Colour-coded 'grille' on Model S

Colour-coded 'grille' on Model S

For me it is a pity (in some ways) that the Model S was designed so conventionally - although I understand the desire to not 'frighten the horses'!

It certainly looks a beautiful car (sadly I have not seen it in the flesh) but I can't help feeling that, as the 'grille' is not really needed, it could have been 'blended' into the bodywork more.

Has anyone colour-coded their 'grille' to match the car colour - is this available from Tesla anyway? If someone has done this, can they post a picture (not of a black car as the effect is sort of disguised.... I think a red car with a matching grille would look the dog's b........s!

I recall that years ago an Aston Martin Vantage came out with the grille blanked off and the panel painted to match the car (aerodynamics?)

cfOH | 22 luglio 2013

Quick and dirty (apologies), but it doesn't really appeal to me:

cfOH | 22 luglio 2013

Also, there's a whopping huge radiator behind the front nosecone, so you can't make it solid without having to do some reengineering of the heat management systems.

jackhub | 22 luglio 2013

I rather like the 'air scoop' appearance of my model S. It gives a sense of wind speeding through as well as around the car, somewhat like a jet. It also suggests there is nothing behind it, EG an ICE!

tobi_ger | 22 luglio 2013

It's supposed to suck in BMWs, Daimlers etc. and have them for lunch.

GuyDormehl | 22 luglio 2013

Hmmm cfOH - interesting and quick!

I think we have all been 'conditioned' to expect a grille/radiator at the front of most cars but I can't imagine in a few years when EVs are common and the design language has moved on that we won't get accustomed to 'blank' noses. Indeed further streamlining without the grille requirements will produce far more rounded and luscious noses - like streamlined 'pods'!

Personally I think this look is open to more design freedom and, strange as it now looks, I believe that a colour-coded 'grille' on a Model S would look OK in real life and may grow on one with time. Already the 'shock' of cfOH's 'mock-up' is waning (and looking better..)

As I understand it, there is a blank plastic panel in the 'grille' so, if that is the case, spraying it would not alter any airflow and would require no further modifications.

We have far to go along this new path and in the future conventional cars will look so 'old-fashioned'!

PS Already in under an hour cfOH's mock-up is feeling 'righter' - and more appropriate.

cfOH | 22 luglio 2013

Regarding futuristic, non-ICE designs, I was deeply saddened when Aptera folded its plans. That was an amazing design:

dirkhh | 22 luglio 2013

I think Tesla went the much smarter route. The Model S looks like a luxury sporty limousine. Maserati or Porsche or Jaguar. This thing looks like a plane with the wings cut off.
It's hard enough to overcome the fear that people have already (range, safety, reliability, etc). Adding an over the top design to it would have made the task of selling the car so much harder.
I for one would never have bought the model S had it looked like the Aptera.

SamO | 22 luglio 2013

Not a limo with such a low roof in the rear. That's the one thing that it fails in design.

I'm just under 6' and my hair is brushing the roof with pano adding the inches.

I'm interested to sit in a solid roof.

Xerogas | 22 luglio 2013

The grille is absolutely needed. The battery needs cooling, albeit only needing a smaller grille than a conventional car.

nickjhowe | 22 luglio 2013

@SamoSam - I'm 6' and have a solid roof in my S. I have no problems at all with headroom.

SamO | 22 luglio 2013


I've been told I have a long torso.

Kidding aside, a towncar allows someone taller (6-3" and above) to sit comfortably. Model S, not so much.

SamO | 22 luglio 2013

The center seat, which used to be the pits, is now the roomiest. Glad the engine can be in the rear close to the wheels it's powering. | 22 luglio 2013

GuyDormehl - do you realize the images you are looking at is the prototype from 2009? While not wildly different, the current design is different. See the Tesla Gallery for shots of the current car:

Like most cars, pictures often do not do it justice. You really should see it in person and get a test drive.

I've seen one car with the front black part with a carbon fiber wrap that also looks quite good. I think those that attempted body color matching have not been all that satisfied.

markapeterman | 22 luglio 2013
DigitalSavant | 22 luglio 2013

What about fighter plane "shark teeth"? Might look good with dolphin gray. :)

cfOH | 22 luglio 2013

With little piston silhouettes on the front fender like P-51 Mustangs used to have swastikas?

GeekEV | 22 luglio 2013

@DigitalSavant - I've had similar thoughts! Though I was thinking buck teeth with some of those eyelashes too! LOL


petero | 22 luglio 2013

GuyD. Several months ago I sent a suggestion to George Blankenship to consider using a different material in lieu of the black plastic ‘nose cone.’ The Endura Bumper! In 1968 Pontiac used the Endura bumper on their GTO, coincidentally the GTO was Motor Trends Car of the Year! Peruse the You Tube link, it says it all, and can be the same color as the car’s body.

DigitalSavant | 22 luglio 2013

@GeekEV - LMAO! Now you're talkin'!

cwmenne | 22 luglio 2013

I've been thinking about doing a vinyl wrap on my nose cone, in maybe a dark gray matte finish on my red MS. I agree, the cheap looking black plastic isn't very good. It's the one thing that I think is a huge lost opportunity with this otherwise perfect car.

DigitalSavant | 22 luglio 2013

@cfOH - yeah, now there's one you should do a graphic mock-up of! Wouldn't be surprised a bit to see a custom job like that rolling around some time.

CalabasasKid | 22 luglio 2013

I far more prefer the front end on the MS prototype. It looks so clean and Maserati-like.
Does anyone agree?
I would love to see if a retro-fit would be possible.

GuyDormehl | 23 luglio 2013

Having started this thread, I have been re-assessing the topic and I now feel that the beautiful Model S is actually let down by that fake, glossy, black is certainly the 'weakest' point of an otherwise magic design.

It is understandable why Tesla opted for that presentation initially but now that the car has received such acclaim and is 'selling itself', maybe Tesla could be braver.

Perhaps the current grille could continue as the standard fitment but options could be offered - if not by Tesla, by custom shops and accessory companies.

Colour-coded; matt black/dk gray; carbon fibre (?); extreme (the shark teeth/arthouse designs/graphics/etc)

In fact a design statement can be made with the grille.........

And later designs may dispense with 'grilles' altogether! A new EV design language is needed!

Brian H | 23 luglio 2013

Silvered mirror?

TikiMan | 23 luglio 2013

That's part of the reason I chose black.

Brian H | 23 luglio 2013

You matched the car to the nose cone? Tesla design will be mortified. ;p

2050project | 26 luglio 2013

Not much info on it yet, but, a new grille option is in the works from the crew (created the CCI), some prelim info here:

Babyrocket | 26 luglio 2013

How about a cool chrome slotted grill behind a transparent/clear cover?

GuyDormehl | 26 luglio 2013

Hmmm Babyrocket - that feels a bit ICE-age in drag to me.

Don't think the MS needs 'blinging' - it is nicely understated!