Upgrading a 2015 Tesla Model S 85D to MCU 2 in 2023

February 22nd, 2023

A Tesla Model S 85D with a new MCU 2 infotainment center.

A Tesla Model S 85D with a new MCU 2 infotainment center.

As a Tesla Model S owner, I was starting to notice that my infotainment center was becoming slower and less responsive over time. This was particularly frustrating when trying to use the built-in navigation or stream music while driving. After doing some research, I discovered that there was an upgrade available that could significantly improve the performance of my car’s infotainment system: the MCU 2 upgrade.

I figured I’d detail my experience for anyone thinking of doing this upgrade.

The MCU (Media Control Unit) is essentially the brain of the Tesla infotainment system. The original MCU in my Model S was MCU 1, which was released in 2012. The newer MCU 2 was released in 2018 and featured a faster processor and more memory, which results in a much snappier and more responsive user experience.

To start the upgrade process, I made an appointment with my local Tesla service center. The upgrade itself takes “a few hours”, and the service center did not provide me with a loaner car to use while the upgrade was being performed. Tesla dropped the price from ~$2000 to $1500 for the upgrade in January 2021 but then upped the price $250 to $1750 in later 2022.

I bought my car in Mid-January of 2023 and set up an appointment on January 20th, 2023. Tesla initially has it listed as a mobile technician appointment for the next day but then changed the date to a week later at the Carlsbad service center.

They then delayed my appointment by a week, then another, then two weeks until my new appointment was February 17th. At this point, I was given a quote that came out to $1750 plus tax, and $0 for labor.

The installation itself took over a day, with little progress being made on the first day. About 4 minutes before closing on the second day the car was ready but I was not able to pick it up until the following day.

When I picked up my car, I was immediately impressed with the difference in performance. The navigation system was much faster and smoother to use, and streaming music was no longer a frustrating experience. In addition to the improved performance, the MCU 2 also offers some additional features, such as the ability to view streaming video from Youtube, Twitch, or Netflix.

Something that was not really brought up but I immediately noticed is the change in visual clarity on the new display. It had blacker blacks and deeper colors that made it much more enjoyable to use.

The car seems to think its at the Tesla headquarters in the Bay Area.

The car seems to think it’s at the Tesla headquarters in the Bay Area.

Since the installation, the only issue I’ve had is that my homelink no longer works but I am going to attempt to get this remedied soon. Other than that the car seems to think it is at the tesla headquarters at all times and I’m not sure why.

Overall, I’m extremely happy with the MCU 2 upgrade. It’s a significant investment, but it has made a noticeable difference in the usability and overall enjoyment of my Tesla. If you’re experiencing similar frustrations with your Tesla’s infotainment system, I would definitely recommend considering the MCU 2 upgrade.


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