With the stir created in the automotive industry by the Model S yet to subside, Tesla made its next move by launching the Model X earlier this week. After testing waters with the two-seat Roadster, the Model S marked the coming of age of Tesla with the full-electric luxury sedan proving to be no slouch to its German and British rivals, be it in styling, appeal, luxury, power and, most importantly, range. With the Model X, Tesla is looking to create a similar impact in the booming Sport Utility Vehicle segment.
If butch looks and intimidating proportions are what you are looking for in your SUV, look elsewhere. The Model X is every bit a Tesla and that means styling is as minimalistic as it can get. The same swoopy lines and rounded edges that made the Model S an icon on wheels are carried over to the X. But the impact isn't as pleasing as it was for the Model S, atleast to our eyes. With the grille absent, there is so much unused space at the front which looks bland. On the other hand, the sloping rear looks a bit odd from some angles. While it does look undeniably impressive overall, SUV it is not. We would rather call it a crossover, which is actually what it is.
What's going to bowl people over though are the uber cool Falcon Wing rear doors that open skywards on either sides. It is not only practical allowing occupants to open the doors in the tightest of parking spaces but also aids easier access to the second and third rows. Yes, the Model X comes with three rows of seats that can be ordered in a 6-seat or a 7-seat configuration. Thanks to the Falcon Wings, the roof is almost completely made of glass with Tesla claiming the Model X comes with the largest panoramic windshield ever fitted to an automobile. Worry not about low ceilings, ultrasonic sensors can detect them and adjust the door opening arcs accordingly. Cool, eh?
Interiors look fabulous with the center console conspicuous by its absence. In its place is a huge 17-inch touchscreen panel that doubles up as an infotainment system. Feature list include power-folding and heated side mirrors, keyless entry, automatically opening front doors, parking sensors, blind spot warning, side collision avoidance, automatic emergency braking even at highway speeds and GPS-enables maps and navigation with real time traffic updates. The second row of seats even come with an independent reclining function for each occupant. Tesla has also used a medical grade air filter that comes with a cheeky 'Bioweapon Defense Mode' which prevents pollen, bacteria and viruses from entering the cabin.
The Model X is available in two variants - 90D and P90D with both featuring standard All Wheel Drive system. The 90D comes with a 259 horsepower front and rear motors with a claimed top speed of 155 miles per hour. That's 249 km/h in our language. Taking just 4.8 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph, the 90D variant comes with a range of 259 miles (416.8 km).
The P in P90D stands for performance, with these variants boasting a 259 horsepower front and a 505 horsepower rear motor. Top speed is 155 mph (249 km/h) while the range is slightly lesser at 250 miles (402.3 km). Incredibly, the P90D accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds. There is also a quite-fittingly named 'Ludicrous Speed Upgrade' that improves this time to just 3.2 seconds. That makes the Model X the fastest SUV on earth, Bentley Bentayga be damned.
Those speeds and range are possible because of Model X's drag coefficient of 0.24, the best ever in a SUV. Safety has been a top priority as well with the Model X acing every safety test there is, according to Tesla. The firm doesn't want the Model X customers to be confined to the city. The Model X can haul seven people, their luggage and tow another 5000 pounds. There is also a Tesla-designed accessory carrier that can carry four bikes or six sets of skis.
Retailing at $132,000 for the 90D and $142,000 for the P90D, the Model X is an expensive automobile. That hasn't stopped 30,000 customers to plonk their money even before it was launched though. For others who are interested, be prepared to wait until the second half of 2016 for your Model X!