This article is part of STYLE’s Inside Luxury column. The managers of Porsche, Mercedes, Rolls-Royce, BMW, Bentley and most other traditional luxury and sports car manufacturers are potentially in for some sleepless nights. Last week, two things happened that rocked the world of luxury cars : Tesla announced the specs of its new flagship Model S Plaid, and California joined France, the UK and numerous other countries in announcing a ban on combustion engine cars starting from 2035. The many cars of Elon Musk: a ruined US$1m McLaren F1 to 007’s submarine car Tesla’s new Model S Plaid It will be nothing less than the quickest production car ever on the road and is set to make every other performance sedan look like a slow dinosaur from a far distant past. The prototype of the tri-motor, 1,100-horsepower Plaid makes even the McLaren P1 supercar look slow on a track lap. The specs are out of this world. The car boasts the quickest 0-60 and quarter-mile acceleration of any production car ever, capable of reaching 60mph in under two seconds, while the quarter mile acceleration clocks under nine seconds. These numbers render any other performance combustion engine sedan – and even sports supercar – practically obsolete. The distance between Tesla and every other car brand has been widening dramatically for some time . Many traditional car manufacturers appear to be paralysed, either producing electric show cars that will never see the light of the day or launching rather half-baked electric vehicles that may look beautiful but come with outdated specs. This is a nightmare for brands that have spent the last few decades cashing in on high performance sedans, as none of their fast cars – such as BMW’s M collection, Mercedes’ AMG models, and Porsche’s Turbo models – can compete with the Plaid. Years of underestimating technological shifts mean that these brands are facing a serious dilemma, and it may be too late for some. California’s upcoming ban on combustion engine cars The state might be home to tech hub Silicon Valley, but it plans to prohibit new petrol cars as of 2035. Although this might sound like a long ways off, the time will fly by in traditional car development terms. And not only is California an important market for luxury car brands, the tastes of the influential and wealthy young customers there have a huge effect on the rest of US – and the rest of the world. In the meantime, brands such as Mercedes, BMW, Bentley and Rolls-Royce will have to redefine their entire brand and technology strategies. While they have been major players for more than a century, they have since lost their competitive edge due to neglect. For instance, Mercedes could have taken the lead in electric vehicles and signalled a commitment to the technology by launching its S-class as all-electric, but instead the brand opted to go with combustion engines – an anachronistic choice for the year 2020. The true cost of palm oil – found in 50 per cent of US supermarket goods Electrification is a completely different game with new rules and many luxury brands’ reluctant adaptation of it will become a serious threat to their survival. When Elon Musk launches a fully self-driving US$25,000 car in three years, customers will wonder why they can’t find the same at Bentley, BMW, Mercedes or Rolls-Royce, even for astronomically higher prices. The rumoured sale of Bugatti to electric supercar pioneer Rimac is the first sign that the traditional luxury car business model is coming to an end. Radically different thinking is needed. But are brands ready for that, beyond just paying lip service? Many traditional car brands might not make it through the next 15 years. Consumers will seek to be inspired by innovation and performance, and new players will continue to emerge and dethrone the traditional luxury leaders. Some of these brands may survive, but only if they radically commit not only to following the current trend, but leading the pack. Last week presented an immediate and loud call to action for luxury car brands – the next move is theirs. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .