Tesla Model X Review
If you are wondering what cars of the future will be like and ultimately where automotive technology is most likely to go then you are looking at it right now. All electric cars, capable of good ranges, with impressive performance, able to carry about several passengers in comfort and potentially drive themselves. No you are not reading a review of iRobot or Demolition Man, you are reading a review of the Tesla Model X.
Tesla third all electric model is their Model X. Their performance SUV designed to complement their Model S
and push their technology even further into the mainstream market. They are not working on high performance 2 seat supercars with a limited audience, but working on getting Tesla more into the mass market (something which will be further achieved with the forthcoming Model 3).
So, what is the Tesla Model X? It is billed as a performance SUV, but due to its impressive ability to adjust its ride height with a range of 7 inches, in everyday use it looks a little more like a large hatch/estate/mpv. Perhaps more accurately it can be described as a smartphone on wheels. With around a 1/4 of the number of moving parts compared to a normal car, that is not far off the mark.
Before we get too carried away with the unique technology of the Tesla, lets start with something far easier to relate to¦ looks. You cannot describe the Tesla Model X as good looking. It does have nice flowing lines but it looks like the Model X’s design was dictated heavily by its technology and that it was designed by a computer, or certainly by someone using a computer with little thought for its real world looks, which are a little soft at the front on one hand, but then quite assertive on the other. Moving to the rear of the car it is simply squared off once the falling roof line hits the shoulder line. There is certainly evidence of influence from the likes of the BMW X6 and MB GLE Coupe. The rear Falcon Wing doors are certainly its party piece, which are meant to have enough sensors to not bash into anything. It is worth noting then that they managed to give me a thump for standing too close on opening and would certainly give a little person a headache if they stand in the sensors blind spot.
Inside, it is dominated by the huge central portrait touchscreen display which controls just about everything. Readers of our recent review on the new XC90 will recall our disdain for the do-all touch-screen on that and our disdain is only reinforced here too. The lack of tactile feedback offered by buttons and dials means you have to take your eyes off the road to do what should be a basic task like turning on the heated seats or selecting a radio station. Aside from the central infotainment screen the rest of the interior styling of the Tesla very modern with sharp angles giving it a somewhat modern, almost futuristic, appearance. Specification wise, the Tesla Model X modestly appointed with SatNav, DAB+, Keyless Entry, Auto Tailgate and LED Headlamps.
Think of it as more of a smartphone on wheels than a car. To be honest it is certainly more Apple than Android with notable limitations on what extras are available. Load up the Tesla Model X Custom Order Page and you are presented with little more option that the output/range capacity of the motor (analogous to the amount of memory in your iPhone), the number of seats (think iPhone 7 or 7 Plus), and some rather expensive add-ons in the form of the £4,500 Premium Upgrades Package with its rather amusingly named Bioweapon Defence Mode, the £5,000 Enhanced Autopilot not to be confused with Full Self Driving Capability (a further £3,000 over the Enhanced Autopilot), the overpriced Subzero Weather Package at £1,000 which basically gives you heated seats, heated steering wheel and wiper blade defrosters, the unbranded Premium Sound for £2,500, £3,000 (or more) if you want anything but Black-on-Black inside, or the only suitably priced option the £750 Tow Pack.
The overall quality of the interior is good, however it is not commensurate with the price tag of the Model X which can easily hit 6 figures, with a starting price of over £75,000 and a fully specced one coming in north of £156,000.
As I mentioned before, this is more of a smartphone on wheels. What I did not say though it that it is probably the fastest smartphone you will drive this decade. Even the entry level 75D will get you to 60 in 6 seconds, order the P100D with the ludicrously named Ludicrous Speed Upgrade and you will carve that time in half to a mere 2.9s. No that was not a typo, a 7-seat mpg/suv will propel you to 60mph quicker than a McLaren 650S, Ferrari 488 GTB, Noble M600, and as quickly as a Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari F12TDF, Porsche 911 Turbo S. It is worth mentioning though that whilst the Tesla then gives up at 155mph, all the others will keep going on towards 200mph and over in some cases. What the Model X is the 2nd fastest production 5 or 7 seater on the planet, second only to the Tesla Model S. All this from a bank of nearly 8,000 slightly smaller than AA rechargeable batteries. Who would have thought it¦
Aside from the performance, the Model X handles rather well for such a heavy and long car (just over 5 metres). Comfort and space is good and you cannot but marvel at wafting along at 70 in relative silence where all you can hear is the hum of road noise and the splash of a puddle you drive through.
Now¦.There is one important point of note. Whilst the Model X will surpass all but the most exotic of super/hyper cars in terms of performance, it lacks one major component which makes spending 6, or even 7 figures on a car worth it. Soul. This is a but of a damp squib. Planting your foot on the accelerator and you are quietly whined up to speed. No roar of an engine, no bark from the exhaust, no pops or bangs, nothing. And this for me is a big problem. If you are into driving a car fast, the chances are you want to feel like you are driving fast too through the stimulation of all of your senses. The feeling of the barely tamed engine, the aural onslaught as the revs climb to fever pitch, the gunfire like sound of a change down as unburnt fuel hits the exhaust and, lets face it, the jealous looks you occasionally get from onlookers wishing they had your car.
No, this is the car for the understated, its a sleeper, a wolf-in-sheeps clothing. A soulless, fairly dull looking SUV that represents a future that many car enthusiasts are just not ready for yet. A car of the future, for the next generation, that is here now.
Strangely, through the Model X makes sense in its dumbed down 75D guise with a range of around 250 miles, and perhaps even up to the standard 100D with a range of around 350 miles that will get you to 60 in a rapid 4.8s for just under £91,000. But the Ludicrously priced, Ludicrously fast P100D (replacing the P90D on test), starting at over £135,000, to me just doesnt yet make sense. It does not give you the drama, the fun, the excitement and personality of a supercar and if you want to get to 60mph in under 3 seconds, the chances are you want to have fun doing it.
Facts & Figures (Tesla Model X P90D on test):
Engine: 90kWh Battery
Top Speed: 155mph
Fuel Economy (Combined): N/A “ Range 250 miles
CO2 Emissions: 0g/km
If you would like to find out more about the Tesla Model S, please contact JCS on 01223 911 761 or use the contact form below