The Tesla Model X brings full electrification to the SUV class. We see if it’s as impressive as the Model S saloon
What is it?
Tesla has already shaken up the luxury car market with the electric Model S, thanks to a combination of rapid performance, low running costs and respectable range. But as impressive as all that is, the saloon car seems to be a dying breed, due to the ever-increasing popularity of the SUV.
The answer? Well, making an SUV seems like a sensible solution, something Tesla has done with the Model X. It was first seen as a concept back in 2013, but there have been a number of delays, due to issues relating to the unusual ‘falcon wing’ rear doors and rear seat mounts, among other things.
This car may have been originally pencilled in for a 2014 release, but it still promises to offer cutting-edge technology. This includes ‘autopilot’, those automatic falcon wing doors and a range that can top 300 miles if you avoid the temptation that is the Performance model.
If temptation is too much, the P90D with the Ludicrous Speed upgrade can manage the 0-60mph sprint in a staggering 3.2sec. That’s McLaren F1 territory from a 2.5-tonne, seven-seat SUV.
Underneath the distinctive styling is the same skateboard-style chassis that underpins the Model S. The battery pack lies flat on the floor beneath the seats, giving an incredibly low centre of gravity, even with taller SUV bodywork.
All Model Xs are four-wheel drive, courtesy of a pair of electric motors, one powering the rear wheels and one for the front pair. In the P90D, these motors are rated at 503bhp and 259bhp respectively. Sadly, the electrical system can only provide a total combined output of 464bhp, although this is increased to 532bhp with the Ludicrous upgrade.
What’s it like?
Getting inside the Model X can be quite a theatrical event. The front doors may be conventional but are electrically powered, with the driver’s door opening automatically when you unlock the car with the key fob. Step inside and a press of the brake pedal will see the doors close behind you.
It’s the rear doors that are the more interesting, though. Although they look like they’d be impossible to open in a confined space, the doors are double-hinged (one on the roof and another above the window line) so they can open with as little as 11 inches of clearance outwards. There are also ultrasonic sensors that lie beneath the bodywork so you can’t open one into an immovable object.
Read more: Autocar