Tesla Just Gave the Model S a Facelift

The refreshed Tesla Model S
Courtesy of Tesla Motors

If you're a fan of pushing the design envelope and evolving a brand's visual DNA, you're going to like this. If, on the other hand, you were on the fence about the Model 3's controversial grille-less nose, you might want to turn away now.

Tesla just released an update to the Model S. In automotive-speak, this is what's called a facelift, an injection of life into the car aimed at keeping it fresh until the next generation comes out in a few years. This one's got some obvious changes to the skin, and some less obvious, but still pretty relevant, changes lurking beneath the surface. Let's go ahead and call it what it is: the Model S, Version 2.0.

The bottom line? It's gone up in price by a bit, starting at $71,500, but you're also getting a fair amount of new kit.

Tesla's DNA is evolving
Courtesy of Tesla Motors

The grille is gone

This shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone, considering the front of the revised Model S now more closely reflects the Model X, and yes, the Model 3. While not everyone is ready to accept cars without a grille -- nevermind that most rear-engined cars like VW Beetles and Porsches have gone grille-less for decades -- this is Tesla's strongest design move yet.

It's part of Tesla revising its corporate design DNA, and makes all of its vehicles more instantly recognizable as a Tesla, even if you're not the most keen observer of automotive design.

Also new: adaptive LED headlights. That might not sound like such a huge deal, but given that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) just lambasted the industry as a whole for poor headlight efficiency, Tesla's timing couldn't be better.

The Model S Just got a Refresh
Courtesy of Tesla Motors

You're also safe from chemical warfare now

Sorta. The Model S now has a HEPA air filter as standard. The air filtration system first debuted on the Model X, as what Tesla calls the Bioweapon Defense Mode -- which is obviously marketing jibberish, but does legitimately result in cleaner air inside the cabin. The company claims it will remove very nearly 100% of pollens and pollutants from the air.

And with your eyes less watery from springs annual assault on your immune system, you'll have a better view of the two new wooden dashboard trims.

There's a lot more rumored to be on the way

Rumors have swirled for a while now that there's a P100D in the works. Think of it this way: if the P70 is quick, and the P90D offers neck-snapping ability in Ludicrous mode, then the P100D (if it actually comes to fruition) should come with Optometrist mode, for its retina-detaching abilities.

The new configurator is live on the site now, so go ahead and check it out.

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Aaron Miller is the Cars editor for Thrillist, and can be found on Twitter. He's starting to come around on Tesla's revised front end.