You can’t have a Formula 1 car in your garage, much less for everyday use, but you can own one. Tesla SUV. This comparison seems absurd, but it is not – at least for Elon Musk. Earlier this year, the head of the electric car maker posted the following statement on his Twitter account: “An SUV that is faster than an F1 car.” “Bolide” in question is Model X Plaid of 1,020 hp.
And that claim is based on its acceleration from zero to 96 km/h (60 mph), which is done in 2.5 seconds, while that of an F1 car occurs in 2.6 s. At least that’s what Musk says.
Do you want to see the car? Autoesporte exclusively tested the Tesla Model X Plaid in Brazil. And believe me, having 1,020 hp is just one of the surreal things about this body.
Forget almost everything you already know about the car. Starting with a key, since the subject of this article does not have one. All orders can be made through the Tesla app on a mobile phone.
It is even possible to open four doors through their buttons built into the bodywork, but there is a more practical way. Just open the car map in the Tesla app and click once on the two front doors and they will open automatically. And in the case of the driver, there is more advanced technology.
With a smartphone, which can be in your pocket, not necessarily in your hand, you just have to get close to the door to open itself. When you sit in the seat and step on the brake pedal, it locks automatically.
Just one click: You can unlock the doors using the Tesla app on your mobile phone – Photo: Disclosure
Now, let’s talk about the gull-wing doors, which are a show on their own. It’s also triggered by the app’s map: when you click once, it automatically opens in five seconds – which is really fast!
But you may wonder: “If the Tesla is standing in a very closed space or very close to a wall, will the door open when opening?”. The answer to that question is “no”.
The doors are equipped with sensors that detect the proximity of objects, sides and height. Therefore, it moves at several different angles to avoid any bumps.
Tesla Model X Plaid’s top speed is electronically limited to 262 km/h — Photo: Disclosure
During our test, we placed the car very close to the Model X Plaid, simulating a comfortable place in a supermarket or mall; in fact, the system correctly read the location and opened the door without touching another vehicle. In this case, the complete opening takes a little time, as it is necessary to correctly calculate the cycle. However, it doesn’t even take 10 seconds…
I am 1.87m tall and had no problem getting into the back of the SUV. That’s because the gullwing door leaves plenty of room for passengers to reach, as you can see in the photo above.
The Tesla Model X can be configured for up to seven passengers. The unit we tested has six seats. The surprising thing is that each bench is individual and the comfort is worthy of an armchair in the living room. On top of that, there is still an electric adjustment for space and heating – in front there is also a cooler.
$170,000 in the US: Through free import, the SUV costs more than R$1 million in Brazil — Photo: Disclosure
A wheelbase of 2.96 meters ensures good leg room. Still on the back seat there are two USB-C ports and a large 8-inch touchscreen, and various services are available, including streaming platforms. The coolest thing, however, is the digital weather.
The temperature is the same for all residents, but each can choose the wind direction they want. When opening the configurator, the screen shows two front results of the system; and each passenger, with his finger on the screen, commands a millimeter of air in the direction they want.
To reach the third row of seats you can press the button on the seats in the second row: it automatically goes forward and opens the space. However, in the absence of a middle seat in the second row, there is a type of aisle that also provides access to the last two seats of the car. I even tried to sit there, but a grown man cannot travel comfortably. In fact, two children should take the place.
With the third row of seats down, the trunk of the Model X Plaid is 2,180 liters. — Photo: Disclosure
The resemblance to F1 goes beyond the pointless acceleration. At the front, the steering wheel is guided by the joy of the plane, but it is impossible to look and not remember the steering wheel of cars in the world’s main motorsport community. Most impressive, however, is the large 21-inch multimedia center screen. And, to get a better idea of how all this works, there is no one better than the car owner, who uses it every day, to explain.
Entrepreneur Breno Masi, CEO of Afterverse, a gaming company of the Movile group, is undoubtedly one of the biggest Tesla enthusiasts in the country. He has easily owned all the cars of the brand: Model S, Model 3, Model Y and now he is the only Model X Plaid in Brazil. He still bought two Cybertrucks, but is awaiting their arrival, still without a date.
There is also a small compartment under the hood with a volume of 145 liters – Image: Explanation
“Through the screen of the multimedia center 21, you can control everything about the car, such as suspension adjustments, seats, lighting system, driving style and many other things. That’s all! And as soon as you get into the car, the system is ready you introduce yourself through the Tesla app and adjust everything automatically”, explains Breno.
When someone buys a Tesla car, they have to download an app and create their profile, just like we do when we buy a new cell phone. In addition to the modification of the car configuration and services, such as the start key, it is also possible to perform various functions remotely. Like, for example, starting a car in the United States.
Tesla only: No integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Tesla system only – Image: Disclosure
“There is no small area to control the car. I have another Tesla, in the United States, entered in my profile. If I want to open the doors, turn on ten cameras or even start the car, I can do it right now, here in Brazil. And if I run out of charge on my cell phone here and there is no way to start the car, my wife can do it for me through her profile on the Tesla app”, says the businessman.
When we went out for the test, we turned onto the highway and activated Autopilot via a button on the steering wheel. In the map diagram on the instrument panel, with a 12.3-inch screen, this system recognizes almost everything on the road: traffic lights, traffic signs, traffic lights, cars, trucks, pedestrians, animals and even some objects. The butterflies in the stomach are big, but the system drives perfectly, without causing any panic.
The driver can choose a higher speed and the system will understand the right time to accelerate and brake. However, if you are on a road where the speed limit is 120 km/h and enter another where the maximum speed allowed is 80 km/h, for example, the system will not understand, setting a maximum speed of 120 km/h. In such cases, the driver must make these changes manually.
The Tesla Model X Plaid has a simple finish, but with refinement – Photo: Disclosure
Another important detail is that the system does not detect radar on the road. It will show the maximum road speed on the instrument panel, but it will not automatically break when passing the radar.
One more feature of the Tesla that requires human intervention with Autopilot involved is lane changes. In this case, the driver must choose the direction of the arrow and the car will make changes entirely by itself. The sensor will recognize that there is another car nearby, it waits to execute the maneuver in time and safely.
And how to disable Autopilot? When the car is driving freely, obviously the driver needs to keep his hands on the steering wheel. However, it cannot make any disturbance in the trajectory. From the moment he does this, the system will automatically turn off and driving will return to the driver’s role. Another way to turn off the system is to step on the brake.
In normal driving mode and with Autopilot off, just step on the accelerator: the start is surreal. There is 140 kgfm of torque instantly – and there is little care because, despite looking like a family car (and it is!), its performance is that of a super sports car with a V12 engine.
Tesla Model X Plaid can be configured with 6 or 7 seats – Photo: Disclosure
That’s why I nicknamed the car “supersonic seagull”. The metaphor refers to model doors and Elon Musk’s desire to put people inside a capsule, called Hyperloop, and transport them through tunnels at incredible speed (1,235 km/h).
Even with an insignificant power of more than 1,000 hp, the SUV has 535 km of autonomy. Breno has an 11.5 kW Wallbox charger in his house that charges the battery from zero to 100% in ten hours. Traveling in the state of São Paulo, he says he doesn’t have much trouble finding charging stations.
Brutally quiet, this Tesla SUV is pretty cool. Apart from being the only model available in Brazil, it was the first car that I had an independent experience on the road. So I can say for sure: I not only tested the Tesla Model X Plaid, but I was also tempted by it.
Tesla Model X Plaid
|Price: 170,000 euros|
|Motor: three electric motors; two on the rear axle and one on the front axle|
|Power: 1,020 hp|
|Torque: 140 kgfm|
|Suspension: Indep. double A (front) and indep. multilink (tra.)|
|Brakes: Ventilated discs|
|Tires: 265/35 R22|
|Distance: 535 km (WLTP)|
|Battery position: Car floor|
|Charging time: 10 hours (Wall box 11.5 kWh)|
|Trunk: 1,280 liters (manufacturer)|
|Weight: 2,585 kg|
|Media Center: 21-inch, horizontal touchscreen, Tesla-only system connectivity|
|Height: 4.95 meters|
|Width: 1.97 m|
|Height: 1.69 m|
|Between the axles: 3 m|
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