From Automobile Magazine:
TESLA MODEL X
The family car of the future?
The tesla Model S four-door sedan is scheduled to begin its first deliveries in July. After that, the next Tesla you'll see on the road is a crossover, the Model X. The external size bogey was the Audi Q7, but Tesla boasts that its first crossover beats the Q7 in interior space by 40 percent, and indeed its interior is both enormous and attractive. The "Falcon Wing" rear doors are double-hinged and rise up to seven feet, allowing easy access to the third row.
Surprisingly, even the rearmost row is comfortable for two adults, and it's bright and airy thanks to overhead glass, although it's a bit narrow. The Model X's space coup is that it provides not only an enormous rear trunk but also a commodious and nicely finished cargo hold up front.
What allows all this space is the Model X's electric powertrain. The Tesla crossover will be offered with two battery sizes (60 or 85 kWh, giving a projected range of some 200 and 275 miles, respectively) and with three different powertrains: Base models will have rear-wheel drive and a rear-mounted motor producing 295 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel-drive models add a front-mounted, 148-lb-ft motor that helps drag the big crossover to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds. The third variant, Model X Performance, has more powerful motors (the rear one producing 443 lb-ft and the front more than 150 lb-ft) that shave that time to an incredible 4.4 seconds.
That means it will deliver Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG-type performance but in complete silence -- all you'll hear are the whispered exclamations coming from all six stunned passengers. The Model X has it in the corners, too, with tightly controlled body motions thanks to the floor-mounted battery pack's contribution to a low center of gravity. Tesla is sticking to a conventional brake pedal -- no blended regeneration -- so it, too, promises the feel of a nonhybrid.
Tesla says the steel-bodied crossover shares up to 60 percent of its parts with its sedan brother, and overall range should diminish by only about 10 percent thanks to tremendous efforts paid to minimizing aerodynamic drag. To that end, Tesla is working on readying camera-based sideview mirrors for production to meet or better the sedan's 0.24 coefficient of drag. The images they capture are relayed to the flanks of a large screen that makes up the gauge cluster. A seventeen-inch capacitive touch screen forms the main control center on the center stack, and even the buttons on the steering wheel are OLED touch screens, meaning their functions can be customized by the driver.
The best thing about Tesla is that it's taking performance seriously. The roadster set a high bar, and now the company will have a sedan and a crossover that can brutalize sports cars at real U.S. road speeds. Says one Tesla engineer: "It's pretty cool to be able to do roll-on burnouts at 40 mph." Tesla's rumored next car -- a sedan about the size of a BMW 3-series -- might then be an electric competitor to the M3. Wouldn't that be cool?
What: An all-electric people mover with gull-wing rear doors.
When: Late this year.
Wow: A seventeen-inch touch screen..
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