► An in-depth walkaround of the new Model X SUV
► Six or seven seats, distinctive ‘Falcon Wing’ doors
► 257-mile range, on sale in the UK from late 2016
If there was an award for the busiest stand at the 2016 Geneva motor show, there were few more hectic than Tesla's, which showcased the brand new electric SUV attempting to shake up the crossover scene: the new Model X.
It’s the largest new member of the fledgling Tesla family and is built on the same platform as the Model S saloon. CAR was granted special access at Geneva for an in-depth, hands-on review of the Tesla Model X. Is it enough to tempt buyers away from their Porsche Cayennes, BMW X5s and Range Rover Sports?
Sporting futuristic looks, the latest in-car tech and some mind-boggling headline figures, the all-electric Model X is quite possibly the most revolutionary SUV yet – here are six reasons why.
1) Great Scott! Look at those doors!
Nicknamed in-house as ‘bird in flight’, those upward-opening rear doors are the Model X’s most eye-catching feature. Automatically opened and closed via the key fob, and controlled by six sensors installed under the skin, the double-hinged doors can adjust their movement by up to 30cm depending on objects around them. So if you open it up in a cramped supermarket car park, they'll still open up without knocking cars next door or the roof above - and buckling in a child seat will be a doddle.
Electric movement is not limited to the rear doors, either; the fronts also offer a neat trick: if you press the brake pedal, they will close automatically, and they can be opened hands-free. Prepare for some traffic-stopping street theatre every time you park up.
2) Bringing a new meaning to the term ‘light and airy’
One of the key features of the new Model X is the enormous curved windscreen, which extends over the driver’s head, panoramic-style. UV-protected glass ensures the cabin doesn’t overheat or get too cold in winter, the large windscreen allows impressive visibility of the road around you – and it looks pretty cool too.
It's one of the lightest and airiest cabins of any SUV we've sat in. Goldfish will love it!
3) The fastest SUV you can buy
Three versions of the Model X will be available to buy in Europe. The range-topping P90D will complete the 0-62mph sprint in just 3.2 seconds, if the aptly named Ludicrous Speed package is installed, making it the fastest SUV you can currently buy. Even without this option it’ll complete the same dash in just 3.8 seconds – impressive stuff.
There’s a 255bhp front motor and a 496bhp rear motor in play, while a 90 kWh battery pack provides up to 257 miles of estimated range – although your mileage may vary. The floor-mounted battery lowers the car’s centre of gravity so, according to Tesla, the risk of rollover is about half that of any other vehicle in its class. There’s an array of safety features including collision prevention systems and automatic emergency braking, active even at motorway speeds, too.
Much has been done to maximise aerodynamics on the road including a huge air duct at the front of the car and an automatic spoiler which adjusts three ways depended on the speed you go – the brake light is also integrated into the spoiler.
4) ‘Help! I own a caravan...’
Offering 2268kg of towing capacity, the Model X should accommodate most small caravans and trailers – another first for an electric car. Dual-motor all-wheel drive is standard across the range. Perfect for creeping silently around the campsite at midnight as you try and relocate your pitch to avoid noisy neighbours.
5) Six- or seven-seat configurations for families of all sizes
You can buy the Model X as a six- or seven-seat car (in the former configuration, the middle seat in the second row is deleted). We were surprised at just how much space is on offer in the third row – only six-footers will struggle for head and legroom.
The third row folds flat at the touch of a button, offering up more boot space if needed and the second row of seats can also be reclined. It's the most practical Tesla yet, we'd say, having nestled inside all three rows of seats.
6) Uncluttered cabin
Built on the same platform as the Model S, the new X incorporates many of the infotainment features of its smaller sibling. The enormous 17in touchpad system dominates the minimal, modern dash - and has to be seen to be believed. Interior quality is hard to fault, and there’s even a 'bio-defence filter' which cleans out air pollution and viruses.
We’ll start seeing the Model X on UK roads by the end of 2016. The firm is keeping tight-lipped on pricing at the moment, however the Model X is already on sale in the US and starts at $80,000. Insiders suggest UK prices will be directly comparable, so expect prices to start around the £56,000-£60,000 mark.
Would you buy a Tesla Model X? Be sure to sound off in the comments below!
Read more of CAR’s 2016 Geneva motor show coverage here
Click here for CAR’s A-Z guide to the 2016 Geneva motor show