Watch Jay Leno Review the 2012 Tesla Model S

by Jack

Fans of the automaker watched as a company focused on the small market corner of electric cars managed to become one of the worlds most valuable auto maker. While the road ahead is simply carved, there’s still much to do and accomplish. With Tesla hitting new heights, its nice to take a look back at their roots with the car that started it all, the original 2012 Tesla Model S.

If there’s anyone who knows cars, it’s the man who currently owns over 150 of them. Jay Leno, the avid car collector, has shown Tesla much love throughout the years. Both fan favorites, the original Roadster and next gen Roadster, have been displayed on his popular TV car show. Most recently he showcased the upcoming Tesla Cybertruck inside the Boring Company tunnel alongside Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Showing preproduction vehicles is always entertaining but what takes the cake has to be the episode starring the original Model S, seen below.

At first glance, you wouldn’t think so, but much has changed within the Model S throughout the years. Cosmetically, both interior and exterior remain nearly identical. Apart from the front grill swap, you’d never be able to tell apart a 2012 and 2020 Tesla Model S, at least not from far away. The headlights received an upgrade around the same time in 2016 giving the electric car a more modern design.

Something new fans might not be aware of is the lack of a center console in the previous generations. It’s become a staple with the Model S but back in the day your only options where third party or a $1,250 upgrade from Tesla themselves. As far as the interface goes, that too was drastically improved. Through constant software updates, Tesla continuously improved and added features such as full fledged games. The newer interface used in today’s cars, MCU2, is said to be up to 10x more powerful even allowing Tesla owners to stream Netflix from within their vehicles.

The biggest change since the release of the original Model S is also arguably the most important, the addition of Autopilot cameras. The original Model S had no intention of one day becoming a full self driving vehicle. When Autopilot 1.0 was released a few years later in 2014, it was a clear game changer. Tesla soon after revealed plans to one day achieve full self-driving capabilities. Autopilot 1.0 quickly evolved into the 3.0 FSD capable system we have today. While Robo-Taxi‘s are still distant, we inch closer and closer with each new update.

Fans of the Model S have continued to stress their desire for a full refresh. Rather than take the traditional auto manufacturer route of making massive changes annually, Tesla opts to incrementally update their cars on almost a weekly basis unannounced. This leads to smaller, less obvious changes taking effect without many noticing, like the recent swap to USB-C in the Model 3. Many Tesla enthusiasts feel it’s time for the Model S to take on a drastic redesign both inside and out.

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