Being an independent reviewer means relying on the good graces of companies to allow their cars to be reviewed. Tesla Australia is one of the companies that works with independent reviewers and A Wheel Thing was privileged to spend a too quick 30 hours with the new Model X. It’s jampacked with technology and comes with a pricetag to suit.An immediately noticeable feature of the Model X is the strong family resemblance to the Model S. There’s a similarity to the profile, with the A pillar and window line providing a clear lineage. However, a major talking point of the Tesla Model X is the pair of upwards folding rear doors, known as “Falcon Wing”. What hasn’t been noised about is the tech that allows the doors to open in tight parking points. There’s sensors and cameras that will read the surrounding environment, with the cameras mounted discretely next to the rear wheels. The system works holistically and, when the doors begin their opening motions, will keep the doors from opening too wide or high. Maximum opening width is just twelve inches.The doors themselves are roof hinged, in the centre and have smoked glass, and will open outwardly slightly before commencing their vertical travel. The tailgate is powered, however the front doors, unexpectedly, are also powered. It’s here a surprise and delight feature comes into play. When walking up to the car (and ensuring the sedan shaped key fob is on you) the driver’s door will open in greeting. On a wet day this could be a godsend. The fob itself has a hidden button or two, on top and at the rear, which will open/close the tailgate and open/close all five doors. There’s even a spoiler that raises and lowers, ala Bugatti Veyron, hidden in the rear deck.Inside, the cabin is dominated by a touchscreen almost big enough to double as a TV. Sitting in a portrait orientation, this screen is the control centre of any Tesla car, offering information, accessing over the air updates (as was the case during the brief time it was with A Wheel Thing), accessing apps and the radio system and providing startling clarity when using Google Maps. Although given a demonstration by one of the wonderful staff at Tesla’s main Sydney location, the amount of info and how it all operates is somewhat overwhelming, even for a fairly technically literate person. The radio itself is only FM, no DAB, but has TuneIn to compensate. There’s something just a little bit awesome about being able to listen to bluegrass from Georgia in the U.S. or a dedicated Beatles station in Sweden. Audio quality itself is excellent, with the Mark Levinson speakers delivering real clarity, superb low down punch, and vocals that are clean and crisp.There’s a couple of nice touches to the interior. The seats are powered for rear and forward motion at the front, however the middle rows are also powered and have a setting which allows for them to power forward to a certain point to allow access to the second row rear seats. It’s diabolically simple in opertaion and makes utilising both the seats and the door access unbelievably simple. There’s also a huge sloping windscreen which provides a huge amount of forward and upward vision. Fear not, dear driver, you won’t fry like a piece of fresh bacon, for Tesla have embedded enough tint to block UV without losing the wondrous panoramic view. There’s even some tasteful looking carbon fibre trim added in.At the rear left quarter is the housing for the charging cable. Tesla provide an adaptor to suit standard household plugs along with, of course, those that choose to get a supercharger installed at home. Again, it’s just a touch fiddly to get the small hinged flap to open but the actual process of hooking up the cable and seeing a hidden LED glow green to indicate charging is relatively simple of itself.
It’s the drive that sells the Model S and the test car was fitted with the 100 kW/h dual engine package. Yes, “Ludicrous” Mode is on board, accessed via the touchscreen inside the car’s settings, and will help propel the Model S to 100 kph in just 3.8 seconds. There’s also sensational in gear acceleration, with a real punch and license losing potential from 70 kph upwards. It’s literally a feeling of being pushed back into the seat and watching the outside become a blur and allegedly will see the sprint from 70 to 105 in just 1.5 seconds. Yes. It’s that quick.
Here’s why: there’s a 375 kW engine driving the rear wheels, a 193 kW driving the front, which combine to produce a staggering 967 torques. Even though the Model X weighs a more than heft 2500 plus kilos, that torque is on tap instantly. Oh. That Ludicrous mode has an extra bite; press and hold the Ludicrous mode tab on the touchscreen and you’ll be rewarded with a Ludicrous+. BUT you’ll also only save maybe a tenth or two, because, you know, a sub four second 0-100 time that beats supercars like Lamborghini’s Huracan is so passe’….Here we’ll pause for a moment and consider the battery options available. The 75 kWh powertrain will offer (with all battery packs under ideal conditions) up to 417 kilometres. The 90 kWh set will look at489 km. Punch it up to the 100D and Tesla quote a more than reasonable 565 kilometres. Order the supreme pizza, garlic bread, soft drink and free delivery for the P100D and that drops slightly to 542 kilometres. Then there’s seating. In standard trim, the Model X comes as a five seater. Six and seven seater configs are options.You’ll also get a surprisingly nimble, for the mass, vehicle. Being all wheel drive is one thing, but that means zippo if the vehicle doesn’t handle. There’s no problem here, even with those massive 22 inch finned alloys and low profile 255/35 Goodyear rubber hiding red painted and Tesla embossed brake calipers. It does help that the chassis has most of its mass down low, housing the batteries, yet the air suspension is tuned just finely enough to provide a ride that is both comfortable and compliant yet, somehow, imbues the weighty Model X with a sportiness that will appeal to any driver with an idea of how to utilise such a set up. The massive footprint thanks to the tyres and having them pushed out to each corner spreads the mass and really does make the Model X a genuine delight to drive. Oh, that air suspension? yes, it does raise and lower the vehicle, which at a standstill prompted some wide eyes and pointed fingers at traffic lights when trying it (showing off).The steering does lack a measure of feedback straight ahead but does have a tight rack ratio meaning input by the driver is felt straight away and has the Model X responding rapidly. Combined with a gear selector that looks great and requires minimal physical effort to move, it makes getting underway and enjoying the capabilities of the vehicle a doddle.Storage? Glad you asked. Being a design that couples the engines to the wheels directly, it allows the Tesla engineers to build in, somewhat like the read engined Volkswagens, frontal luggage space in what Tesla call a “frunk” or front trunk. There’s plenty behind the rear seats in a compartment and, of course, bottle and cup holders as well.
At The End Of The Drive.
It’s now time for the faint hearted to take a pill, find a nice quiet room, turn off the lights, and start singing “Soft Kitty”.
The driveaway price of the Tesla Model X as tested was $305809.00.
Why? Here’s why. The starting price is $201100, with that all wheel drive system included. The gorgeous blue metallic paint is $1450. The massive aero 22 inch wheels are a tear inducing $8000. The superb and super comfy black leather seats in a six seater configuration are, combined, $7950. No, that’s not a typo.
The carbon fibre trim inlay seems cheap in comparison at $1450. Thankfully the deck spoiler, Ludicrous mode, and the Tesla calipers come as part of the package. That awesome audio I mentioned? $3600. Air ride? Included. Hi amp charger upgrade? Hmmm….$2200. Even the autopilot upgrade system was a staggering $7300. With those and a couple of other inclusions (such as the Premium Equipment pack that self opens the door on approach) it came out at $242100 with GST inclusive.
Now here’s where some muttering and grumbling about taxes will be heard, and rightly so. GST applies here, so from that $242K price, there’s $22K in GST. BUT, on top of that, the Australian Government slugs a LCT or luxury car tax. How much? I’m glad you asked. Let’s say, for the sake of fact, $49972. Then there’s ANOTHER tax called stamp duty, a mere snip at $13705.
The end, drive away, price?
For a driving enthusiast with that kind of coin, it’s a no brainer. You’d have an electric supercar in your driveway in a blink of an eye. For the rest of us? Lotto.
Go here 2017 Tesla Model X information to wish and dream.