For some reason, Tesla Motors, a notoriously media-averse company, chose the Canadian International Auto Show to debut its new SUV-styled, fully electric Model X. And this was no local debut, either, but rather the first time the production-spec Model X has been shown at any motor show around the world.
Based on the same fundamental architecture as their famous Model S sedan, the X comes with battery packs fitted in the floor for an ultra-low centre-of-gravity and, as the show’s P90D model is equipped, with one electric motor fitted to each end of the SUV.
Available in 70-, 80-, and 90-kWh battery configurations, the Model X is exclusively available in all-wheel-drive. The most desirable of the range is, of course, the model shown here, the P90D, with its performance-oriented set up, including the infamous optional Ludicrous mode, which is capable of accelerating the SUV from zero to 100 km/h in a supercar-like 3.2 seconds.
The size, shape, and proportions are pure SUV, as well. The X permits more storage than the sedan, although storage in the Model S isn’t a particular shortcoming of the four-door. The taller body style of the X features more storage under the hood than the S – Tesla says the space is good for a pair of golf bags, though that may be a little optimistic – but without a large internal combustion engine in place, the entire front end of the X is engineered as a crumple zone.
Undoubtedly, the signature feature of the Model X is the unique, self-described ‘Falcon Wing’ doors. An alternative to traditional or sliding doors, these two-piece, second-row doors require little space at the sides of the vehicle to open, though you’ll want to measure your garage height to confirm clearance.
Three rows of seating for seven passengers is standard equipment, with the third row folding flat for more storage. The second row will also pivot forward when more cargo room is required.
With the Model X, Tesla has attempted to address the key weak point of the Model S, the mediocre seats. Tesla representatives at the Canadian International Auto Show were quick to blame supplier Recaro for the poor quality seats in the Model S, however the seat specialist company is well regarded as a top-tier OEM seat supplier and aftermarket manufacturer.
The X features an entirely new seat design for front-row passengers – designed by Tesla according to company reps – though they still lack the wide range of adjustments found in conventional automobiles costing in the six figures.
Designed for people with active lifestyles who need generous cargo room, the Model X will also tow a trailer up to 2,268 kilograms, which is coincidentally more than enough to tow an Icon A5 sport aircraft.
According to Tesla representatives we spoke with at the Canadian International Auto Show, the Model X is back-ordered for several months, and Canadian pricing has not yet been set. As displayed in Toronto, expect the Tesla Model X P90D to start in the $150,000 range before local tax incentives are applied.