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Tesla’s Model X THE WORLD’S FIRST Luxury Electric SUV

THE WORLD’S FIRST luxury electric SUV is gorgeous. It’s futuristic. And once again, Tesla Motors is redefining the electric vehicle.

The Silicon Valley automaker has teased us for years with the Model X, and tonight it finally gave the world its first look at the production model, then handed six customers the keys.

Tesla is a game-changing company. Its product is a game-changing car — one that Consumer Reports said was the best car they’ve ever tested. The new Model X is a major addition to the line-up and a hotly awaited SUV version of the company’s eco-friendly vehicles. It’s beautiful. It has self-opening doors! Gull-wing doors! It’s gorgeous. Sexy, even. Exciting. And painstakingly designed.

And Musk starts with safety. Minutes and minutes of safety. Maybe 10 minutes of crashes, crumple zones, collision-detection systems, risk of death, and chances of serious injury.

Tesla's new Model X has a 'bioweapon defense mode' button

The button should come in handy "if there’s ever an apocalyptic scenario of some kind," he said. All you apparently have to do is push the button and the Model X's air filter — which is about 10 times larger than a normal car's air filter — should be able to keep you safe. The company claims it's 300 times better at filtering bacteria, 500 times better at filtering allergens, 700 times better at filtering smog, and 800 times better at filtering viruses.

The X is, in a word, stunning. Its most amazing features are its mind-bending acceleration, gorgeous design, and amazing rear passenger doors. Tesla calls them “falcon” doors, because they lift like the wings of a bird. And because it sounds cool.

Another clever trick is the “monopost” design of the second-row seats, which is fancy way of saying that each seat (two if you get the six-passenger model, three if you get the seven), sits on its own chrome-plated post. That makes each seat almost infinitely adjustable fore and aft and provides ample room for everyone’s feet. The designers drew inspiration from high-end office chairs and admit they were, like the doors, a bitch to engineer.

Along with the doors and the seats, Musk is especially proud of the “panoramic” windshield, which extends back over the front seat seats to provide an exceptional view. Tesla claims it is the largest windshield ever installed in a production vehicle—yet, oddly, no one had actually measured the damn thing and so couldn’t say exactly how big it is.

The remainder of the interior is Tesla typical: the seats look nearly concept-spec, mounted on thin, shiny posts that open up additional storage space around the floor of the vehicle. (The third row folds down, but the second row does not.) The dash will be immediately familiar to anyone who's seen a Model S, with a full LCD instrument cluster and 17-inch display in the center stack. The user interface, for better and worse, is identical to the S, apart from pictograms of the car that have been updated for the X.

As with recent builds of the Model S, the X features Autopilot — Tesla's semi-autonomous driving system — and the company says that both vehicles will stay in lockstep as Autopilot becomes more advanced and new software builds roll out. At launch, the Model X will only be available with a 90kWh battery — the largest that Tesla currently offers — but Musk says that a smaller capacity option will be available in the future at a lower price.

Speaking of stuff, the X is cavernous. No one could tell us the internal volume—you’d think someone at Tesla would have had that figure—but one engineer said you could carry a sheet of plywood. Another said the X would easily swallow a surfboard. And yet another said you could carry a load of two-by-fours. Suffice it to say, this thing will swallow as much cargo as any normal person would carry. Tesla offers an accessory hitch that holds four bikes or six pairs of skis, and can be attached to the back of the car in just a few seconds.

Should you somehow manage to run out of room, the Model X has Class 3 towing capacity, which in lay terms means it’ll haul 5,000 pounds.

image source: verge

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