2016 Tesla Model X: Performance Tested
by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on June 20, 2016
We took our 2016 Tesla Model X out to see how it would perform on our test track. Take the jump to see how fast Ludicrous Mode really is.
Vehicle: 2016 Tesla Model X Signature P90D
Driver: Jonathan Elfalan
Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Direct-drive
Engine Type: Electric motor
Battery Capacity: 90-kWh
Brake Type (front): One-piece ventilated discs with four-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): One-piece ventilated discs with four-piston fixed calipers
Suspension Type (front): Double wishbone with coil springs
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multi-link with coil springs
Tire Size (front): 265/35ZR22 102W
Tire Size (rear): 285/35ZR22 106W
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: Scorpion Zero
Tire Type: Asymmetrical summer
0-30 (sec): 1.5 (w/TC on 2.3)
0-45 (sec): 2.3 (w/TC on 3.6)
0-60 (sec): 3.5 (w/TC on 4.9)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.3 (w/TC on 4.6)
0-75 (sec): 5.0 (w/TC on 6.7)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 11.8 @ 113.6 (w/TC on 13.1 @ 108.6)
30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 111
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.87 (0.85 w/ESC on)
Acceleration: Though not ludicrously quick, the key-up run in the regular "Sport" mode is still plenty quick and actually prolongs the feeling of acceleration compared to Ludicrous mode, which delivers quick stomach twisting thrust for a second or two (up to about 35 mph), before it begins to drop off significantly. In fact, a macro look at the data shows that the Model X catches up to itself in terms of longitudinal acceleration at approximately 60 mph.
If you've ever experienced the Six Flags Superman ride, which uses electromagnetics for the powerful propulsion, then you'll have an idea of what the model X is like in Ludicrous mode. It's nearly the same sensation, except you have to steer.
The Model X leaves the line in any mode without any mechanical drama. No wheelspin (even with "slip start mode" engaged), no fancy launch control or slipping of clutches or drivetrain shock. It. Just. Goes. And contrary to what some people think of electric cars, the Model X is not completely silent. There are whirring sounds from the electric motors, and of course the road noise generated from the tires. Accelerator response is instant and provides all the thrust you'd ever need. Yes, really.
Braking: Under hard panic braking, the pedal feels heavy but not stiff. I say this because it eventually goes through its entire stroke which is longer, like a traditional SUV. The Model X tracks dead straight with no steering corrections, it exhibits very mild nose dive, significantly less dive than many SUVs and has an almost imperceptible amount of noise from the ABS system. It's a very calm and stable experience from within the cabin. Heavy regenerative braking occurs when you lift off the accelerator pedal (in normal settings), which means the brake pedal actually feels pretty natural and easy to modulate when you use it for stopping, instead of transitioning through the weird regen-to-mechanical braking phases. Braking distances are consistent, solid and stack up well in the class, especially considering how heavy the model X is. No odor was detected after all runs were performed.
Skidpad: There isn't much feedback but the steering feels precise and you get a pretty good sense of when the tires have lost grip because you can hear them scrubbing (because electric car). Max torque output is limited when the wheels are turned, much like how the standard ICE systems operate. ESC cannot be defeated, but remains fairly transparent and unobtrusive around the skid pad. In transient handling, the X feels planted with the CG equivalent of a sport sedan, albeit a heavy sport sedan. Only in the "very high" and "high" suspension settings does the car roll more like an SUV, but these suspension modes are limited to 25 and 35 mph respectively, so once you're up to speed the standard height is dialed in. In "very low" mode, the suspension loses some of its compliance and will even skip over bumps and rough patches, but there is a noticeable gain in handling prowess as shown in our skid pad numbers.
The AWD system behaves pretty nicely as well, the front tires don't scrub or stutter under power, and the Xs stiff chassis doesn't shake or oscillate if it hits bumps mid corner. It's a solid vehicle. There are 3 steering assist modes as well; Comfort, Normal, Sport, which provide mild but progressively heavier steering effort. This doesn't provide the driver much benefit and would likely be overlooked by most. - Jonathan Elfalan
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 3,927 miles