possible).

J.T. | September 2, 2013

The thing that is definitely ruining the exterior beauty is the reflection of some a**hole who doesn't think the car is incredibly sleek and sohisticated.

AmpedRealtor | September 2, 2013

I've never had anyone say that about my Model S. People run out of the stores and practically jump out of their cars and drive-thru windows to check it out. I've only received compliments and I am 99% thrilled with everything about the vehicle. The remaining 1% has to do with wanting amber turn signals, so that is the only thing I would change.

chrisdl | September 2, 2013

jtodtman: ROFL!

KOL2000 | September 2, 2013

Ability to keep the suspension on LOW all the time!!!! Looks great sitting low.

DJung | September 2, 2013

someone said that the Model S looked too much like a Kia Optima. I gasped

AmpedRealtor | September 2, 2013

@ DonaldMissingP - nah, Model S is much more similar to the Ford Fusion :)

David70 | September 2, 2013

Of any that have commented on the looks, all comments have been very positive.

DouglasR | September 2, 2013

An antenna with a little fox tail, or maybe some fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror? And chrome exhaust pipes!

Alex K | September 2, 2013

Many people have commented that they feel the nose cone looks out of place. Someone at the forum has posted some pictures of their nose cone that was partially painted the body color. It looks really nice in the dark green. This may be something to consider as an aftermarket or factory enhancement: Painted Nose Cone - Looks Great (IMO)

Bubba2000 | September 2, 2013

Personally I would not change a thing. Tesla needs to focus on the essentials. Get the economies of scale by limiting options, colors, etc. That is what Henry Ford did with the Model T.

carlk | September 2, 2013

The only weak point of the MS, imo, is the nose cone. The black plastic looks downright cheap if you look close. Fortunately most people don't notice it too much. Carbon fiber, black or body color painted metal, brushed alumina.... there are many ways to make it look more like a high end car it is.

carolinagobo | September 2, 2013

I have a Jaguar XF black and I ordered my MS black, they share the same rear design, but I like better, the red back lights, the clear cover in the model S os not that beautiful to me, but is ok. I wish I could order a different color to make the difference with my XF but the nose is too ugly and the best color which hide it is black. Every review of the car make a comment about how bad was the MS nose, it looks cheap, as soon as the versions aftermarket are available, I will jump for one. I love the car and the technology, but the nose is horrible.

CalabasasKid | September 2, 2013

Adding the CF rear spoiler for those who didn't order their car with it is the simplest way to add great looks to an already impressive looking machine. For those who haven't done so, I highly recommend it especially for darker colored vehicles (mine is grey). The CF material blends In so well I just got my hands on a shiny older version and I plain love it.

I have to agree that the weakest element of the exterior design is the nose cone. I just love the front end design of the earlier prototypes. They have a very Maserati feel to them.

thranx | September 2, 2013

Somewhere I saw that an owner (in Florida, I believe) had wrapped the entire car in a dark Xpel Ultimate...the front end, all the chrome, everything...resulting in a "stealth" version. Extremely cool, but not for everyone.

michael1800 | September 2, 2013

There's not too much I'd change. Maybe tighter body panels (gaps are relatively large) would look better, but I'm happy as-is. The nose can be a polarizing item. I like it, but it took awhile to grow on me. TBH I consider one of the car's distinguishing factors, for better or worse (better for me).

I'm not a fan of all the chrome trim though. The first thing after the window tint I did was blacken the rear, nose and window trim. The car still looks normal, just less blingy (and it's not 'murdered out' as folks say on car forums).

NoMoGas | September 2, 2013

Rear shelf with 3d model of V12 ICE from an Lambo just to keep them guessing...

mjs | September 2, 2013

Mine would look better with another one sitting next to it.

cwmenne | September 2, 2013

I agree the nose cone is the one major miss on the MS. I had mine wrapped in a matte black vinyl and think it looks way better. Gets rid of that cheap plastic look. I think it could use a little less chrome too, and the black plastic at the bottom of the car should be body colored as well. BMW always seems to start a new model design that way too and make it body color the last year or two before a redesign. Otherwise, I really like the look.

RedShift | September 2, 2013

The nose cone. The chrome oval I have mine blacked out, mostly. Got compliments from the Tesla delivery guys when at the Supercharger today. They also told me they are experimenting with various black-out trims on a tester.

Standby to add black-metal option to your car, just like BMW allows you to do on their sport packs.

JOED | September 2, 2013

I have my ms 60 for 3 weeks now. There is not a day that has gone by where someone has not made a positive comment. People knock on the window. Roll down windows at stop lights. It's truly amazing! I have owned lots of cars in recent years corvettes mercedes s and sl ! The only frown I get is from BMW and mercedes drivers when' they give me that' Oh sh#%# look ! This is the best car I have ever owned ( and its number 35)

But if I could I would like to see the tail lights look better in daylight,

TikiMan | September 2, 2013

Here is what I did to my nose-cone...

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JOED | September 2, 2013

Tikiman. How did you do that looks pretty nice

ramtaz | September 2, 2013

Very NIce!

SUN 2 DRV | September 2, 2013

- Nosecone is the least inspired element of the Model S.

- Definitely need a 19" Turbine wheel options (New Cyclone wheels are better but still not as nice as the Turbines)

- Several new deeper and richer paint colors could improve the look a LOT. The Brown is the only current color that has any significant depth. The Red is attention getting but pretty flat, even the Ford Red is deeper and richer. Mercedes has several light and medium grey metalics that are quite nice. Or how about a blue-grey or grey-green metalic? Or how about even just a rich dark blue (not blue-black-purple)

The Model S could be an even more stellar looking car with a little more attention to aesthetic details.

KendallPB | September 2, 2013

Wow, talking about damning with faint praise. I've only ever gotten enthusiastic comments--or none--about the looks, but if I get none then it's been because the person knows what a Tesla is and is interested in talking about the EV-ness of it, i.e., feature X (EV) distracts them from feature Y (how it looks) I don't read much into it

I'm not crazy about the nose, but it's grown on me. I really liked the painted nose pic I saw recently over at!

TikiMan | September 2, 2013



I used a 2D faux carbon-fiber print vinyl wrap. I never worked with vinyl-wrap before, and it was a bit difficult and time consuming, however, there are a lot of good DIY videos on YouTube about it.

jbunn | September 2, 2013

It's the silver trim around the nose cone. Makes the car look like a catfish from the front. It's also too tall. Would have preferred a bit shorter nose cone. All in all it is probably the worst miss on the car. I hate to say it, but Ford did a better job on theirs.

tomkist | September 3, 2013

I will second @jbunn. The front of the car does look like a catfish gulping air.

pebell | September 3, 2013

@TikiMan: I'm impressed! That looks brilliant!

@jbunn et. al: for me as well, the shiny nose cone with chrome trim is the only "miss" on the exterior - other than that, the entire design is flawless.

But that part of the car looks uninspired, cheap-ish and "beta" - like they never got around to making a definitive design for it that matches the level of sophistication of the rest of the car's design.

chrisdl | September 4, 2013

So far, I've collected the following changes we'd like to see for the Model S's exterior:

12x nose job
2x tail lights (red or nicer)
2x replace chrome trim
1x amber turn signals
1x permanent suspension low setting
1x tighter body panels
1x painted lower body parts
1x smaller turbine wheels
1x more paint colors (deeper/richer)
1x a**hole reflection deflector
1x antenna with a fox tail
1x fuzzy dice for rear view mirror
1x V12 engine print on parcel shelf

It's seems that there's a pattern forming here.
In my opinion, the nose cone is definitely not improving the looks of this otherwise fine looking machine either.

ddruz | September 4, 2013

I LIKE the nosecone.

I bet there are a lot more people who also like it that are intimidated to speak up now that this thread has totally blasted it.

But I would prefer a better license plate integration.

chrisdl | September 4, 2013

Well, to be honest, I did specifically asked for things people would like to see changed. I did not ask for things which they would want to keep the same, because that would be an endless list.

Like you, I'm confident that there are a lot of people who like the looks just as they are. Looks and beauty are a very personal thing, to start with. Also, I definitely do not want a discussion about whether a certain part of the car looks good or not, for the same reason as I just mentioned. So far, this thread has held up to that nicely.

As we all know, everything changes. It is even the landmark of an innovative company. Tesla is likely thinking about and testing different changes to the look of our beloved Model S as I write this. Some changes we might not like, some we might embrace. In fact, the looks have already been altered since the car was launched (matte spoiler, other wheel choices, amber turn signals in Europe). There's more to come, of that I'm sure.

The idea was to see if there are other people who would like the looks to improve over time and, more specifically, which changes they would prefer.

MandL | September 4, 2013

From the factory, it was gorgeous, now the one thing that looks bad on my Model S is the curb rash on the wheels. So I would say, install something like alloy gators by default or pick a tire / wheel combo that doesn't expose the wheel as much.

EVMD | September 4, 2013

The nosecone was blasted because is ugly and looks cheap for an awesome machine like MS.

Dwdnjck@ca | September 4, 2013

I like the chrome accents on my MC red S so I chromed the 19 inch wheels to match.

tomtesla85P | September 4, 2013

Check out and look at the gallery for options

JOED | September 4, 2013

Dwdnjck ..... Great idea about caroming the wheels. I m 3weeks into my red beauty and I love the chrome trim
Can u send a pix of the car with chrome wheels
Thanks. And any info about where how much etc

SUN 2 DRV | September 4, 2013

ddruz: You have a good point that part of the problem with the nosecone is the poor integration with the US style license plate holder.

I was pleasantly surprised that the European license plate holder makes the nosecone look much better. Being wider but less tall, the EU license holder fits the nosecone proportions better, fits within the nosecone and doesn't overlap the bottom edge and visually breaks up that vast expanse of black plastic.

Here's an example:
Although this Model S also looks better due to awesome the Sig Red color.

mdemetri | September 4, 2013

I also like the nosecone. When I first saw it I was not impressed, but it has grown on me and I would not change it now.

Captain_Zap | September 4, 2013

I like the nosecone that was on the Signatures. It matched the lines of the car better. I don't care for the newer nose cone as much.

Amber turn signals would be great.

I would have liked turbine 19" wheels out of the gate. I'm still waiting for them to arrive.

If you talk about chrome or no-chrome it really depends on the color of the car. It works great on some colors but not others. Some wouldn't look right without it.

I had a P85+ for the weekend with a matte carbon fiber spoiler and the spoiler looked out of place against a glossy black car. The car had a black interior too. The black interior doesn't show off the design lines of the car interior. I would definitely get contrasting interior colors in my next car too. The P85+ was a nice driver for summer fun in any case.

Isn't it great to be able to order a semi-custom car just the way you want it instead of settling for a not-quite-right speculative car that was bundled with packaged options before it hit a dealer's lot?

bbryant | September 5, 2013

How about a wind up key for the back deck, one that rotates slowly?

TikiMan | September 5, 2013

I think the biggest issue with the nose-cone is due to the fact that we have grown so accustom to seeing the front of a car like the MS in reverse (i.e. an intake for air-flow). If you were to picture the MS's nose-cone in reverse, with a grill, we would all find it far more attractive.

For example...

Now, if we looked at the Maserati GT with a protruded plastic bubble (nose-cone), like with the MS, it would look a lot less attractive in our opinions. The MS needs the nose-cone to produce better aerodynamics, to achieve it's amazing low drag-coefficiency. It otherwise doesn't need the large air-intake to both cool, and give oxygen to the combustion chamber.

Again, it's another aspect of design that will soon be the norm.

EVMD | September 5, 2013

Like Porsche is fine, it does not have to be ugly

BYT | September 5, 2013

+1 nose job
+1 tail lights (red or nicer)
+1 replace chrome trim
+1 amber rear turn signals
-1 permanent suspension low setting (this will scrape many curbs)
+1 tighter body panels
+1 painted lower body parts (or see below)
+1 more paint colors (deeper/richer)

Carbon Fiber Skirts!

SUN 2 DRV | September 5, 2013

"I think the biggest issue with the nose-cone is due to the fact that we have grown so accustom to seeing the front of a car like the MS in reverse (i.e. an intake for air-flow)."

Tiki: Yes I agree...

Additionally I think it just doesn't look right because although it projects forward for good aerodynamic reasons, the contrasting black color makes it seem as though it's mimicking a hollow opening. It visually violates Form following Function. It visually looks hollow but actually protrudes.

I don't mind the protruding nose cone, but instead of looking aerodynamically sleek and part of the overall lines of the car, it just looks totally out of place due to it's contrasting black color and the weak attempt to look like a totally out of place grille. Instead of being a proud nose, they painted it black to try to minimize or hide it.

It just looks like a rushed and incomplete after thought. Ooops we gotta cover that space with SOMETHING, let's make it shiny black plastic and hope no one will notice.

BYT | September 5, 2013

I plan on wrapping my nose with Pearl White or CF

SUN 2 DRV | September 5, 2013

BYT: We'd love to see the result. Please post pictures when you do that.

lbjack | September 5, 2013

The nose cone has been a deal-breaker for me. For some reason it doesn't seem so objectionable on the MX. But now I don't care. My only hesitation is whether to wait for the MX or go ahead with the MS. I drive an SUV and think I'll miss the higher ride.

Brian H | September 5, 2013

"caroming the wheels" sounds dangerous!

TikiMan | September 5, 2013

@joe, Thus part of the reason why I choose a black MS. I do agree, it would be better in the future if Tesla could offer the nose-cone to match the paint, or maybe one made of carbon-fiber. I guess all in time.

Either way, I am sure someone will offer an aftermarket variation soon.