avatarby Nick HallAugust 30, 20160 comments

The Tesla Model X might just be Elon Musk’s crowning glory. It isn’t just the company’s most expensive car, it’s a seven-seater supercar in the right spec. It’s hard to oversell such an integral part of the electric car revolution and, one day, it will take its rightful place in the EV Hall of Fame.

The platform will form the base of the upcoming Tesla minibus that could revolutionize public transport and the SUV fits the limitations of an electric car better than any other.

It’s heavy anyway, so the weight of the batteries doesn’t matter and the 5441lb curb weight is just another big statistic to wow the crowds with. It’s designed to transport families so the feel on the limit really doesn’t come into things and the likes of Porsche’s Cayenne and BMW X6 set the bar high, so the price isn’t even a big issue.

The Model X has been a runaway success and it’s going to do even better in new territories like South Korea and urban centers. Now the Tesla Model X P100D is here, too, then this is an SUV that will slay icons at the dragstrip.

It even comes with a Bioweapon Defence Mode option. We’re not quite sure what to make of that one, but it will help if you’re a Hay Fever sufferer.

So is the Tesla Model X the complete modern car? Let’s find out…

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X Design

It’s still a mystery how Tesla manages to crowbar seven real seats into a fastback SUV that looks like a crossover. It doesn’t look much bigger than a BMW X6 and it’s lower to the ground. BMW struggled to get adults in the back, Tesla found the room for another row of seats. That is the miracle of proper packaging.

From the front it looks like a normal car, a run of the mill sedan with a smoothed off front end that fits the Tesla profile to a tee. Then we get to the side and things start to get clever.

Conventional front doors join forces with those falcon doors to create access to the rear. There’s nothing particularly ground-breaking about the fastback silhouette. In fact when it comes to styling then minimalist and low drag are probably the kindest things you can say.

But the Model X is all about the functionality and that is simply stunning. It is 20% slippier aerodynamically than the nearest rival and those doors need just 30cm of free space to give you full access to the interior.

The battery pack, in typical Tesla-style, is low down in the body and that means it can keep a wheel close to each corner. It’s low-slung for an SUV, too, but then this isn’t really a car to take on the dunes and there’s no real point pretending.

Tesla Model X Interior

Tesla Model X Interior

The interior is typical Tesla and it’s all about that driver-facing touchscreen that controls the whole car and is better integrated into the Model X dashboard than in any other model. From this one command center you can adjust pretty much everything, from the suspension to the stereo. You can browse the web, check the level on the battery and find the nearest supercharger.

We all know by now that the 17” touchscreen is the envy of the motoring world and the likes of BMW’s iDrive and even the onboard computer in the Mercedes S Class looked stone age overnight when the Tesla system hit the road. They’re scrambling to catch up as we speak with the screen, the Autopilot functions and everything else the Tesla has to offer.

Tesla Model X

It comes with the sunroof and the largest full-length panoramic glass roof in the industry that turns the whole car into a glorious conservatory. Those slick, hard-cased, designer seats come with either a central piece of floorspace that boosts the interior storage to 77 cubic feet, or you can opt for the seven-seat configuration.

The last row of two seats fold flat, too, while the second row folds forward. That frees up a huge amount of space that turns the Tesla Model X interior into a cavernous wagon.

It’s basically a boardroom in there and it wipes the floor with the likes of the Cayenne and the X5 when it comes to interior space, tech, just about everything. The Tesla Model X interior raised the bar, it’s just that simple.

Tesla Model X Specs

The Model X can either be a functional form of transport or an absolute weapon, it just depends on how much money you want to throw at the deal. As always, the spec depends on the battery size you opt for and here’s what you need to know.

60D

The base level Tesla Model X 60D offers 200 miles of range and will match the similarly powered Model S from 0-60mph. It does that dash in just 6.0s thanks to 325lb/ft of low-down torque and four-wheel-drive system. Elon Musk said it himself, Tesla does not make slow cars.

The top speed of 130mph isn’t overly impressive, but then it’s still enough to land you in jail. If you want to go faster, dig deeper into your pocket.

75D

Go for the 75kWh battery and you’ll get 37 miles more range. The performance doesn’t change, allegedly, but then the 75D comes with 387lb/ft of torque and that has to have some form of impact.

90D

Now things start to get interesting, although the 90D isn’t a performance model it will still hit 60mph in 4.8s and reach the official Tesla top speed of 155mph. The 90kWh battery is good for 257 miles, too, which is more than enough for most journeys now that the Supercharger network is spreading like a particularly toxic virus.

P90D

The P100D is fresh on the media’s lips right now, but you can still order the former heavyweight champion with its 3.7s 0-60mph time, though. It replaced the P85D recently, so there’s not much chance of it quietly exiting stage left to make way for the P100D.

The Tesla Model X P90D is still famous for smashing serious sportscars on dragstrips around the world. It may now be usurped by the P100D, but this was the trailblazing SUV that hit 60mph in 3.7s thanks to a barely believable 713lb/ft of torque.

With the full Ludicrous Mode enabled the dual motors produced a total of 762bhp, which Tesla claimed was limited to 532bhp. Not everybody believes them.

P100D

This is it, a new benchmark for fast SUVs, and we don’t even have the full figures yet.

The torque and horsepower figures are on the way, but rest assured that they are massive. We do know how fast it is, though. Yes, it’s scary fast.

Tesla Model X performance

Tesla Model X P100D Performance

The P100D comes pre-packaged with the Ludicrous option and that helps it hit 60mph in 2.9s. It kind of renders every other prestige car redundant at a stroke.

You’ll get 289 miles of range on the EPA rating, or more than 300 if you keep the wick turned down. But you won’t, because that’s not the point of a bus that rips from 45-65mph in just 1.4s and decimates supercars.

Remember that the Tesla Model X P90D did the quarter-mile in 10.8s in MotorTrend’s hands and this car is going to be a good bit faster. Could it be the one that breaks the 10s barrier? It’s going to be close.

Tesla Model X Price

Just like the performance, the price of the Tesla Model X covers a broad spectrum. The base model can be yours for just $74,000. That still isn’t cheap, but it’s a lot of car for the money and this is still cutting edge technology.

Of course if you start ticking the boxes for the Autopilot system, Smart Air Suspension, the Premium Upgrades Package and more, then the base Tesla Model X lease price of $773 can soon blast past the $1000 a month mark.

At the other end of the scale, the Tesla Model X P100D costs $135,500 and the Model X P100D lease price starts at $1854 a month.

Tesla Model X Range

The Tesla Model X P100D range of 289 miles falls some way short of the equivalent Model S, but in Eco Pro mode, with Autopilot at the wheel, it should beat that EPA rating by some distance. The only real rival the Tesla Model X has comes from its own family, then, or from petrol-electric hybrids that will cost way more to run.

Even the entry-level Model X 60D can give you 200 miles of range and probably a good deal more if you don’t push it too hard.

Tesla Model S Supercharger

Tesla Model X charging

The Supercharger network, or lack thereof, was one of the main obstacles facing widespread adoption of electric cars. Through sheer force of will, Elon Musk has beaten the chicken and egg conundrum that scared off major manufacturers.

One man’s determination means you can now drive across America and most of Europe on the Supercharger network, which means you’re always within striking distance of a quick charge. Just 30 minutes hooked up to the free charger gives you another 170 miles of range and Tesla has committed to doubling the network by the end of 2017.

Range anxiety used to be a thing. But a combination of improved battery tech and more power points means that it’s a thing of the past now.

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X features

Autopilot is getting better all the time and it makes even more sense in the Model X. It’s a spacious car that you can stretch out in, while keeping both hands on the wheel of course, and let the Tesla take the strain on the highway.

Now, that Bioweapon Defence Mode. Essentially it’s a beefed up HEPA filter that removes particles from the air. We’re not sure how it would work against Anthrax or Sarin gas, but it does cut smog from the air and will be a popular addition in polluted cities.

Any place people wear face masks on the tube, this is going to be a smash hit.

Tesla Model X in the snow

Wrap Up

The Tesla Model X is a revolutionary car that could prove to be Elon Musk’s greatest ever car. Tesla will sell more of the Model S and swathes more of the Model 3, but the Model X might just be the greatest piece of design to emerge from the Palo Alto company. This is a seven-seater supercar, a zero emissions minibus and it could easily be future of urban transport.

Now that Musk has created the Gigafactory and linked Tesla’s Powerwall with SolarCity, there’s no real doubt that electric cars are the future. Now the infrastructure is in place and the battery tech is getting better by the day, the Tesla Model X has turned from an early adopter’s plaything into one of the most complete cars on the road today.

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