The original Tesla Roadster put the all-electric automaker on the map, even if most Model S and Model X buyers don’t remember it. Originally slated to make its return in 2021, the new model hasn’t yet hit the market, leading us to believe it’s been delayed. The second-generation Roadster bests it predecessor by adding two small rear seats, significantly more driving range, and a much higher level of performance. Tesla CEO Elon Musk boasted about a 1.9-second 60-mph time and a 250-mph top speed when the Roadster concept was unveiled back in 2017—figures we very much hope will prove accurate when this sports car finally arrives.
What’s New for 2023?
The Roadster will be a new addition to the Tesla lineup when it eventually enters production, resurrecting the nameplate worn by the company’s first model back in 2008. Tesla originally announced the sports car as a 2021 model, but since then we’ve heard nothing, so we expect the Roadster has been delayed.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Tesla claims it will offer the base Roadster for $200,000 and a limited-edition Founders Series for $50,000 more. We have no details on what differentiates the two, other than the fact that only 1000 Founders Series models will be built. If you’re a collector, perhaps it’s worth the extra dough, otherwise save your money. We’ll update this story with more information about the car’s standard an optional features when those details become available.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
When the new Tesla Roadster was unveiled as a concept in November 2017, Musk touted some pie-in-the-sky performance numbers for this car, including a 60-mph time of 1.9 seconds, a top speed of more than 250 mph, and a quarter-mile time of just 8.8 seconds. That’s outrageous. For reference, if that 60-mph time holds up, it will mean the Roadster is a full second quicker than its key rival, the gasoline-powered McLaren 570S. Also during this conference, Musk noted that the Roadster will come with standard all-wheel drive. This is less surprising. Tesla’s mainstream EV models utilize two electric motors—one at the front and one at the rear—to drive all four wheels, so it makes sense we’d see the same setup for the Roadster.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
The 200-kWh battery is said to provide up to 620 miles of range, but certainly that number will be achievable only under very light use; hitting the track for some flat-out hot laps will cut that estimate considerably.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA hasn’t released its ratings for the Roadster’s fuel economy, but those details are sure to emerge closer to the car’s on-sale date. We hope to have a chance to test the new Roadster. If/when we do, we’ll put it through our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test and report its results here.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
For now, the Roadster is merely a concept, and in general, concepts change drastically during their development into production models. As shown, the Roadster concept features a removable glass-panel roof, which you can stow in the trunk. It has four seats, but the rear ones look as though they may not fit adults, given the Roadster’s dramatically angled roofline. Other than that, we expect to see Tesla’s signature minimalist interior design repeated here.
Infotainment and Connectivity
In the concept’s design, a large touchscreen extends from the top of the dash all the way to the center console, with a cubby underneath it for storage. No vehicle in Tesla’s lineup offers services such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or Amazon Alexa compatibility, and we don’t expect that to change with the Roadster. In fact, if the infotainment system in the Model 3 sedan is any indication of what we’ll see in the Roadster, buyers shouldn’t expect to find AM radio or SiriusXM in this car. We think it likely that Tesla will provide an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot, Spotify integration, and a host of visual entertainment apps such as Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube to keep drivers entertained while parked and charging.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Since the Roadster is still only a concept, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have not had the chance to perform crash tests. We expect Tesla will offer all its latest and greatest driver-assistance technology on the Roadster, including its famous Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with a semi-autonomous driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
We anticipate the Roadster will offer the same standard warranty package as the rest of Tesla’s lineup, which includes an eight-year warranty on the car’s electric motors and battery pack. Unlike rivals such as the Audi R8 or the Jaguar F-type, the Tesla is not likely to come with a complimentary scheduled maintenance plan.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers eight years, regardless of miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance