Slogging through the grinding work of getting reliable cars to market in a profitable manner is the kind of thing to turn many heads grey prematurely. However, even as they struggle with debt load and trouble with outside suppliers, the engineering team at Tesla has found time to bake a little more fun into their cars. The latest software update for the Model S and Model X is out, and if you grew up playing Mario Kart on your Super Nintendo, get ready to grin.
Update 188.8.131.52.17 adds a new Easter egg into the instrument panel of the Model S and X: activate autopilot four times in a row and the display road will change to a psychedelic scrolling rainbow. Everybody remembers this wacky level from Mario Kart, and while the effect extends only in the instrument cluster, it's another little gift from Tesla to its fans. It's no secret mode either, as Elon Musk tweeted the update to the world, promising even more cowbell to follow.
(We very slightly wish he'd kept it under wraps and the rainbow road had kicked in towards the end of our own Alex Roy's New York to Detroit Tesla record run, making everyone's favorite endurance racer think he'd just entered bat country.)
The Tesla skeptics may roll their eyes and wonder how a little software trick does anything to help sluggish production lines get moving. It doesn't, but little inside jokes like this have turned Tesla into a marketing juggernaut. Now, if only they can dodge the banana peels of their finances and the koopa shells of the critics.