2018 Tesla Model X 100D Review
We had the keys to one of the most hotly anticipated SUVs of late, the Tesla Model X 100D and were thrilled to give it a try.
What’s the 2018 Tesla Model X 100D all about?
Tesla is one of the most legendary runaway successes in the automotive world ever since it matured. Some might say that it has shaken up the automobile market for good, and will be the maverick leading the charge as vehicle producers migrate to pure EV power.
The Model S – their first serious venture after the original Roadster – is one hell of a car and marked Tesla as a serious contender in the modern automotive world. A feat that can’t be undermined considering just how difficult it is to break into the automobile market.
Therefore, as Tesla releases the Model X, we should scrutinise it thoroughly as it may represent the cars of the future. As it mixes the lucrative and massively popular SUV segment and EV power, is the Model X the Tesla that will sell in Britain?
The Model X adopts much of the same style that the Model S follows. It has an understated, minimalistic yet sleek design, but being an SUV it’s more like an inflated Model S. The body line evokes an ‘SUV coupe’, a fad also demonstrated by the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and BMW X6.
The front of the car has an inoffensive design. That said, I find the lack of a large grille somewhat peculiar. Finished in ‘Deep Blue Metallic’, a £1,400 muted but characterful blue and paired with 20″ silver ‘Slipstream’ wheels, our test Model X looks very subtle as it rolls along the road.
Powered by a 100 kWh battery and two motors, one at the front and one at the back, the Tesla Model X’s output is hard to quantify in terms of horsepower. That said, I believe it’s equivalent to 259 horsepower and 329 Nm of torque per motor.
Power is delivered through a single final drive gear on both motors, therefore spinning all four wheels. This propels our humble Model X 100D from 0-60 mph in just 4.7 seconds, onto a top speed of presumably 155 mph, as no official figures have been revealed.
Being EV, it emits 0 g/km of CO2, while mustering an inconceivable amount of mpg. However, the 100 kWh battery is rated to provide the Model X 100D with 351 miles of range, which is not too bad by any standards.
Of course, being a Tesla, you can always opt for the ‘P’ model. That single letter transforms the Model X into an SUV that’s capable of upstaging supercars. In fact, the Model X P100D will sprint to 62 mph from a standstill in 2.9 seconds. That’s quicker than an Audi R8 and Acura NSX, and it will keep pace with a Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 and a Ferrari 488 GTB. This is despite it being a seven-seater SUV.
How does it drive?
We have driven a Model S over a long distance before, so we’re not diving into a noiseless powertrain for the first time. But Tesla vehicles always provide an intoxicating experience and the torque feels limitless.
The Model X, even without all the performance enhancements Tesla only endow on their P models, is ruthless if you push the throttle. However, it remains calm if you handle the throttle with restraint.
Of course, without any major moving parts in the powertrain, the cabin of the Model X is very refined. It’s eerily muted inside the car with absolutely zero powertrain vibrations. Without any transmission to work with, it’s a very straightforward SUV to drive.
And somehow, despite it being a hefty SUV at 2.5-tonnes, it remains composed around corners. This is thanks to Tesla’s strategy of preserving a car-like handling by locating the batteries in the middle of the vehicle.
With the car’s weight being very low down, the centre of gravity stays close to the road. It feels secure and stable, exhibiting little body roll when compared to conventional SUVs.
The Model X has very solid handling, as the 245/45 r20 Michelin Latitude Sport 3 tyres do a fantastic job in gripping the road surface sufficiently, allowing this heavy vehicle to feel planted in the corners, brake in good time and accelerate at mind-boggling speeds.
Of course, being an electric car means that the Model X is an exceptional cruiser. The suspension is designed to be firmer, no mean feat given the large size of the vehicle. But it copes with obstacles well, negotiating rough terrain and swiftly settling after bumps. On a smooth road, the ride quality is incredible and it feels as if you are floating above the ground!
When you get to the motorway, you can really see the appeal of an EV. It will rack up the miles while producing zero noise in the cabin: the most you can hear is a hint of wind whirr and tyre roar. And of course, being a Tesla, under the right circumstances it can drive itself. In the UK Tesla models have autopilot which can maintain the distance from the car in front and hold the lane on the motorway. To change lanes, you need to indicate, then the car will check it is safe and make the manoeuvre for you. The system works incredibly well. However, it is worth noting that at the moment this is an assistive system and not hands-off technology.
If you are interested in Tesla models, then you will want to learn about charging the car. The technology giant operates a network of superchargers, which are capable of charging the car at the fastest possible rate. You will soon discover that it depends on a lot of variables. But they can charge the battery at around 300 miles per hour when connected. Other operators offer a 50KW rapid charger that you can use with a CHAdeMO adapter, in order to charge around 140 miles an hour.
At hotels and shopping centres, you are likely to find 22kw chargers that will charge at around 40 miles per hour, taking around six hours to fully charge the car.
For charging at home, Tesla offers a Tesla Wall Connector, which is suitable for overnight charging. Depending on your connection to the power grid, they can charge up to 22 miles per hour or up to 34 miles per hour. Tesla can advise you which product would be most suitable for your home charging needs.
What is it like inside?
Forget your expectations of other modern luxury vehicles because the Model X has an entirely different feel.
Our test unit complements the exterior aesthetics nicely. It is upholstered in high quality ‘Black Premium’ executive leather and the chairs are very comfortable and offer solid support.
Despite being tech-savvy, Tesla models do not skimp on design quality and the Model X is an exercise in impeccable minimalism.
Incorporating a massive 17″ touchscreen infotainment system, the controls are intuitive and very responsive to inputs. It’s a joy to use, and Tesla has also snuck in some crowd-pleasers, such as the infamous ‘Celebration mode’.
The instrument cluster is a big digital display too, with solid clarity. Essentially, the only place you’ll find physical buttons is on the steering wheel. Almost everything else has been tucked away neatly within the infotainment system. That may not appeal to everyone, though.
Of course, being an SUV, space isn’t a concern at the front of the vehicle. With ample headroom and legroom, it’ll fit adults of all sizes. There is also a generous amount of small item storage, with two central cupholders built into the armrests and two more adjustable ones in the lower storage unit.
At the back though, the Model X comes into its own. Officially referred to as ‘Falcon Wings’, the rear doors are actually hinged at the roof, and (get this!) inside the door itself. Using a joint between the roof and the door, it allows the rear doors more flexibility, so it can open even in very tight spaces.
And since the door opening is also quite long and the rear seats can recline and slide forward, it is surprisingly easy to climb into the rearmost bench too. Of course, this is only applicable if you opt for the seven-seater variant, which you do have to stump up for.
It also offers plenty of passenger room, with generous head and legroom, which is unexpected from its coupe-like body. The rearmost seats are also surprisingly roomy, meaning that the Model X is a bona fide seven-seater, rather than a glorified five-seater with rear child seats.
Open up the boot, and you’ll find plenty of luggage room. You can always press the button to fold the rearmost seats to get even more space.
If that’s still not enough, the lack of an internal combustion engine means that the bonnet is empty and serves as an additional storage space.
Driving the Model X reveals what is possible with electric vehicles. While I enjoyed the thrill of the previous model, I find it pleasing that Tesla has been able to embody the Model S’ spirit in the much larger Model X. Their driving characteristics are very similar, but the Model X has more interior space, making it more practical. Having the adjustable ride height, I found the car to be capable of exploring some of the most demanding country roads in the UK during my testing. It is a real trailblazer and very comfortable.
Price of the Tesla Model X
Of course, there’s always a caveat, and with Tesla that’s the price tag. Our test Model X, including VAT and a £4,500 UK Government EV grant, will cost £98,650. But even the base Model X 75D will come in at £68,000, before VAT. It is a lot to shell out, but it’s worth it as this is one hell of a car!
Of course, the cost probably isn’t that big of an issue if you’re considering something like the Model X. In its segment, nothing can come close to what it offers: pure EV experience with SUV practicality.
If you’re someone who just wants a vehicle that’s competent, pragmatic and leisurely, then the Tesla Model X 100D will be the ideal choice for you. It’s a lot of car for a lot of money, and it will serve as quite the introduction to the EV world.
2018 Tesla Model X 100D Specs
- Price: £98,650 as tested w/ VAT & government grant
- Engine: 2 electric motors
- Power: Each motor outputs 259 hp
- Torque: 329 Nm per motor
- Transmission: 1-speed drive
- Weight: 2,458 kg
- Economy combined: 351 miles rated total range of 100 kWh battery
- CO2: 0 g/km