- Stunning acceleration off the line
- No gears mean uninterrupted oomph
- Less punchy – but still fast – at motorway speeds
The Model X’s twin electric motors deliver maximum performance to the front and rear wheels from the moment you accelerate. We tested the 90D, which promises 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds, with a battery range of 303 miles on the approved NEDC European test cycle.
If anything, the 0-62mph figure undersells the immediate, relentless nature of the acceleration, which slams you back in your seat and – because there are no gears to change – is entirely linear and uninterrupted.
The 75D promises 0-62mph in 6.0 seconds (259 miles range), and while the 100D also records the same 4.8 seconds as the 90D, the range increases to 351 miles. Buyers can step up to the P100D, which includes the Ludicrous Speed Upgrade.
It promises an astonishing 2.9-second 0-60mph time and takes just 1.4 seconds to accelerate from 45-65mph, with a range of 336 miles, assuming it’s being driven gently.
Ultimately, the 90D’s performance is more than adequate, with very strong acceleration even at high motorway cruising speeds, and excellent mid-range flexibility for safe overtaking.
All models are capable of 155mph, except the entry-level 75D, with a maximum of 130mph.
Regenerative braking helps to restore some battery charge, by capturing energy usually lost as a car slows down. This means that quite small lifts off the throttle feel like braking in a normal car. The effect can feel quite unnatural at first, but is easy to acclimatise to.
- All-wheel drive traction is impressive
- Over-eager traction control cuts power too soon
- Handles well for its size, yet lags behind class leaders
Every Model X is supplied with all-wheel drive as standard equipment. It allows the powerful seven-seat SUV to deploy its power with little wheelspin, and makes for safe, sure-footed progress even in very bad weather conditions.
Despite this, hard acceleration from a T-junction can cause the traction control to cut power very abruptly, which is far from ideal – and not particularly safe – when attempting to merge with fast-flowing traffic. A more measured traction control intervention would be welcome here.
The Tesla’s body roll is well-contained, which is important and impressive for a heavy car weighing 2,389kg. However, conventional SUVs such as the Range Rover Sport and Audi Q7 feel more agile and fun to drive. They also have nicer steering – the Tesla’s lacks definition as you move it off-centre, which contributes to a slightly vague feeling.
The Model X’s steering is light and user-friendly, however, making the the Tesla easy to manoeuvre at low speeds in town, and this is not an intimidating SUV to squeeze into a tight parking spot. That’s partly because of the excellent reversing camera, which displays a high-resolution and extremely clear image on the 17-inch touchscreen.