Tesla has once again shaken the electric passenger car market with the launch of the Model S and Model X Plaid. While the bulk of the focus is on the Model S, the SUV also gets a rather extensive update.
Let’s talk about the new Plaid model. This is now the new range-topping model, and its introduction effectively replaces the outgoing Performance variant. Like the Model S, the SUV gets three electric motors that make 1,020 hp, enough for it to do the 0-96 km/h sprint in a blistering 2.5 seconds. Top speed is rated at 262 km/h, and a full charge provides up to 547 km of range.
Those who can make do with a little less performance can opt for the updated Model X Long Range, too. This guy gets a dual-motor setup with a peak power of 670 hp, thus doing the 0-96 km/h dash in 3.7 seconds. Its estimated range is 579 km between charges.
Battery technology is also said to be new, but not much details have been revealed as yet. We already know that Tesla is working on a more efficient shingle-lattice load-bearing battery, which would eventually replace the traditional battery with cylindrical cells. Expect an update on this, soon.
Meanwhile, cosmetic changes for the new Model X include a new front bumper, chrome delete, reprofiled front bumper, new diffuser, and chunky 22-inch alloy wheels. The subtle styling revisions also see its drag coefficient drop to 0.25 Cd, making it the most aerodynamic SUV currently in production, the automaker says.
Unlike the exterior, the cabin refresh is much more pronounced. To start, there’s a new digital instrument cluster, a huge 17-inch widescreen infotainment system with multi-device Bluetooth functionality, four wireless smartphone charging trays, and USB-C fast-charging ports. A 22-speaker, 960-watt premium audio system with sound cancelling technology can also be specified.
There’s also a separate display mounted at the back of the centre tunnel, so rear passengers get to watch films or play video games. Interestingly, Tesla claims that the display offers up to 10 teraflops of graphical processing power, making it just as powerful as the new PlayStation 5 and XBox consoles. Reports suggest that the chip is supplied by AMD, but this has yet to be confirmed.
Seating configuration remains unchanged, so customers get to choose between a five-, six- or seven-seat layout. The five-seater variant offers a whopping 2,577 litres of boot space when the rear bench is folded flat. Other changes include wood trimmings for the dashboard and door cards, and of course the new aviation-inspired steering wheel.
In terms of safety, there are also updates made to the autonomous driving (Autopilot) system. Besides being able to drive itself on highways, the system now includes “on-ramp to off-ramp” support, as well as automatic lane changing. Its Autopark function has also improved, now enabling parallel and perpendicular parking with a single touch of a button. Prices start from US$83,190 (RM337k) for the Long Range to US$113,190 (RM459k) for the Plaid.
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