As expected, the Tesla Model S based Saleen FOURSIXTEEN performance electric car was shown for the first time at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
“Tesla has created an entirely new class of American automobile”, said Steve Saleen. “There are many similarities to this and how Ford created the ‘pony car’ class in 1964 with the Mustang, which is how these vehicles stand out from the rest of the pack.”
Saleen worked its magic on the Tesla Model S on many levels: exterior, powertrain and interior.
The FOURSIXTEEN is powered by a 3-phase, four-pole AC induction motor and copper rotor with the upgraded Saleen drivetrain including an all-new 11.39:1 final gear ratio for quicker acceleration. Saleen added also new for the FOURSIXTEEN is a Saleen specific MAXGRIP locking differential that is said to allow each wheel to efficiently apply rotational force and maximize traction and grip. All of the Saleen-engineered driveline components increase efficiencies in torque management, give a track capable throttle response, and provide faster acceleration, said the company.
Saleen added the electric motor cooling has also been made more effective from the Saleen high-efficiency drivetrain cooling system. Comprising the system is a larger-volume radiator, upsampled cooling fans, and a high-flow water pump to help maintain consistent temperatures in more stressful performance applications.
“Electric drivetrains are unique in that they can generate an incredible amount of torque at zero rpm,” said Sven Etzelsberger, VP Advanced Engineering. “Our challenge was really to find methods to manage the energy that is generated by the electric motor and rotor assembly. With the FOURSIXTEEN we have successfully found a comprehensive solution to increase performance and harness power in an efficient manner.”
Saleen said it has also worked on the suspension. The Saleen specific S4 track-calibrated suspension is said to include a monotube coilover, which works in conjunction with an S4 sway bar setup to increase cornering agility without sacrificing ride quality. The FOURSIXTEEN suspension system can also be ordered in a fully adjustable configuration, allowing the driver to easily increase stiffness for a day at the track and revert to a more streetable setting with simple adjustments.
The Stability Control System has also undergone a track-tested performance enhancement, according to Saleen. A software change is said to give the FOURSIXTEEN better cornering response and drivability by allowing the driver to maintain power as traction and vehicle weight distribution change.
The standard brake package in the FOURSIXTEEN includes 14-inch, two-piece aluminum hat vented rotors and multi-piston front calipers with performance brake pads. An optional upgrade is a carbon ceramic disc brake system for maximum braking, cooling, and weight reduction, said Saleen. These brakes are combined with Saleen-designed wheels and ZR rated tires.
Saleen stated it has created a car that can drive the streets of Monaco and set records at Laguna Seca. From the Saleen-designed front fascia to the carbon fiber rear diffuser, the FOURSIXTEEN aerodynamic design is said to be as inspired as it is functional.
Front aero management vents helps ensure the car maintains a low pressure field as air acceleration increases around the chassis, said the company. Assisting the lower aero management is the unique V-shaped hood architecture efficiently directing hot air away from the drivetrain cooling system all while generating valuable downforce across the front section.
The rear fascia design finalizes the aerodynamic system as air moves across the cabin and onto the Saleen designed high-downforce decklid mounted spoiler, explained Saleen. Mid-chassis air is directed across the carbon fiber accents stretching between the taillights. Supplying rear wake control is a Saleen diffuser design that boosts aerodynamic downforce capability.
Saleen stated the cabin environment is as supercar stylish as it is functionally chic. Starting with the seating, black leather is contrasted by perforated leather accents and Alcantara suede inlays enhancing the luxurious atmosphere.
“Our theme of an electric four-seat supercar really comes to life with the interior of this car”, said Sean Smith, design director. “Our design team spent a lot of time evaluating different materials, fitments, and finishes to accomplish the refined interior design of the FOURSIXTEEN while still keeping the modern sports car inspiration intact. I think the result is appropriate for this new class of electric American performance cars.”
Saleen explained a new center console has also been integrated into the interior redesign. This functional aspect is said to give the driver and front passenger additional center storage, a personal electronic device pocket, and a much needed cupholder all within arm’s reach.
Continuing the track-inspired exterior enhancements, the front and rear seating have been remolded to produce four full bucket seats complete with added bolstering to create an interior built around the driver and passengers, said Saleen.
All of this goes out the door as the FOURSIXTEEN with an MSRP set to start at $152,000 for the complete vehicle, which includes the base P85 Model S sedan, but before existing state and federal EV incentives. Each newly purchased Saleen FOURSIXTEEN will include a 4-year / 50,000 mile warranty – no word yet on matching Tesla’s new warranty.
As is the case with most other Saleen vehicles, individual FOURSIXTEEN components are also available for Model S owners that are looking to just add a touch of performance or styling to their current vehicle without the desire for a serialized version.
Saleen did not reveal how its powertrain modifications alter the energy efficiency or horsepower of the vehicle.