Tesla released today a new update to some Performance Model S owners. The update includes some incremental improvements and an all new feature called ‘Launch Mode’. The new feature assists the driver to accelerate from a standing start, much like a launch control for a race car.

Even though the Model S is a large family sedan, with 0 to 60 mph times of 3.1 seconds for the P85D and 2.8 seconds for the P90D, the performance versions with ‘Ludicrous Mode’ can hold their own in a drag race.

It’s actually pretty satisfying to watch a 4-door electric sedan burst off in front of a small gas-guzzling sport car. We even curated a list of our own favorite Model S drag race videos, which we regularly update: Super Post – The best Tesla drag races.

Arguably, a ‘Launch Mode’ wasn’t really needed considering the best way to get a good start with the Model S is to punch the accelerator as fast as you can, but it is still a nice touch.

In the release notes of the new update, Tesla describes how to engage the ‘Launch Mode’:

  • Enable Max Battery Power mode via the link in Controls > Driving > ACCELERATION
  • Fully press the brake pedal with your left foot and hold firmly.
  • Fully press the accelerator pedal with your right foot, then release while continuing to hold the brake. The instrument panel will display the message “Launch Mode Enabled”.
  • After the message appears, fully press the accelerator pedal again. Then release the brake to launch within 4 seconds.

Stay tuned for the flood of new drag race videos featuring Tesla’s Launch Mode!

With the same update (v7.0:2.9.40), Tesla also improved the navigation system  and “auto windshield-wiping logic”. We recently reported on Tesla pushing the next major update of its software – version 7.1 – to some beta testers. The upcoming update includes UI improvements, a new self-parking feature, ‘Driver Mode’ and Autopilot restrictions.

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