The Tesla family of electric cars grows bigger with this new crossover. Meet the Model X – a practical, yet still quite spectacular, machine.
Elon Musk’s first crossover has an air of familiarity about it, since it shares several essential parts with the Model S. Never mind the fact that its lines are not quite as racy as the slender sedan – it is an SUV after all. Think of this, then, as a Tesla Model S before it went on a crash diet (we thought twice about using the word ‘crash’ because of the recent tragic incident involving a Model S in Autopilot mode, but that’s a subject which we’ve dealt with elsewhere in this issue). Don’t be mistaken, though, it is a beautiful design – and that becomes immediately clear when you open the doors, wherein lies its real coup de theatre. To open the doors you raise them up (electrically, of course), as they’re hinged to the centre of the roof – much like the ‘seagull wings’ of the Mercedes-Benz SLS. Tesla, of course, has it’s own nomenclature – ‘falcon wings’ they call them. But, while most of us would call it an aesthetic highlight, Tesla claims that it’s actually a fully functional design element. For instance, the third row of seats can be accessed easily thanks to the generous door-openings.
THAT HUGE WINDSHIELD
With its batteries mounted, or rather spread, under the floor, this Californian SUV can easily accommodate seven people – while the bags can be divided between the rear and the front compartment – that space where most conventional cars have a big lump of smouldering metal. The interiors are crafted with the usual Tesla flair, sporting a huge 17-inch display dominating the centre console – which serves as the common platform for almost all of the commands inside the car. Having said that, the sense of déjà vu doesn’t follow you everywhere. For example, there is this seamless panoramic windscreen that goes over your head all the way to the rear, which makes even a short drive feel like quite an occasion. Underneath the suave shape of the Model X hides a seething monster though – no one would ever believe that this car can get to 100km/h in just over three seconds! Neither would they expect seeing something of this shape tear down the road at 250km/h. But the Model X does all of that without breaking a sweat.
These numbers, while important, are of little relevance here since the Model X is not designed to break land speed records. In essence, it is a crossover. A crossover of a very high level, for sure, but still designed to carry people and their luggage around rather than to provide absolute performance. Moreover, its heavy weight becomes a problem. The Model X weighs more than 2 tons! On the up side, the all-wheel drive makes life easy for the Model X driver and very effectively manages the avalanche of power that rushes in with zero-lag – one has to be careful though, since at times it can be outright violent.
In its most expensive configuration, the Model X is fitted with a 90kWh battery pack. This, combined with an excellent drag coefficient of 0.24, allows the Californian electric-SUV to cover distances of over 400-kilometres on a full charge. In our brief experience with car, it wasn’t possible to verify those claims, but if there’s one thing that we can confirm now, it’s that the Model X is the force of the future. And, at the risk of being corny, it is ‘electrifying!’
The rear end has obvious similarities with the Model S sedan. The spoiler is movable, which is automatically determined depending on the speed and driving conditions
There’s a seamless panoramic windscreen that goes over your head all the way to the rear, which makes even a short drive feel like quite an occasion
Thanks to the ‘falcon-wing’ doors, the third row of seats can be accessed easily thanks to the generous door-openings
- Model X P90D
Transmission: Single-Speed Transaxle / Four-Wheel Drive
Power: 396kW (531bhp)
Range: 411 kilometres
Acceleration: 0-100km/h – 3.4 seconds
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