It was a longer journey than Tesla expected when it first showed us the Model X Concept back in 2012, but the production model of the electric crossover has finally flapped its wings.
Revealed during a fan-filled event at its Fremont, California factory on Tuesday night, the new Model X packs some pretty impressive specs and features under a body that, cosmetically speaking, might be a little bit too much of a BMW 5-Series GT-meets-SUV kind of pill for some motorists to swallow.
Regardless of what you think about its design and shape, you cannot deny that the Model X has a lot going for it, starting from the fact that it’s the world’s first ever series-production, electric SUV.
Tesla founder and CEO, Elon Musk, outlined some of its innovative features during the event today, including, of course, its signature ‘Falcon Wings’ doors that are mounted on two joints and come with built-in ultrasonic sensors to detect nearby objects. Musk even parked an Audi Q7 and a Honda Odyssey closely next to the Model X to demonstrate how the doors open in tight spaces and how they easily allow passengers to get in and out of the car.
Even the driver’s front door has a nifty feature, as it can open and close automatically when you approach it – we’re not sure if the same applies to the passenger door as Tesla had not provided a press release at the time this piece was completed.
If you’re still not impressed, how about the air-conditioning system that has… a “Bio-weapon Defense” mode (no really, look at the pictures) that stops bacteria and viruses from entering the interior, or the panoramic windshield that curves into the roof?
No? Then the fact that it can transport up to seven passengers in three rows of seats, complete with plenty of their luggage in the front and rear boots, while also having a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds or 2,268 kg, and being able to hit 60mph (96km/h) in as low as 3.2 seconds must surely grab your attention.
Musk also said that he expects the Model X to get 5-star NHTSA crash safety ratings in all segments, including rollover avoidance, which would be a first in the SUV and minivan categories.
From Tesla’s configurator, we know that the Model X will initially launch in two flavors, both with all-wheel drive. Currently, the entry-level model is the 90D with a 0-60mph time of 4.8 seconds and an EPA-rated range of 257 miles (413km).
The other available model at launch will be the PD90 with the “Ludicrous Speed Package” that hits 60mph in 3.8 seconds or 3.2 seconds and the quarter mile in a 707hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat-rivaling time of 11.7 seconds with the Ludicrous Speed upgrade. It has a driving range of 250 miles (402 km) with a full charge. In this form, the Model X sports a 259hp front electric motor and a 503hp rear motor.
Other notable features include an air-suspension with five settings providing up to nine inches or 230mm of ride height, an available hitch capable of carrying up to four bikes or six sets of skis that can be hooked up in a matter of seconds, an Autopilot self-parking system, two flat-folding third row seats, and “independently operable, 3-adult second row seats”.
We’re still waiting for full pricing, but the P90D “Signature Series” launch version with a 90kWh battery was said to start from $132,000 or $142,000 with the ‘Ludicrous Speed Package’, not including a $7,500 Federal tax credit.
Until we get more information in our hands, check out the gallery from tonight’s event along with a first-drive video, courtesy of The Verge right past the jump.