Tesla Model X review: ‘The volume goes up to a Spinal Tap 11’

Tesla Model X photos


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Tesla Model X review: ‘The volume goes up to a Spinal Tap 11’” was written by Martin Love, for The Observer on Sunday 1st October 2017 05.00 UTC

Price: from £70,500 for the 75D
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 4.9 seconds
Range: 351 miles
Tailpipe emissions: 0

Through his massively profitable Tesla corporation, Elon Musk is planning to transform the world not just of motoring but also of power generation (the Gigafactory), space travel (SpaceX), tunnelling (the Boring Company) and even, possibly, time travel (Hyperloop One).

Musk has got an awful lot to do. So while we wait for him to sort it all out, here are 20 things – some good and some quite annoying – about his latest vehicle, the Model X, a futuristic but undeniably faddy family SUV.

1) The powerful electric engine is only about the size of a watermelon.

2) The vast touchscreen is 17in deep and is the biggest fitted in any car. It comes preloaded with Spotify.

3) The rear falcon doors are double hinged and need only 12in to open. They make it very easy to get in and out, especially if you are elderly or have to fit child seats. They are a great show-off feature, but their slow movement means they soon begin to irritate. They also mean you can’t fit a roof rack.

4) You can open or close all four doors by pressing a single button. They each sense obstacles and only open if safe to do so. A leafy bush fooled the system and left me trapped inside.

Inside story: the Model X comes as a five, six or seven seater
Inside story: the Model X comes as a five, six or seven seater

5) The lithium-ion battery pack weighs half a tonne. It looks like one giant battery, but it is made up of 18,650 regular AA-sized batteries.

6) The switchgear (indicator, windscreen control, gear stalk, etc) are from Mercedes-Benz. In the futuristic setting of a super posh Tesla they seem a bit flimsy.

7) Hidden within each car are endless digital Tesla teasers – small features designed to surprise and delight. For instance, you can set the autodrive display to look as if you are on Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road; you can switch the accelerator function from “sport” to “ludicrous”; the volume goes up to a Spinal Tap 11; and you can make the car do a sound and light show. But there’s a fine line between surprise and delight – and stale and a bit childish.

8) It takes 75 minutes to fully charge the Model X using a purpose-built supercharger, and costs about £9.

9) If you choose a destination beyond its range, the Model X plots a route to leapfrog from one charger to the next.

Up front: the huge windscreen of the Model X means the cabin is flooded with light. Note also the 17in touchscreen and digital dashboard
Up front: the huge windscreen of the Model X means the cabin is flooded with light. Note also the 17in touchscreen and digital dashboard

10) Car functionality is updated remotely – just like on a smartphone – with “constant air updates”.

11) The “Big Sky” windscreen is the largest single piece of glass on any production car on the road.

12) If you have the key fob in your pocket, the driver’s door will automatically open as you approach.

13) The central cubby is crappily finished and the lid doesn’t fit well.

14) The charge port is disguised as part of the rear light. It automatically opens when it detects the power hose.

15) You can close the driver’s door by putting your foot on the brake pedal.

16) Using an app on your phone you can check the battery charge, lock and unlock the doors, control the temperature, locate your car on Google Maps and even reverse the car in or out of a parking space while standing on the pavement.

17) The sun visors are tiny and don’t work. But they are magnetic.

18) If you indicate while cruising, the car will change lanes on its own.

19) There is a secret compartment under the front bumper to fool thieves hunting inside for precious things like wallets and purses. Though now they know…

20) A medical grade filter ensures the car is free from pollen, bacteria and pollution. There is also a bio-weapon defence mode that can totally seal the cabin.

Haynes explains the world we live in

Making sense of the modern world: eight new Haynes Explains titles
Making sense of the modern world: eight new Haynes Explains titles

Haynes has helped generations of us with our filters and big ends – those lovely cutaway diagrams making their way from the ever useful manuals on to T-shirts and teatowels. But having guided us around the working parts of our cars, Haynes has now decided to tackle some of the bigger topics in our lives.

The Haynes Explains author Boris Starling has been busy and has written eight witty new parodies. Making the ideal gift thanks to Boris’s amusing spin on Haynes’ inimitable style, the eight new brilliantly observed manuals are based on a strip-down and rebuild of a particular ‘model’. They cover a whole raft of important subjects, including a jovial but affectionate look at The French, Germans, Americans and The British. Meanwhile for those looking to decipher the mechanics behind daily life, four additional titles include Christmas, Pets, Football and The Home.

These eight latest titles in the range join four other Haynes Explains books which launched last year comprising Babies, Teenagers, Marriage and Pensioners. Packed full of exploded views, flow charts, ‘fault diagnosis’ and the occasional ‘wiring diagram’, each manual contains a wide-array of tongue-in-cheek information for you to digest, discuss and enjoy.

They cost £6.99 each and are available from bookshops and online at haynes.co.uk.

Email Martin at martin.love@observer.co.uk or follow him on Twitter @MartinLove166

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