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Tesla Model X SUV makes its Australian debut | video

2016 Tesla Model X

The world's fastest SUV has made its first Australian appearance, with Tesla showcasing the Model X in Sydney today.

Weighing almost 2.5 tonnes and measuring 5037mm end-to-end the Model X is heavier and longer than a BMW X5 or Mercedes-Benz GLE, but it's also quicker. When fitted with the optional Ludicrous Mode the top-of-the-range P100D can launch itself from 0-100km/h in 3.1 seconds – as fast as a Ferrari F12, and able to seat seven people.

Australian pricing for the Model X was announced earlier this month with the range kicking off at $122,812.20 for the 60D. The P100D was announced just today, with pricing yet to be released.

Built on a slightly longer 'skateboard chassis' than the Model S sedan, the Model X P100D is all-wheel drive with an electric 193kW/330Nm motor at front axle and 375kW/600Nm at the rear with the batteries stored under the floor. Range for the P100D is officially 542km.

Visually, the Model X's most distinguishing characteristic is its 'falcon wing' doors which open upwards.  Fully automatic, the doors open with a touch of the door handle or can be set to open as the driver approaches.

 

  • 2016 Tesla Model X. Picture credit: Matthew Hatton. 2016 Tesla Model X. Picture credit: Matthew Hatton.
  • 2016 Tesla Model X. Picture credit: Matthew Hatton. 2016 Tesla Model X. Picture credit: Matthew Hatton.
  • 2016 Tesla Model X. Picture credit: Matthew Hatton. 2016 Tesla Model X. Picture credit: Matthew Hatton.

Using sensors on the roof and doors the Model X will judge the amount of space above and either side and open to avoid bumping other cars or low ceilings. The double hinged doors can open safely even with just 30cm of space either side of it.

While deliveries of the Model X won't take place until the end of this year or possibly early 2017, two left-hand drive versions were on hand at today's Sydney event.

With no engine under the bonnet the front trunk or "frunk" offers more room than that in the Model S – enough for two golf bags according to Tesla.

The Model X comes standard with five seats, but buyers can option seating for six and seven people. The examples in Sydney today were equipped with six seats (2+2+2). Leg and headroom in the second row is excellent for this 191cm correspondent, while space in the third row is understandably suited to shorter occupants.

All seats in the second and third rows were fitted with ISOFIX child seat mounts and top tether anchor points. The Model X is likely the first model on sale in Australia with ISOFIX mounts in the third row.

There's cupholders in the third row and front row but none in the second. You won't find bottle holders in the falcon doors for obvious gravity-related reasons.

The third row also has touch-sensitive lighting and air vents.

Cargo space with the third row in place is limited – as with most seven-seat SUVs, but the back seats do fold flat to open up more room. With no engine under the bonnet the front trunk or "frunk" offers more room than that in the Model S – enough for two golf bags according to Tesla.

Ausrtralian Model Xs will come standard with 20-inch alloy wheels, with 22 inch rims optional.

Tesla has been taking reservations for the Model X since late 2014.

Tesla is known for its extravagant options, however, the list and pricing is yet to be released for local models.

There was a driving element to today's launch event, which involved being chauffeured through the carpark. It did include a straight-line acceleration demonstration which - just like the Model S – felt brutally quick with full torque arriving instantly.

Tesla has been taking reservations for the Model X since late 2014 - $1500 allowed interested buyers to place themselves in a queue to be contacted by Tesla to place an order. Later this week Tesla's online configurator will go live and allow people to tailor their Model X online.

Tesla spokesman Heath Walker said that orders placed today would be fulfilled before the middle of next year, and expects the Model X to outsell the Model S.

"The luxury SUV market is five times larger than the sedans. The demand generally for SUVs in this country is like a graph which is going straight up," Walker said.

"A lot of people have just been waiting for the Model X, which is a real surprise, because I think the Model S offers what's in this vehicle, but it's the ride height that's the real difference.

The fact that we haven't got the seven-seat option in the Model S in this country makes the Model X a bigger drawcard for larger families or those that do want that extra seating."

Will the Model X be your next family car? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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