Model S Body Re-Design Tragedy

Model S Body Re-Design Tragedy

Hi All,

There's probably a thread on this subject already but couldn't find it - sorry.

Just wanted to say how sorry and disappointed I am to find an entirely re-designed version of the Model S appearing in the "Alpha Hits the Road" video. All the changes are in the finer details and proportions, but the subtle and elegant lines of the prototype (seen in the Gallery section) have been replaced with a very angular and conventional revision that - to me - makes the Model S look like a hatch-back Lexus. Fairly dull and obvious, instead of the nuanced and understated elegance that it was. I know that a certain amount of pragmatism and design-by-committee needed to take place for production, but for me at least the car has lost almost 50% of the arresting and mysterious curb-appeal it once had. Would love to see it return to it's rounder lines and proportions. Mark

michiganmodels | 25. januar 2011

Mark -

There is a thread regarding this. After speaking with Tesla representatives, the Model S will go through various revisions between Alpha, Beta, and Production. Hang tight until (at the very earliest) the beta version.

Markus Aurelius | 25. januar 2011

Thanks Michiganmodels...

Don't mean to be a design-nazi. I was just deeply encouraged by the initial green-lighting of a fresh and edgy high-end design. It would spell a bright future for Tesla to break with industry-practice and let the shimmering auto-show concept car live to see the road for a change.

Thanks for the encouragement and advice.

Do you happen to know the name of the pertinent thread you mentioned?


qwk | 25. januar 2011

If you look at side by side pics of both the prototype and the alpha, there is not really that much difference.

Some things had to be changed because the prototype was based on a mercedes chassis. Some had to be changed because of Federal regulations.

It's really not the end of the world.

Ramon123 | 25. januar 2011

I'm afraid that Markus is mistaken in his belief that looks are not in the eye of the beholder. They most certainly are and
I was about to post a comment that the new design completely cleans up and makes far better looking the grill. The
other (slight) changes didn't make any difference to me, but the car sure looks better from the front. Of course, the next year's model may alter a few things, so if the changes mean that much, I'd advise you to wait before buying. Or, simply make the changes yourself - these are, after all, merely styling details. I did the same thing with the Pontiac Solstice, when they chromed the
rear cockpit surround instead of painting it to match the rest of the body. Had I bought the Saturn Sky instead, I would have done the same to the tailight lens surrounding trim. Of course, while I like the styling of the S, it's the mechanical design that so impressed me when I first saw it on the recent videos. That sold me, more so than the styling. It is what you and I would call an intelligently designed vehicle.

Volker.Berlin | 26. januar 2011
jsanok | 25. januar 2011

I seriously doubt that they dare release that drab version. Remember, this is a 50K+ car. We engineering eco-conscious geeks might buy it for those merits alone. The general public are going to park it next to a 5 series B-mer and choose the better looking car. It needs to scream "status" not Hyundai.

Filipe Portugal | 26. januar 2011

Hello to all

Im just going to putt my opinion here about the new look...they made the model S more beautiful, the first look ( that i liked and made me set the deposit ) is to curve, the alpha is an sexy and agressive car that makes heads spin, but also very exquisite and well-made...dont agree with the compar Marcus does, noting to do like the lexus, but lines like the jaguar XF (the back will make ppl think that, but with one smal detail, no smok pipes) wish my inglês let me express my self beter, but one more thing , the beta version seeing the work they are doing , im not worry to know how it will look, with the team they have, its going to be even beter. Thxs

Michael S | 22. kan 2011

The new front end sucks. 'nuff said. . .

masterxmac | 17. juni 2011

Mark is right,

The changed design is sad, from the nose to body to the tail. Anybody that posts that the design is being tweaked is full if it. The body panels are stamped, this is the car!

The might tweak the plastic grill a bit here and there - maybe - but this is the car.

I really don't know what happened, that awesome prototype was changed to this? I will never understand why.

For people who say the new design is better - you're wrong - you can kiss your carer as an industrial designer goodbye, you have no eye. You may prefer the new design over the old, but you are still wrong.

The old design was hit out of the park, the new design is a single. I don't have the time to explain all problems of the new design besides to say tesla was not keen enough to understand what it was sitting on with the old model s design, and that should set off alarm bells about this company. A car company that does understand what sells cars when they are staring at it.

Scary days ahead indeed...

Thumper | 18. juni 2011

I agree with qwk. It is almost exactly the same from proto to alpha with some minor changes to the front. To my taste only the full plastic nose cone and the bright mesh grill look bad. All other versions are fine.

Tim10 | 18. juni 2011

Looks are subjective, its to bad that you do not like the Alpha. Personally I much prefer the alpha to the prototype. The front just never fit with the rest of the car on the prototype IMO.

Mittar | 18. juni 2011

@masterxmac... no you. Seriously, we're wrong because we like the direction Tesla went with the Alpha? We all agree about the grill, but I rather like the rest of it. If you don't like it so much, don't buy it, it doesn't seem to deter the rest of us.

David M. | 19. juni 2011

Well, at least the logo is still in the grill and not on the hood. However, I don't understand the bright chrome outline around the entire grill. It begs for too much attention. Like a kid with shiny new braces?!?

Douglas3 | 19. juni 2011

If you look at the Alpha pictures, which are not all the same car, some of them seem to have thinner chrome around the lower part, and thicker on the hood part. Others are thick all the way 'round.

I really like the look with the thinner chrome on the lower section.

msiano17 | 19. juni 2011


I fully agree, the Proto was nice but the rounded nose just didn't seem to fit. I prefer the alpha now over prototype, but I still am looking forward to see what changes are made to the Beta.

David M. | 20. juni 2011

Go look at the grille of any 2011 Buick sedan. Then come back and look at the Model S Alpha grille. Shape of grille is not quite the same, but all that chrome on the perimeter screams BUICK.

rd2 | 20. juni 2011

I think people are freaking out a bit much here. Buick? Are you kidding me? The debut model had some shortcomings in the front and sides, and they've rectified most of that. The new alpha pics are amazing, and the lines are as clean as before, with even more sophistication and aggression to compete with the 5 series and Merc's. The grill is still a work in progress, I think, but I like the new front vents and accents. It was, and is, a gorgeous and head-turning vehicle. But pics won't ever do it justice - you have to see in person to appreciate it.

scoosba | 20. juni 2011

I prefer the new black alpha front end over the original. I thought the original wasn't as aggressive looking. The latest pics just look like the model s has been working out lately.

ckessel | 20. juni 2011

"The latest pics just look like the model s has been working out lately."

That's exactly what a bunch of us don't like about the new look. I wanted the prototype sleek look, not the "ripped abs" look.

msiano17 | 20. juni 2011

I am with you rd2.

And every sleek luxury sport car out now has that 'ripped' look still in some way or another. Aston, Jag, BMW, Merc, Lexus all are very sleek looking cars, but all have an aggressiveness to them also. It is why they are appealing to so many. Even the new Buicks look bulked up a bit. Here's the thing, as rd2 said, it is a work in progress... just wait and see. If you don't like it, no worry they may redesign it in 6-8 years most likely.

David M. | 23. juni 2011

Yeah, I was a little harsh with the Buick comment, but Tesla did widen up the chrome around the perimeter. Not sure why they wanted to do that. Everything else looks super awesome! Even down to those awesome wheels. Love those wheels!

I cannot wait to see the final interior. I've been waiting a year to check that out. We should be seeing more interior pictures in a couple of months since now we are just under a year to production (by my estimation).

Slindell | 23. juni 2011

I think the body looks great, but I agree with many others that the "bucktooth" grill is out of place.

Get rid of the chrome, and put the "T" back on the hood, like on

Volker.Berlin | 23. juni 2011

Objection, your Honor. The T belongs into the grille.

William13 | 23. juni 2011

T on the grill.

David M. | 23. juni 2011

Also object to the comment from slindell. T looks much better in the grille. Much more class! Most luxury cars have the emblem in the grille.

Slindell | 23. juni 2011

Hmm, to each their own.

Why is there a grill at all? The Porsche Panamera (to which the Model S resembles quite a bit) doesn't have a grill, and the Porsche has an ICE it needs to air-cool.

David M. | 24. juni 2011

That's a really nice sports car. The Porsche looks good with no grille. If I weren't buying a Model S, I might have considered that. Funny, the Model S acceleration is still better than this sports car, even though its bigger and heavier.

Apples and Oranges, cause you are comparing body design on a luxury sedan to a performance sports car.

Tho, thanks for the link.

rd2 | 24. juni 2011

I actually agree with Slindell a little here. I think the 'T' looks pretty sweet on the hood. Kinda completes what is otherwise a completely bare hood. And it reminds me even more of the Aston Martin, from which it seems the Tesla designers based some of their design:

Roblab | 27. juni 2011

Regardless of where they put the "T", the front end is a direct response to the requirements of 3 large radiators and the height requirements of the bumper. The S has to air condition the water of the battery pack, and heat and cool the interior, and cool the motor and electronics. There is no place to put the radiators in the first iteration (Mercedes frame) and the need to cool the S has nothing to do with some other car's front end.

If you had never seen the S before the final car (and millions won't have), you would think one of two things.
1. I like the looks
2. I like the range, power, abilities, quiet, the electric motor, etc. etc.

This is probably over simplified, but from what I see, well over half have no idea how gas makes the wheels go around, and buy based on cost and on what their father or boyfriend or the guy at the gym says.

Personally, I would have bought anything that would get me out of the gas station for over 150 miles.

Mark2131@CA-US | 27. juni 2011

Glad to see that the "T" is off the hood!

Latest pix are headed in the right direction, but STILL not as hot as the original.


OConnor | 29. juni 2011

Markus, I go in line. You found the right words. I would love to see the Model S going into production while looking exactly like the white prototype. That looked wonderful. It's only subtle changes but the expression changed a lot. Who knows what made them change it. It's still a nice car and, the perception of design characteristica varies widely as you can see by the comments. I for instance liked the blue light bands in the front of the prototype. Not everybody liked that, I guess. They provided a pure futuristic accent to this car. And that fits in line with what the car stands for: The car of the (near) future. A wide step towards a better future because Tesla is giving us tools to carve it into that. They just popped into existence and said: it's possible! We can do it. There will be cars that run entirely on electricity and they will be beautiful to drive and to look at and they will be everything good you expect from a car and more. Thank you Mr. Musk and Mr. Rawlinson and thank you all, Tesla executives and employees for making a dream come true. You give us a tool to mold a brighter future. And what a beautiful tool! Of course, it's not only about driving environmentally friendly cars. It's about turning away from using nuclear energy and burning fossil recources. It's about caring about the waste every single one of us is responsible for. It's about stopping to poison the air, water and soil. It's about caring for the animals and plants we share this planet with. It's about care and responsibility. It's about a change of attitude. Tesla shows us it can be done. Tesla is one of a few companies that lead the way. I hope I will be able to save enough money to drive on that road in my own Model S one day. No other car is interesting anymore.

Designtime | 29. juni 2011

Count me as another person disappointed to see the departure from the prototype. It was daring and distinctive.

I would describe the alpha as handsome.