The Production Tesla Model X Emerges from the Shadows

Tesla Model X Signature Specs
Source: Tesla via InsideEVs

We’ve known that Tesla would be releasing the Model X crossover SUV as a followup to its incredibly popular Model S sedan, and we’ve heard it will be coming before the end of 2015, but other than that, there haven’t been very many details available.

Finally, though, thanks to details emerging thanks to a special preview given to special Tesla Signature reservation holders, we are finding out some pretty juicy details as presented by InsideEVs.

First, while some people were speculating that the Model X might cost slightly less than the current Model S, those people are quite wrong. The Signature edition of the Model X will start at $132,000 and top out at $144,000. Buyers interested in a regular Model X can expect theirs to start out closer to $107,000, though.

There will also probably be future versions with smaller battery packs that will be even cheaper, but the only Model X that will be available at launch is the 90 kWh version. If you’re on a budget, that might be a problem, but the trade-off is that the Model X has some serious power – like, supercar levels of power.

259 horsepower goes to the front wheels, which might not sound like a lot until you find out there’s an additional 503 horsepower being sent to the rear wheels. That means the Model X makes a combined 762 horsepower and is incredibly rear-biased in its power delivery. Tesla claims it can hit 60 miles per hour in just 3.8 seconds, and its top speed is 155 miles per hour.

If you’re willing to spend an extra $10,000 (and why wouldn’t you be?), you can get the Ludicrous Package. That package drops the Model X’s zero-to-60 time down to 3.2 seconds. If you happen to be interested in drag racing your electric SUV, you’ll also be able to run the quarter-mile in 11.7 seconds. In case you’re curious, that’s just a tick off the quarter-mile pace of the Dodge Challenger Hellcat.

If you drive like the responsible citizen, the Model X also promises 240 miles of range on a single charge. With 762 horsepower, though, you probably won’t drive responsibly enough to get 240 miles out of a charge. Accelerating like a madman is just too much fun.

Tesla Model X Signature Interior
Source: Tesla via Tesla Motors Club

There’s also a $750 towing package that gives you a 5,000-pound towing capacity in case you need that. Finally, anyone living in a cold-weather area will appreciate the Subzero Weather Package. Sure, it costs $1,000, but the entire car gets heated seats, the steering wheel gets heated, and you also get wiper blade defrosters. In the middle of January, I have a feeling New Englanders will appreciate the Subzero Weather Package.

The question is, though, what makes a Signature Edition Model X worth $25,000 more than a regular version? Other than being the one you can buy first, it comes with “Autopilot Convenience Features” like self parking and automatic lane steering. It gets an air suspension that’s promises to be both smart and have a GPS memory, a fancy sound system with satellite radio, a fancied-up interior, a power liftgate, and ventilated leather seats.

In all, it looks like the Model X takes everything the Model S does well and improves on it. Buyers will especially appreciate the upgraded interior now that the Model S is starting to show its age. For a car that maxes out close to $150,000, it’s important for the interior to feel significantly more special than the one you would get on a $50,000 or $60,000 car.

At this price, though, buyers are going to have to be extremely well-to-do in order to afford even a base version of the Model X. Tesla’s found a market for itself, but I wonder how many Model X buyers will be new to the Tesla family and how many will already be Tesla owners looking to either replace their Model S or add another Tesla to their garage.

Then again, luxury SUVs are even more popular than luxury sedans these days, and if Lincoln can charge $70,000 for the Navigator, I don’t doubt that Tesla can convince people to pay more than $100,000 for an all-electric luxury SUV that can hold its own against a Hellcat.

Even if unlimited demand exists, Tesla is going to have to get production going in order to actually make any money off of the Model X. There’s a lot that can go wrong between now and when the first vehicles begin rolling off the assembly line, and even Tesla’s eight-year warranty won’t be able to keep people happy if quality issues or production delays plague the first deliveries.

As much as the Internet loves a good disaster story, I do hope Tesla can pull this one off. It’s hard not to pull for an American startup, especially one that builds electric drag monsters like the Model S P90D and the Model X.

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