As part of the launch of the Tesla Model X, R&T got a brief chance to slide behind the wheel of Elon Musk's personal car. Naturally, the founder gets the big guns: The Model X P90D with Ludicrous Mode. Here's what we learned during an exceedingly brief closed-course test drive.
First off: This thing is crazy fast. Ludicrous Mode promises a scorching 3.2-second 0-60 sprint, with the most sternum-crushing acceleration happening in the first half of that blast. Much like the hottest Model S sedan, the sensation of instant, zero-RPM torque is monumental—and like the Model S, the warp-speed launch is completely drama-free, thanks to electric car silence and all-wheel-drive. I only got a blink-of-an-eye squeal out of a front tire during a Ludicrous Mode launch, most likely due to the choppy pavement of our tiny test loop.
In the few low- to mid-speed corners I was able to take, the Model S handled completely flat. Granted, I wasn't diving for the apexes—not in the CEO's car, thanks, I'd rather not end up in Elon's pirhana pit—but at speeds that would start a "normal" crossover's tires squealing, the Model X was utterly firm.
Ride quality was taut, but not at all punishing over the few dips and chops in the pavement. Like in the Model S, the absence of engine noise made road noise seem more apparent, but overall the experience was quite luxurious.
The overall experience was actually kind of unsettling, at least for the first few minutes. Thanks to a design that puts the majority of the Model X's 5000- pounds as low as possible in the vehicle, the sensation wasn't that of a fast, tall crossover. It felt almost exactly like a buttoned-down sports sedan—just one where you happened to be sitting a foot higher than normal. Imagine hauling around in a Porsche Panamera while sitting on a stack of phone books, and you've got the idea.
We can't wait to do a full drive of this thing.