Tesla Reveals 2016 Model X Crossover In Full
Falcon Wing Doors, Seven Seats, and “Bioweapon Defense Mode” Appear on Electric SUV
After a few delays, Tesla finally revealed its 2016 Model X crossover SUV, an all-electric luxury offering expected to give owners 250 miles of range and amazing performance.
Taking many of the lessons learned on the Model S sedan, Tesla gave the Model X dual-motor all-wheel drive, a low center of gravity thanks to the skateboard-style battery pack, and seven forward-facing seats (even though it’s only 2 inches longer than the sedan). Additionally, the performance-minded Model X P90D is capable of hitting 60 mph in 3.2 blistering seconds when equipped with Ludicrous Speed, a program that untaps the SUV’s full 713 lb-ft of torque.
On the outside, the Model X looks quite a bit like its sedan little brother if you stretched it up by 20 percent. The Model X cuts quite a bulbous profile, which is disappointing given the svelte, sleek styling of the Model S. It looks less like Tesla’s gorgeous sedan and departed Roadster and more like a six-fourths–scale Volkswagen New Beetle.
Nevertheless, the SUV isn’t without its charms, as the electrically operated Falcon Wing rear doors and automatic opening front doors allow the driver and passengers to board the Tesla without touching a thing. Those rear doors feature a double hinge, opening up then out, which requires only one foot of side-to-side clearance to open. Tight parking lots won’t be an issue for the Model X (as long as you trust your neighbor not to open his door too hard).
Tesla claims the Model S has the largest single piece of curved glass ever fit to a passenger car, and we believe them. The windshield is absolutely massive, stretching up and over the front passengers’ heads. It gives the driver and front passenger a panoramic view of the road ahead and sky above, flooding the cabin with clear, natural light. Aiding the windshield in its mission are glass panels for the top of the folding rear doors, helping everyone aboard enjoy the weather.
Additionally, the electropod styling gives the Model X the SUV segment’s lowest-ever coefficient of drag, at just 0.24. For comparison, the Tesla Roadster had a Cd of 0.35, while the Model S slips through the air with the same resistance as the SUV. Amazingly, the Model X bests even the Toyota Prius and first-generation Honda Insight in terms of wind resistance.
In spite of its efficiency, the Model X has seating for seven adults inside, easily accessible through those massive door openings. The three middle passengers can slide and recline their seats independently, while the two third-row passengers have enough leg and headroom for even medium-length trips. A trunk up front (where an internal combustion engine isn’t) means the Model X has surprising cargo space in spite of its smallish footprint, and minimalistic seat mounts open up space under the rear seats for small bags, much like on an airplane. Furthering the SUV’s usefulness, the Model X P90D is the world’s first electric tow vehicle, capable of hauling 5,000 pounds.
For all that functionality and performance, though, our favorite feature has to be the Bioweapon Defense Mode for the HVAC system. Massive HEPA filters (the first such application for a passenger car) are able to provide air to the cabin that can filter out even the most minute of contaminants. During the Model X press conference, representatives from Tesla said the Model X could be the safest place to be in a biological or chemical attack. That’s seriously cool.
The company also claims the Model X will be the first utility vehicle to score a perfect five stars on all of the government’s crash tests, including rollover. With most of the vehicle’s weight riding low in the pancake battery pack, it should be very stable, so Tesla’s claims may not be that far off. Active safety, including fully autonomous braking and the company’s Autopilot cruise control, will also intervene in the event of an impending collision.
In spite of the Tesla’s slightly awkward styling, we still appreciate its awe-inspiring performance, clever powertrain, and gee-whiz engineering features (some of which Elon Musk himself admitted he’d have abandoned had he known how tough they’d be to create). And it’s amazing that such a spacious SUV can occupy such a small footprint.
We’re sure suburbanite families everywhere will clamber to their nearest retailers and plunk down the required coin for the Model X, which is slated to max out at $142,000 for a P90D with Ludicrous Speed. A cheaper Model X 70D will be available with a slightly smaller range and slower performance, and in general, the Model X should cost about $5,000 more than its equivalent Model S stablemate.
We’ll take one of each.
Source: Tesla Motors