Beat supercars with the whole family in the car.
With the Model S Plaid, Tesla has once again proved electric vehicles can obliterate gas-powered ones in a race. The Plaid recently crushed the Porsche Taycan Turbo S in a drag race, and a modified version lapped Laguna Seca faster than a 911 GT2 RS. Such bewildering performance in a four-door sedan is already an astonishing sight, so having that much power in an SUV will be beyond outrageous.
The 2021 Tesla Model X Plaid will take the same tri-motor setup used in the Model S Plaid, and stick it into an SUV. When it arrives on the market next year, the Model X Plaid should outpace any performance SUV in a straight line, and possibly take down some supercars in the process.
Tesla did not reinvent the wheel with the Model X's 2021 facelift; we'll get to Tesla's wheel reinventing when we talk about the interior. Compared to the Model X that debuted in 2015, the Plaid only receives subtle changes. The front bumper design is updated to create a lower drag coefficient and the taillights look more modern.
New 20-inch Cyberstream and 22-inch Turbine wheels are wrapped in a new performance tire, improving handling and lowering the rolling resistance, according to Tesla. As before, the Model X only comes in white as a no-cost option, with black, grey, and blue available for $1,500 or red for $2,500. The Model X lineup retains its egg-like shape with iconic Falcon Wing rear doors.
After more than five years in production, Tesla has finally given the Model X a major interior upgrade beyond a software update. The physical changes include a new 17-inch landscape layout touchscreen, a redesigned center console, and a second screen in the rear seat with wireless controller connectivity to play video games. Of course, the most significant change is the yoke, which replaces the traditional steering wheel, turn signal and shifter stalks. This is an extremely controversial change, as Tesla will not offer a normal wheel as an option.
The new center console is a more universally-loved change, as it now features wireless charging for multiple devices, and USB-C ports. A standard 22-speaker, 960-watt audio system with noise cancellation technology ensure peaces and quiet, especially without the hum of an internal combustion engine.
With three electric motors sending power to all four wheels, the Model X Plaid delivers performance figures that are insane for an SUV, or any vehicle for that matter. Its 1,020-horsepower peak helps the vehicle hit 60 mph in an estimated 2.5 seconds, though that number is calculated with the rollout subtracted. In any case, we doubt any SUV currently on sale will keep up with the Model X at the drag strip. Tesla says the Plaid variant should complete a quarter-mile in just 9.9 seconds, which is quicker than a Porsche 918 Spyder.
All this performance doesn't take away from the Model X's everyday drivability. Tesla says the Plaid will go up to 340 miles on a charge, or about 330 miles on the larger wheels. Using a Tesla Supercharger, the car can recover 175 miles in just 15 minutes.
You'd expect a sub-10-second dragster to be impractical, but the Model X Plaid sacrificing nothing compared to the standard Model X, aside from having a lower range. The Falcon Wing doors open to reveal seating for up to seven adults, with six-seat and five-seat layouts also available. With those seats folded, Tesla says the Model X accommodates up to 91 cubic feet of storage space. A standard trailer hitch lets owners carry additional stuff, like a bike rack, or tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Pricing for the Model X Plaid starts at $119,990, making it around $10,000 less expensive than its sedan counterpart. But since Tesla changes its pricing on a nearly weekly basis, we expect the Model X could receive a price increase before it reaches customers. Buyers will have to spend extra to get more than five seats, a paint color besides white, an interior color besides black, upgraded wheels, or Tesla's Full Self Driving capability that still does not fully exist as of this writing. With every box ticked, the Plaid gets up to $146,490.
Overall, the Model X Plaid is on a different level. Even high-power SUVs like the Dodge Durango Hellcat and Lamborghini Urus won't be able to keep up. Tesla's website says deliveries begin in March-April (we assume 2022), at which point it should be crowned the world's quickest SUV on the street, on the drag strip and maybe even a road course like the Nurburgring.