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Elon Musk Responds To MKBHD’s Tesla Model S Plaid Praise & Criticism

MKBHD, the largest and arguably the best tech reviewer on YouTube has released his first impressions video of the Model S Plaid. In his review, he discusses what he likes and dislikes about the vehicle. Elon Musk addresses his complaints.


Marques Keith Brownlee, better known as MKBHD, is the personality behind the largest tech review channel on YouTube.

His channel, MKBHD, has over 14 million subscribers and draws in millions of views on every single video.

His videos are known for their high production quality, extensive research, and nuanced opinion which make his reviews hold water among consumers.

MKBHD also happens to be a Tesla fan and owner of a 2019 Raven Model S. And just a few hours ago MKBHD released his first impressions video of the brand new Model S Plaid.

The video is entertaining and really insightful, if you can, you should definitely watch it in its entirety. However, if you don’t have 20 mins to spare, below are the highlights.

MKBHD started his video with nothing but praise for the new Model S Plaid. Even though he daily drives the second-fastest Tesla in production, MKBHD was still pleasantly surprised by the Model S Plaid’s performance.

Related news: Elon Musk Confirms AI Gear Shifter In New Model S & X Coming To All Vehicles

According to Marques, you can feel the performance on your chest and the acceleration is more apparent between 60 miles and 130 miles per hour.

As compared to the previous Performance Tesla Model S, the Plaid Model S can go 60 to 130 miles per hour in 4.7 seconds which is less than half as long as it takes the Performance Model S.

MKBHD also admired the refreshed Model S’s fit and finish, being pleasantly surprised with the higher quality materials and more visually appealing stitching Tesla implemented throughout the vehicle.

Brownlee also admired the new landscape center screen and how it’s more flush with the dashboard. He also admired the responsiveness of the touch screen and the new user interface which is more intuitive and customizable.

Related news: Tesla Planning To Start Production At Giga Texas With Cybertruck, Not Model Y

However, MKBHD also had a few minor complaints and one major criticism of the Model S Plaid. One quirky example of how the refreshed Model S could improve was how materials, especially paper or something really thin, can slide between the center console and wireless chargers and disappear.

In his video, MKBHD describes how he lost his car registration paper in the small opening. However, luckily the paper shot out to the back seat when he launched the vehicle hard on the highway.

Another minor complaint was how the steering wheel covers parts of the touch screen and drivers have to pass their hands around the steering wheel in order to press some buttons. Brownlee also said the screen behind the wheel is a bit dim.

Related news: Tesla Reduces Price of FSD Hardware Upgrade to $1,000 Dollars

However, these are all minor complaints. MKBHD called the Plaid Model S a world-class vehicle in all aspects but one. And the one part it is not is the controversial yoke steering wheel.

MKBHD’s main complaint was Tesla literally reinventing the wheel. This has meant drivers have to retrain their muscle memory learned over years of using a circular steering wheel. According to MKBHD, the relearning process causes initial awkwardness when maneuvering the vehicle.

Marques was however still willing to give Tesla a pass for trying something new and bold. But, he was specifically irked with the capacitive touch buttons on the steering wheel.

These touch buttons are used for most of the day-to-day driving tasks such as turning on the vehicle lights, turn signal, and blowing the horn.

Since the buttons are not physical buttons, MKBHD has found himself having to look down for the most basic of tasks. On top of this, since the buttons are touch-sensitive, they also get accidentally triggered when turning the steering wheel.

Overall MKBHD says he would still take the yoke steering wheel over a conventional circular one however, he would prefer it, if they came with physical buttons.

Related news: Tesla Model 3 Draws Comparisons To A Boat After Fording Through A Flood

Tesla CEO Elon Musk on his part seems to agree with most of MKBHD’s points on the video. Musk said overall “good review & fair critique.”

Elon Musk also addressed some of MKBHD’s specific criticisms. Concerning MKBHD’s complaints of a part of the screen getting obstructed by the steering wheel, Musk said “in general with interfaces, all input is an error. With each software update, the car’s intuition will get better. You will need to press buttons less & less.”

And as for the steering wheel capacitive buttons accidentally getting triggered Musk said with future updates the vehicle “will know when to ignore accidental button presses.”

Also concerning the screen behind the steering wheel, Elon says “the full self-driving interface renders across the whole display & it is incredible. The yoke enables an unobstructed view of the screen.”

Currently, the version 9 beta FSD software has rolled out to Tesla’s 2000 or so Early Access Program participants. The software will be rolled out to the general public including MKBHD’s Plaid Model S with FSD Beta V10/11.

Related news: Tesla To Deliver Cybertruck Without Side-View Mirrors Suggests $436M Samsung Camera Supply Deal

V10 and V11 updates are expected to transition Tesla’s FSD software to a system that only uses the cameras and no longer requires radar to understand the surrounding.

The current FSD beta version, V9, only uses the pure vision production software on highways, however, V10 hopefully, V11 definitely, will start to also use pure vision on surface streets and complex parking lots.

MKBHD says this is only his first impression, he will have a more detailed review after he has driven the vehicle more extensively. We will be sure to keep you posted when MKBHD releases his more in-depth review. Make sure to visit our site regularly for the latest updates.

So what do you think? Do you agree with MKBHD’s assessments of the Model S Plaid? What are some of your favorite and list favorite features about the vehicle? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

For more information check out: Early Tesla Model S Vehicles Will Lose Their Mobile Internet Connection In February 2022 Also, see Elon Musk: Tesla FSD Will Listen To Sirens & Alarms & Recognize Hand Gestures & Ambulance/Police Lights

Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.


Jason (not verified)    July 23, 2021 - 4:32PM

"I really like capacitive touch buttons on the steering wheel", said no one, ever. Honestly, those things just suck in cars, everywhere, all of the time.

Curtis (not verified)    July 24, 2021 - 5:51PM

In reply to by Jason (not verified)

Capacitive buttons are ok when used correctly and sparingly. BMW has been using them for many years in their radios. Run your finger over the memory numbers and a legend pops up with the station info assigned to it.

Jack (not verified)    July 24, 2021 - 6:07PM

In reply to by Jason (not verified)

Yes exactly. All buttons need tactile feedback. And most important functions should be executed without having to take your eyes on the road. Elon's blah blah about all input being error, well, when we ACTUALLY get FSD, that will be true (in two weeks, yeah right). Until then, don't demand the driver take his eyes off the road

Captain Quirk (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 7:32PM

In reply to by Jason (not verified)


I love the performance of this car, but the yoke steering wheel and capacitive touch buttons would be a deal-killer for me.

Garner Fretz (not verified)    July 24, 2021 - 1:29PM

Astute comment about older drivers and the yoke. A yoke in a plane where you are not turning hand over hand. Same for a drag racer or race car in general. But manoeuvring into a parking space or parking a trailer. Ok. Maybe rely on computer for this but the video showed enough instances of hand over hand steering to give an older driver an uncomfortable feeling "oh when am I going to miss and what will happen to the car". It's a part of driving I personally don't need want an update. Performance and range and safety features are what really get my attention. And tactile buttons. Also agree. With tactile buttons your fingers move to a position in anticipation of initiating a command. All without taking your eyes off the road - then, when touch confirmed, press button. Not comfortable with AI. How does car know I want to turn left or right.

John Doe (not verified)    July 24, 2021 - 8:45PM

I agree the captive buttons should have been placed farther away from your hand area. What also would be cool is if you could program where the buttons\options go! The placement of the horn is unrealistic and should have been left on the airbag location. The forward & reverse swipbar should be made thicker so accessing it is easier and more visible..

Michael Mason (not verified)    July 24, 2021 - 9:17PM

The car is incredible, I sold cars for 20 years, the last 11 I was salesperson of the month until I quit to hang out with my son who is now 18, if I go back to selling cars it'll be Tesla's

LennyNero (not verified)    July 24, 2021 - 11:04PM

Touch controls on a steering not-wheel, that must be the stupidest, most idiotic idea. Would never buy something like that.

Hood Hussein (not verified)    July 24, 2021 - 11:23PM

I agree with MKBHD's assessments and appreciate Elon's response.
Thanks to both of you!

David Stott (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 12:12AM

Still no birds eye view? This is an appalling failure of Musk's ability to understand how other people drive cars. He thinks it's easy to look at a rear camera view AND a graphic showing how many centimetres you are away from something simultaneously instead of a single image of your car moving in real time as you navigate backwards. Every other prestige car has had birdseye for years but not Tesla. I've been a devoted owner of a Model X for four years but I still can't back easily into supermarket carparks. My car has reght cameras. For pitys sake, just link them up. Lack of birdseye is the single worst feature of Teslas.

Zaid (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 12:35AM

Your article does not contain core facts it's like you are giving history lectur about MKBHD and elon e ,Your article sucks

Ben Blackburn (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 12:52AM

There is a small mistake in the article, possibly just unclear, but Pure Vision is already being used under all conditions in production vehicles, because they are currently shipping new cars with no radar.
You may have only been talking about upgrades to older vehicles, but on the new cars with no radar installed it is the full Pure Vision stack.

Geoffrey Bailey (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 1:37AM

I've always wanted a Model S, but I'm not sure if that's what I'll get now. I really don't like the yoke. It's for race cars not street cars. It would be nice to have an option for what they had in 2019. 2021 is not a good year to buy a car anyway, so I'll wait.

King rocker (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 2:15AM

So, the key is to design bad hardware and then improve the software to recognize when it's badly used. Because at Tesla, all input is error.

Aleksander B Wozniak (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 2:29AM

I noticed the use of the word also to be intrusive to the reading experience due to it's frequent use, as well as maintains the same introduction to sequential sentences. Good work though. Great read lol

Billy mellon (not verified)    July 27, 2021 - 1:50AM

In reply to by Aleksander B Wozniak (not verified)

Sequential sentences is not Als strong suit at least not yet. Half the texts are AI generated on the net- think about that n even more write articles for us everyday...this is why u feel hollow after reading so much stuff today its hollow cuz its synthetico

Iginla damilola (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 2:55AM

I love Elon Musk and his product
But my pocket is not capable for his product
My prayer is to become rich to drive Tesla cars

Iginla damilola (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 2:56AM

I love Elon Musk and his product
But my pocket is not capable for his product
My prayer is to become rich to drive Tesla cars

Torque (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 3:34AM

The yoke is a disaster. Not just the height of inconvenience but also highly dangerous (to an extent that regulators ought to step in and ban this shit). And on top of that, to remove the indicator stalk, gear change and horn, etc for capacitive buttons that fly around with the turn of steeri-- uh, yoke is mind-bogglingly stupid.

"in general with interfaces, all input is an error." The only error is in Elon's head. Regulators need to step in before people on the road get killed by Elon's delusional senility.

ELLIS L RUDULPH (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 3:58AM

I'm absolutely sure that you felt that the same way about the new touchscreen phone that you're using we can't go backwards or do you want a cord or can in the string

Jason (not verified)    July 26, 2021 - 8:50AM

In reply to by ELLIS L RUDULPH (not verified)

I don't have a touch screen phone, so no, I don't like them. I'm a mechanical engineer who happens to like buttons to have a feel to them before I press them. I hate the accidental presses or having to look at the buttons to use them (since these buttons will be moving as you turn).

Michael Salvetti (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 10:20AM

I had already watched MKBHD's review of the Tesla Model S Plaid prior to reading this article, I was just curious as to your take on his review.

As you said, it was by far a very positive review by Marques, but when he was speaking about the yoke steering wheel, he made a statement that you failed to mention that I 100% agree with.

He stated that people with 40+ years of driving experience will have a tough time using the yoke steering wheel because of the muscle memory of using a round steering wheel.

I can tell you that I am one of the what I am sure are MANY people who would like to buy a Tesla Model S Plaid but will NOT until/unless they offer the option of a round steering wheel!

This is just a case of Elon Musk getting stuck on the idea of something looking really cool and thus completely erring on the side of form over function! And the argument that you wouldn't be able to see the display panel behind with a round steering wheel is completely silly as I have been able to do this on EVERY SINGLE CAR THAT I HAVE EVER DRIVEN over the last 40 years!

John M Glennie (not verified)    July 30, 2021 - 7:42AM

In reply to by Michael Salvetti (not verified)

And for the last 55 years I have suffered because once I adjust the seat, steering and mirrors to where I want them, I have to move the steering because the binnacle is obstructed by the wheel. That's why I love my Model 3.

Marlon (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 10:39AM

Unbox Therapy is the largest Tech YouTube channel. I can't get past the steering wheel though. That's not for me as I often have one hand on the top of the steering wheel.

Brett (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 2:50PM

I love Marques but he was far too much of a fanboy on this one. The yoke steering wheel is nothing but bad. That design is for race cars where you never turn more than 30 degrees at a time. Real world driving makes them an awkward joke.

I love that Elon pushes the envelope in general but he is tromping on car-guy basics way too much. Cars need physical buttons, they need dedicated controls, they need some standardization. Tee screen is awesome but it should be an addition not the only way to do anything.

I love nearly everything about Teslas, except that, well, I don't actually want to DRIVE one. I want to drive a car not have it drive me.

Santos (not verified)    July 25, 2021 - 7:31PM

My bmw and all the bmws I already had, never had none of those minor complaints, like bmw and other brands already corrected those issues long time ago or never had, you just can't go make cars like that, there's a knowledge past, for the price they ask? It's just ridiculous, I prefer bmw or Porsche or even Mercedes.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    July 26, 2021 - 4:37AM

Elon pushes some new ideas because they are better, even though they go against traditional design. But with that said, Elon also does different designs because they are unique and cool looking, but not necessarily functionally better. There is the saying don't try and reinvent the wheel, but he did, and the result is a mixed bag. He has some new ideas like the Falcon wing doors, bioweapon defense air filters, bullet proof glass, and the yolk steering "wheel" with capacitive buttons, which simply should be offered as options, because they don't provide enough benefit for most drivers, considering their functional drawbacks. One thing that you notice with good computer interface design is that there are many different controls and ways to get to the same result or function. I am fine with the new auto-direction feature, because it also has both a screen swipe and selector buttons as backup controls. I understand that Elon and Tesla are trying to actively lead us to start relying on automated controls. But they key to most new designs is offering backward compatibility, so that those people who don't want to leave the familiar behind, have the option to fall back on time tested designs, like a round wheel, turn signal stalks, and tactile push buttons for critical driving operations.

Ryan Carpenter (not verified)    July 26, 2021 - 12:54PM

Another bullshit response from Musk. So this means what.. the car is gonna read my mind and turn in my turn signal a few seconds before I change lanes? Or is he betting all on self driving and that I’ll never touch the wheel. If it’s the ladder then why did I spend all this money on a sports car? Will full self driving race me around town?