Future Cars

2019 New and Future Cars: 2020 Tesla Roadster

A mid-engine supercar without the engine

Ten years ago, Tesla got its start with the Roadster, an electrified two-seater based on an elongated Lotus Elise. The proportions of Tesla’s new Roadster pay homage to the original by closely following those of a mid-engine car—but of course there’s no engine. Instead, the space in front of the rear wheels houses a pair of seats. Technically, the back seat violates the definition of a roadster, as does its removable glass roof. But no one will argue that the Roadster’s predicted performance is mind-blowing: 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, 0-100 in 4.2, an 8.8-second quarter mile, and a 250-plus-mph top speed. Although we might question Elon Musk’s ability to deliver a car when promised, we have less doubt the Roadster will eventually meet its stated performance goals. Tesla says it will sell 1,000 limited edition Founders Series cars for a cool quarter mil each, while the base price for the regular Roadster is being pegged at $200,000.

Joining the Roadster and the Models S, 3, and X will be the new Model Y (which means the model lineup will spell “S3XY”), a compact SUV based on the 3. Platform sharing should eliminate the production woes and delays of the Model 3, though it’s just as likely the Model Y will present problems of its own—starting with where to build it, as Musk himself describes Tesla’s Fremont, California, plant as “crazy packed.” Pricing is anyone’s guess; ours is around $40,000 to start.

On sale: 2020
Base price: $200,000 (est)

Buying Guide
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Horse Power:

288 @ 5000

Torque:

273 @ 400